The latest Your Voice feature, giving LBV members a platform for their views on the current business landscape in Leicester.
James Cushing is CityFibre’s City Manager for Leicester, leading the company’s deployment of future proof gigabit fibre networks to drive the economy and growth of Leicester.
How would you describe what your business does?
CityFibre is a national telecommunications infrastructure company and service provider. We are investing more than £80 million in the city, building a future-proof, full fibre broadband network throughout Leicester. This network will bring unrivalled reliability and speeds for broadband services, and increase competition and choice in the city.
What are the biggest opportunities for your business?
Demand for better broadband has never been greater. Our full fibre network will serve nearly every business and home in Leicester, bringing gigabit connectivity (1,000 megabits per second) and driving innovation, access to new markets and service accessibility. We are working with an ever-increasing number of internet services providers, driving competition and a choice of services to meet all needs. The rollout of full fibre is a national priority and needed to drive UK productivity. Leicester will be one of the first to benefit from our investment, making it one of the best-connected cities in the UK.
What are the biggest challenges for your business?
Installing a city wide, full fibre network has many challenges. We work closely with local authorities to secure the necessary permits and to minimise disruption. We are utilising hybrid build approaches, which means using as much existing infrastructure as possible. However, we do appreciate that our works can cause disruption to neighbourhoods.
We will always seek to provide safe and timely access to any properties that we may temporarily obstruct (please just ask the teams on site and they will be happy to help). Likewise, accessing rented premises and private roads by securing the necessary wayleaves can be challenging, and this can mean that we are unable to build to some areas.
What would you identify as the key strengths of Leicester?
Leicester is a diverse and ambitious city. There is huge demand for new services and technology, and the communities in which we have been working have been very supportive. The research and technology base in the area is world leading and the opportunities for further economic growth and regeneration are significant.
What are the top three ways in which Leicester can develop to support the business community?
1. Continued liaison between public, academic and private institutions to match opportunity and need
2. Invest in enabling technologies and infrastructure that will allow business to innovate and grow and access future services
3. Targeted support to enable local SMEs to start and flourish, driving local growth
Why is LBV important to you and your business?
CityFibre is bringing its full fibre network to nearly every premises in Leicester so raising awareness of the project and the benefits of full fibre broadband is key to us. LBV, as a key voice of business in the city, is really important to us in getting our messages out and also enabling us to access key events and stakeholders to promote our work and the benefits of fibre. Fibre is a critical infrastructure for business growth and LBV are a key local player in making sure that Leicester is open for business and can realise emerging opportunities.