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Faster broadband could boost Colchester town centre
The provision of quicker broadband in Colchester could help businesses in the area grow, local traders have argued.
Plans to introduce super-fast broadband in Colchester town centre through council investment and a cash injection from a private company could offer a boost to local businesses and improve the council's CCTV network.
The local executive has revealed that Cheshire-based ITS Technologies is willing to help expand the internet infrastructure over a 5.5 km area, as well as offering Wi-Fi hotspots across the town centre aimed at people with smartphones and laptops who wish to access broadband services.
ITS Technologies will be paid to upgrade and maintain the council's CCTV system and help install the new broadband system, which could conceivably be extended to hospitals and business parks in the region in a bid to encourage employment and investment opportunities, according to the Daily Gazette.
The company will be willing to invest around £250,000 as long as it can also make use the network, with the council cabinet set to convene later in the week to discuss which operator will install the network.
Sam Tolmie, who runs Xtreme Gaming in the High Street with his brother Arthur, explained that broadband running through fibre optic wires would be more reliable than the service at present, which relies on copper wiring, and as such offer a boost to his business.
"Anything that improves the speed of broadband and the reliability of the service can only be good for everyone," he added.
Wendy Siddons, who owns Compuccino internet cafe, added that while the current infrastructure tended to be sufficient for the relatively small number of people in the town "anything that makes it faster would be welcome".
Last year BT announced that 163,000 homes and businesses in Essex would be able to access next-generation broadband in the future as part of the company's £2.5 billion expansion programme.
Speaking at the time, Dave Hughes, BT's East of England regional director, said this latest investment would "propel internet users at home and at work into the 21st century".