Boost for Bath’s economy as pioneering gigafast broadband scheme goes live

February 4, 2014

Bath city centre is to get the South West’s fastest broadband with the launch of GigaBath – a scheme pioneered by the city’s internet telephony, broadband and web hosting firm Gradwell Communications.

In a move that could lead to new jobs and give a much-needed boost to the economy, Gradwell has teamed up with London fibre infrastructure provider CityFibre to bring gigafast fibre connections to a large part of the city’s core area.

Cities with superfast broadband can increase their GDP by 2% and create thousands of jobs, according to CityFibre, the largest provider of broadband to the UK’s second tier cities.

Gradwell will lease the fibre network infrastructure from CityFibre. The scheme will be demand-led – once enough customers have signed up, access to the superfast service will be switched on.

The first phase is already live, powering the The Guild tech hub in The Guildhall. The remaining will go live network within 90 days of the first 50 customers signing up.

GigaBath will cover an area taking in James Street West, Charles Street, Chapel Row, Queen Square, Gay Street, Barton Street, George Street, Broad Street and Westgate Street.

Further spurs will then cover Walcot St, the Tramshed and Beehive Yard; Great Pulteney Street; and The Circus and Brock St. Customer demand will then determine the next areas to be connected.

Gradwell founder and managing director Peter Gradwell said: “For years Bath city centre has been held back by old, slow copper broadband connections.

“None of the big providers has any plans to bring Bath up to speed so we have got together with CityFibre to develop a plan to launch GigaBath, a programme that will enable local businesses to play a full part in the digital economy and enjoy the benefits of gigafast business broadband. 

“It will make a remarkable difference to local businesses, enabling them to grow, increase productivity and make the most of business tools such as video conferencing, cloud computing and of course it will make Bath an even more attractive place to work and do business.”

CityFibre director of business development Rob Hamlin added: “Britain lags behind Europe in terms of providing businesses and homes with the benefits of fibre broadband. Our vision is to bring gigabit speeds to regional cities and by working with partners capable of delivering ultra-high speed internet services such as Gradwell Communications, we are providing cities like Bath with a digital head start over other cities, enabling them to compete on a level playing field both in Europe and the rest of the world.

“Our gigabit cities vision is coming to life bringing businesses of all sizes the advantages of fast affordable fibre.”

Businesses in the first areas will be invited to the official launch and demonstration at The Guild on February 10.

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