The ambition to create 60,000 new jobs in Northamptonshire by 2026 hangs in the balance because of poor broadband connectivity, business leaders heard this week.
A company bidding for the Government funding to improve the digital options for the region, including Northamptonshire, met with business leaders in Northampton to discuss the importance of connectivity to the region.
Hosted by CityFibre, an infrastructure provider, at Franklin's Gardens, business leaders said the future prosperity of the county depended on full-fibre broadband services.
Speaking of the opportunity at the event, former MP and director at local enterprise partnership SEMLEP, Brian Binley said: “If we don’t have this infrastructure then we are running a real risk of not providing the 60,000 jobs.
“We need to make sure that the people at LGSS are listening to our plea. We need to think of connectivity as a utility, it is essential for the future growth of jobs. Bandwidth and speed are no longer a luxury; it is a necessity for those who want to run a business.”
His views were echoed by representatives from a number of businesses in Northampton.
David Moss, head of IT at Churches Shoes, said: “We’ve got the cream of the moto sport industry based in Northampton, top high-end manufacture, it should be a given that we should have the infrastructure that matches it.
"How can we have these leading manufacturers based in Northampton with poor connectivity? It quite often will drive these small businesses to grow organically.”
Also speaking at the event, leader of Northampton Borough Council, Jonathan Nunn, said: “The prosperity of the town relies on ensuring that businesses can get the facilities they need so we can retain and attract highly-skilled jobs. The ball is in our court.”
CityFibre is bidding for the contract that will cover Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.