The venture is expected to boost business productivity and deliver millions in local economic benefits while providing a platform for a new generation of smart city applications.
Newcastle has already been crowned ‘Smart City of the Year 2020’ for its innovative approach in using technology to help transform services and improve the lives of residents. Aspire’s full fibre network will further advance the city’s digital transformation.
Aspire is one of the UK’s fastest-growing IT companies and were recently named Company of the Year at the North East Business Awards. The company have set ambitious plans for improving digital innovation across the North East. Supported by Virgin Media Business Wholesale, Aspire launched their own full fibre North East network in 2018 after a £2.5m investment in local infrastructure. Known as Ultrafast Dedicated Connectivity (UDC), they offer North East businesses internet connectivity of up to 100 gigabits per second, some of the fastest speeds and one of the most reliable services available in the UK.
As part of the full fibre rollout, Aspire will significantly grow their existing Ultrafast Dedicated Connectivity network. Detailed planning is already underway as the company prepares to expand and enhance their digital infrastructure to serve Newcastle’s demands both now and in the future.
The project will see vital public sector sites including hospitals, schools and government buildings benefiting from full fibre 100 gigabit connectivity. A move which will future proof services and enable them to adopt new technologies to improve how services are delivered for local residents.
Councillor Joyce McCarty, deputy leader of Newcastle City Council said: “Full fibre connectivity has never been more important as it is now. COVID-19 has shown how vital digital technology is to so many aspects of our lives. At Newcastle City Council, we are committed to maintaining economic competitiveness and achieving social inclusion for our businesses and residents, having widely available, high-speed, affordable and reliable gigabit connectivity is the enabler to helping us achieve this. Aspire have already made great progress towards improving digital innovation across our region. We are excited to be working with their talented team to realise our ambitions of putting digital at the heart of our city.”
The full fibre initiative is supported by the government’s Local Full Fibre Network programme. Aspire have been awarded a 20-year contract to install the network by 2022 and provide ongoing support. Newcastle City Council will benefit from access to Aspire’s in-house 24/7/365 IT support and service desk to ensure maximum productivity.
Chris Fraser, managing director at Aspire commented: “We are living and working in unparalleled times and that requires a focus on innovative outcomes. Spending cuts and the on-going pressures of COVID-19 make it an incredibly challenging time for all. Yet, there is still a huge opportunity for public services and local businesses to take a step forward in their communication and cloud capabilities to support their people and their customers.
“At Aspire, our mission is to deliver technology like no other. We are dedicated to putting technology to work to help customers innovate, become more efficient and grow quicker. From enabling smart technology and giving people reliable services to work from home with ease to facilitating innovation as a result of the Internet of Things, 3D Printing and artificial intelligence – Ultrafast Dedicated Connectivity is the enabler to digital transformation. We are delighted to be partnering with Newcastle City Council up to 2040 to deliver a state-of-the-art network which will drive better outcomes for local communities and businesses.”
Aspire have recently announced plans to move to new headquarters at the Pipewell Quay development, located on the site of the former Baja Beach Club on Gateshead Quays. The move will enable them to increase their 160-strong workforce in the process.
Mike Hallam, executive director of Virgin Media Business Wholesale, said: “Our partnership with Aspire will deliver Newcastle’s full fibre network and provide lightning-fast, reliable and future-proofed connectivity to essential public services across the city. Our next-generation broadband goes hand-in-hand with Newcastle City Council and Aspire’s commitment to provide a first-class digital experience for both residents and businesses – together we’re delivering the technology to support the city now and for whatever comes next in the future.”