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Thu 14th September
Historic York is helping support UK as a global digital leader
YORK has huge potential to become a ‘Digital Super Town,’ according to a new report published today. The city has been identified as a digital hotspot thanks to a regional focus on developing science and tech skills and initiatives such as York Science Park, which is predicted to create 2,800 jobs.

Vodafone commissioned the ‘Digital Super Towns: Unlocking the UK’s Digital Potential’ study as part of a new campaign to promote regional development and support the UK as a global digital leader.

The report, which was written by former Bank of England economist Steve Hughes, focuses on towns and cities across England with populations of over 40,000. It looks at three factors that are critical to the UK’s future as a digital leader.

The first is digital infrastructure such as 4G coverage. The second is a digital economy, which includes businesses such as software companies. The third is digital skills, estimated using indicators like school performance data.

The study uses these three elements of digital potential to create a scorecard of the towns and cities best-placed to become tomorrow’s digital leaders.

Included in the scorecard are towns and cities ideally suited to become ‘Digital Super Towns.’ They are Altrincham, Tynemouth, York, Solihull and Bath.

To pave the way for Digital Super Towns, Vodafone is calling on local and national government to establish Digital Enterprise Zones in the towns and cities highlighted in the study.

These Digital Enterprise Zones are designated geographic areas created to help local companies and communities fulfill their digital potential.

Coun David Carr, leader of City of York Council, said: “As the first city in the country to benefit from city-wide gigabit broadband, our digital landscape is providing significant new opportunities and support for thousands of businesses based here and a better quality of life and value for our residents.

“A total of 15,500 homes are connected to our ultra fibre optic (UFO) network and we predict a further 50,000 of our 90,000 households will be the first in the country to benefit from gigabit broadband, making York one of the UK’s top digital infrastructure cities.

“It has been the council’s and our partners’ ambition to make York the first truly gigabit city. Our fibre network has benefited from several funding streams and private sector investment which has laid an infrastructure supporting bids to create a city-wide intelligent transport management system and that’s ready to support 5G – a key building block for the Government’s industrial strategy.

“Our connectivity is not only helping to create new jobs and attract investment, but it’s making York an enviable business destination. The gigabit network and widespread WiFi allows creative companies to communicate and exchange data with global clients at blistering speeds in an inspirational city.”

Nick Jeffery, chief executive officer of Vodafone UK, said: “The UK is already a leader in digital industries like the Internet of Things and virtual reality, and there is much more we can achieve if we make the most of our nation’s digital potential.

Minister for Digital Matt Hancock, said: “We are already seizing the opportunities of the growing tech industry, with our digital economy worth more than £118bn a year and employing more than 1.4m people.”

For the full story please see the Yorkshire Post website and the York Press website

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