Colchester has announced its intention to further its economic growth plans through improving connectivity to become one of the best-connected places in the Eastern region. The town, which is Britain’s oldest recorded town, is set to become a magnet for creative, digital, technology and IT businesses. The area aims to improve infrastructure, secure added value employment and build on the borough’s Economic Development Strategy increasing its attraction for businesses and residents alike.

Colchester's Digital Strategy

Colchester Digital Strategy comprises of group funded, economically viable, projects some of which are already in place. The town introduced Ultrafast Broadband in the town centre in 2017. Colchester is now part of a unique handful of places around the country offering world-class symmetrical connectivity of up to one gigabit (1,000Mbps) via fibre, compared with the better-known “superfast” broadband of 20-30Mbps delivered over old-fashioned copper cables.

Colchester borough aims to extend the reach of Ultrafast Broadband right across the Borough to secure direct fibre connections. The town is taking an ‘infrastructure first’ approach to developing employment land by installing Gigabit connectivity ahead of development. Changes to Colchester’s planning guidelines were made in 2016 and aim to encourage fibre to the premises on all new projects making it an essential utility.

Whilst welcoming and encouraging all businesses to locate in Colchester, the Digital Strategy is targeting tech companies for inward investment in the area. The town aims to secure direct fibre connections in all major business parks in order to optimise their investment potential.

Colchester will also be promoted as one of the first testbeds for 5G connectivity in the UK and will facilitate deeper cooperation between the leading 5G research facilities and mobile operators.

The increased connectivity is not intended to only benefit businesses. Colchester will deliver secure innovative fibre services for rural customers and businesses, ensuring they are as well served as the urban areas.

Colchester Town

What Colchester can offer as a business base

The next decade will see a dramatic increase in demand for ultra-fast connectivity driven by ‘Smart Cities’ initiatives. Colchester aims to introduce and maintain ‘Smart City’ innovations through the introduction of 5G mobile technology, ultra-high-definition video streaming services and the Internet of Things (IoT) controlled by mobile devices. Currently, Colchester town centre has faster connectivity than 99% of the UK and 89% of the EU making it a key node in the Eastern ‘tech diamond’.

Colchester borough’s £3 billion investment-driven transformation will bring new housing, offer enriched leisure options to residents and visitors as well as new opportunities for businesses and better skilled higher paying jobs.

University of Essex

Colchester already has a rich pool of potential employees as well as a lot of new talent coming from further and high education institutes. The University of Essex is developing the Knowledge Gateway research and technology park at its Colchester Campus creating a location for knowledge based enterprises in science, technology and creative sectors. The university is also in the top 10 nationally for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), Innovate UK’s flagship programme to embed university expertise and resource into businesses.

If you want to find out more about Colchester’s digital ambitions, see here or download a copy of UK Tech News’s Colchester supplement here.

University of Essex

How INVEST Essex can aid with relocation

INVEST Essex can advise and assist companies interested in locating their businesses in Colchester, or other parts of Essex. Many businesses have taken advantage of the assistance offered by the Inward Investment team at INVEST Essex. INVEST Essex work with their partners to provide professional advice and services for businesses of all sizes and at all stages of their growth journey.

Contact one of the team here.