In the world of digital infrastructure it’s clear that we’re moving into a new environment, after a period where the Superfast agenda resulted in nearly all the public funding going to one big player. Now, driven perhaps by frustration in rural areas and by investment opportunities in cities, we are seeing the accelerated development of alternative networks and services and new players entering the market. New solutions are emerging at scales ranging from community ‘crowd-funded’ projects, private commercial operators in villages and towns and public companies developing ‘Gigabit Cities’.
In the public policy arena, there is growing awareness that “Superfast is not enough” and probably not the ‘end-game’. The government’s Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy looks towards the development of “Ultrafast services” and proposes new financing mechanisms such as the UK Infrastructure Guarantee Scheme to support investment in new networks. The recently announced Ofcom review of Digital Communications, the first formal review for 10 years, and the increasingly strident calls for BT Group to be broken up from key industry players such as Sky, Vodafone (both INCA members) and TalkTalk point to concerns that the existing industry structures may not be ‘fit for purpose’ in the long run.
Cities across the UK are actively seeking their own solutions as they fear being ‘left behind’ in comparison with nearby competing economies, where, for example businesses in Stockholm can buy symmetric gigabit connections for €25 per month. The SuperConnected Cities programme, has become more interesting – with the use of vouchers for group schemes in business parks for example – and businesses are more aware of the financial and operational benefits of better digital connectivity. As business becomes increasingly digital, as more public services are delivered online and as we all seem to depend more on our connected technology, the infrastructure becomes even more critical to our economic success and social wellbeing in both urban and rural areas.
The Transform Digital: Bristol conference is organised and hosted by INCA and will be held in @Bristol, Anchor Road, Bristol BS1 5DB. The conference and associated events on 19 and 20 May 2015 offer fantastic opportunities to explore the changes that are happening right now and to get insights and answers:
- What’s the difference between superfast and ultrafast and what does it mean?
- What sort of digital infrastructure do we really need and are we building it fast enough in our urban and rural areas?
- What should the new Government do to help the market invest in the digital infrastructure of the future?
- What regulatory actions and regimes are needed to ensure that the UK has infrastructure that is ‘fit for purpose’?
Chris Townsend, Head of BDUK heads the speaker list alongside leaders from industry, the public sector, and community broadband schemes.
Delegates will discuss:
- The Rise of the Gigabit Cities – Urban projects led by companies like CityFibre, Hyperoptic, ITS and UK Broadband. How the new infrastructure fits into the Smart City agenda, economic development and the need to create jobs in the CDIT sectors
- Superfast and Beyond – Rural schemes like B4RN and Cotswolds Broadband alongside private sector players like BT, Gigaclear and wireless/satellite providers delivering services in the hardest to reach areas. We have invited BDUK to participate and help shape this part of the agenda
- Digital Business – Innovation and the impact of high speed, low cost, symmetric networks on the development of businesses in the digital and creative sectors and SMEs more widely. Connecting business parks and enterprise zones. Expansion of the Super-connected cities voucher scheme
- Driving Demand and exploiting the wider benefits of new digital infrastructure for service providers and the consumers and businesses they serve
- Investing in Digital Infrastructure – models that are succeeding at getting new investment in both urban and rural areas – Virgin Media’s investment is encouraging other investors in digital infrastructure.
- The New Minister’s In-Box – the big issues for Government over the next 5 years.
Register promptly to get the Early Bird discount (prices increase by £50 per person from April 18). INCA members benefit from a 25% discount on both early bird and standard rates (members will be provided with a unique discount code). A small number of free places are available for delegates from unfunded community broadband projects. Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free place for your organisation.
In the talk organised by Accessible Bristol Chaals McCathie Nevile will talk about schema.org and accessibility. Details are yet to be confirmed, but if you’re interested in semantic markup, improved search engine visibility and making it easier for people to find useful accessibility information on the web, don’t miss this talk.
Sign up on Meetup.com
Free Event: Open data, FIWARE and funding with FINODEX, Weds 22 April, 09:45 to 13:30, Engine Shed, Bristol
Finodex (Future INternet Open Data EXpansion) is a EU funded programme which selects, funds and provides support to projects from SMEs & Web Entrepreneurs building upon the FIWARE technology and reusing Open Data. They will be launching their second funding round on 8th of April and will be in Bristol to go through the latest call and demonstrate how you and your business can benefit from the programme. Finodex will select and support up to 100 SMEs and web entrepreneurs with a total grant of 4,640,000 EUROS. The overall financial contribution for each selected project will be between 10,000 and 170,000 EUROS.
Reserve your place at this event on Eventbrite to hear how your latest product or service could attract this substantial support package. If you have any queries about the event contact the organisers directly
Fire Tech Camp – has teamed up with Bristol 2015 Ltd to offer a series of new environmentally focused camps for kids in the local area during Easter half-term. 50% of the places available on the new four-day camp are fully funded by Bristol 2015 Ltd providing 12 local kids with a complimentary place.
The Greentech Camp runs from 7 -10 April 2015 at Bristol Grammar School. Taught by an army of experienced coders, programmers and university students, the course ensures that young people not only learn new tech skills but gain experience in a fun, exciting environment.
The camp costs £350 per student and participants can sign up for either Video Game Design, Python Programming or Physical Computing with Arduino. Advanced booking is required. The 12 scholarship places funded by Bristol 2015 are available via contacting email@example.com direct for further details or complete an application on the website www.firetechcamp.com/scholarships.
Do you have a business in the film & creative content space? Are you looking for investment to scale your business?
Creative England and the UK Business Angels Association have teamed up to provide an ongoing programme of support and advice for film and creative content enterprises – promoting growth through investment readiness workshops, mentoring and showcasing your business to investors.
This programme is for entrepreneurs that are currently running successful film businesses or have a significant track record in related TV, digital, games or content creation activity with a view to diversification into film.
Successful applicants will benefit from the free ongoing programme of business support and advice including a series of workshops, investor showcasing, one-to-one business mentoring and access to toolkits to help take your business forward. This includes:
- An initial Investment Readiness Workshop
- Access to Angel Investment guidance materials
- Interactive mentoring to help grow your business
- A showcase event to present your business to investors
To find out more contact;
- +44 207 492 0491
The UK Open Government Network is a group of organisations and individuals committed to making government work better for people through increased transparency, participation and accountability.
In partnership with Development Initiatives, they are hosting this workshop to discuss transparency, accountability and ideas for open government reforms in Bristol, the south west and throughout the UK.
BS2 8PE Bristol
Tuesday, 3 March 2015 from 14:00 to 17:00 (GMT)
Its free to attend and you can sign up at Eventbrite.
If you run a creative digital SME in the South West you could be eligible to receive vouchers of a value between £1,000 – £5,000 to help with the cost of securing expert third party services which could include help with business planning, recruitment consultancy, brand and marketing expertise, or specialist technical support to help launch a new digital product.
The programme is being operated by Creative England. In order to apply businesses must be able to provide a total equalling 30% of the requested amount in match funding. Applications for the Voucher Scheme close on Feb 27th 2015, or when the fund is exhausted. For more information and details of how to apply visit www.creativeengland.co.uk/business/innovation-programme. Companies can also apply directly here.
The Government is rolling out a £11bn plan to install smart energy meters in every home. Department of Energy & Climate Change published a leaflet explaining how data from these smart meters is expected to transform the market for energy services. The leaflet is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/397291/2903086_DECC_cad_leaflet.pdf .
High Tech Bristol and Bath works with high tech companies in the Bristol and Bath region promoting, enhancing and developing technology. A major part of their activity will be running Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that bring together companies, universities, research institutions, public sector, and not-for-profit organisations.
The current, and proposed, list of Special Interest Groups includes;
- Embedded Software
- High Performance Computing
- Health Technologies
- Smart Cities
- Future Skills
- Intelligent media
To find out more visit the HBB website.