Providing a reliable and sustainable digital and utility infrastructure is essential to our economic potential, as well as being critical to the growth of sustainable communities.
Businesses have told us that a key barrier to growth is access to consistent, high speed, digital technology. Greater Lincolnshire has seen increased broadband coverage levels through various schemes such as:
- The successful OnLincolnshire project.
- The Lincolnshire Broadband Contract - which ensured over 170,000 premises were upgraded to a fibre-based Superfast broadband level. The number of premises involved in both phases equates to roughly 50% of the total premises count for the county. Current Superfast percentage of coverage sits at 94%.
Progress continues at pace and Lincolnshire County Council are now engaged in a third contract with a new supplier, Quickline Communications Ltd, who will provide 'Ultrafast' broadband (download speed in excess of 100Mb/s) to around 8,000 premises in the first stage of the contract, rising by between 2,000 - 4,000 in the second phase, which is due to complete by the end of 2022 to early 2023.
In addition, a number of rural communities across the county are at various stages of a community fibre partnership funded by BDUK's Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme, where all premises within the scheme will receive Fibre To The Premises (FTTP). BT/Openreach have also announced plans to upgrade around 150,000 premises to FTTP over the next 4 years.
We now have no less than 5 privately funded organisations working in the county to provide gigabit capable FTTP to over 200,000 of our urban/sub-urban premises, representing a massive leap forward in improving the digital infrastructure within Greater Lincolnshire
It is also of critical important to work with various energy industries to ensure investment is made for the necessary infrastructure to unlock development in the right places.
It is widely recognised that, in addition to employment, transport, and other economic factors, the cost of providing adequate utility services is a major cost consideration in planning employment and housing developments.
The geography of our LEP area, and the rural locations of some development sites, can mean that the current provision of roads, water, sewerage, energy services, and telecommunications may be insufficient to accommodate the level of growth required.
The provision of affordable and suitable employment and housing developments is dependent on the provision of sustainable infrastructure services including; roads, water, sewerage, energy services, and telecommunications. It is recognised that rural growth is being constrained by a lack of grid capacity with SMART grid technology offering solutions and opportunities across Greater Lincolnshire.
Availability of these services is critical to the growth of fully sustainable communities. Greater Lincolnshire is therefore committed to taking a stronger role in dialogue with utility providers to make a better case for investment, creating innovative approaches to accessing finance to unlock stalled developments, and ensuring a reliable utilities infrastructure to support growth.
We are currently focusing a high priority on water infrastructure, which represents a major opportunity in Greater Lincolnshire.
- 93% of premises can now access Superfast Broadband with an expectation that it will rise to 97% by the end of 2019
- The University of Lincoln is developing a SMART grid programme for Lincolnshire with the LEP, to include rural smart grids.
- The LEP has published a Utilities Study and draft Energy Strategy.