HUNDREDS of council hubs, offices and libraries are set to be kitted out with superfast internet in the latest part of a £186 million boost to the city’s IT infrastructure.
The deal will see a 100km extension to the Capital’s brand new “fibre network”, which is ushering in internet speeds up to 100 times faster than currently available.
The reach and benefits of this network will have a hugely positive impact on EdinburghRICKY NICOL
The move comes as city leaders aim to shift many services online in an attempt to save £107m over the next five years.
The latest £5.6m deal, which is being delivered by CityFibre and telecommunications provider Commsworld as an extension to the city-wide fibre network brought in earlier this year, will replace ageing copper circuits and connect 294 council-run sites.
Due to be completed in a year, the project will see computer users in libraries and community centres able to enjoy instant internet connections and improved access to online databases.
A total of 137 primary and secondary schools will also benefit from increased bandwidth, allowing entire classes to take part in lessons using iPads and mobile apps.
Councillor Alasdair Rankin, the city’s finance and resources leader, said the contract would “transform” the way the council did business and give residents “greater flexibility” to carry out transactions digitally.
He said: “This will make us a more efficient and effective organisation across our wide range of council services.”
In May, the Evening News told how thousands of businesses across the Capital were set to be plugged into a new network over the summer as part of the first phase of a city-wide roll-out – boosting their internet connection and bringing hundreds of millions of pounds into the economy every year.
Developers insist the multi-million-pound scheme – which is spearheaded by global firm CGI and is the largest of its kind in the UK – will make Edinburgh one of the most digitally connected cities in the world.
And company bosses said all of Edinburgh’s 17,000 businesses stand to benefit as the network grows to areas such as the Gyle, which was not included in the first roll-out.
Ricky Nicol, chief executive of Commsworld, said there had been “huge demand” from local companies to get involved.
He said: “The reach and benefits of this network will have a hugely positive impact on Edinburgh as a whole but this would not be possible without CityFibre’s investment in the fibre infrastructure that will allow Edinburgh to become one of the best connected cities in the world.”
Greg Mesch, chief executive of CityFibre, said: “This is CityFibre’s largest contract to date and in such a prestigious city as Edinburgh, it is a landmark in our growth as a firm.
“In a matter of months, CityFibre’s partnership with Commsworld has begun a truly transformational infrastructure project in the city and as the world’s bandwidth consumption is set to triple in the next four years, Edinburgh is in an advantageous position to capitalise on the continued shift towards a digital economy.”