Creating a Smart infrastructure in Peterborough

A modern city relies on good infrastructure to keep it moving, and I don't just mean roads, buildings and utilities like gas and electricity, writes Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.

Saturday, 6th October 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 7:49 pm
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough James Palmer, left, and Peterborough City Council Leader Coun John Holdich, right, with Guilhem Poussot (Vodaphone), Andy Starnes (City Fibre) and Rob Hanalin (City Fibre) at the Gigabit City launch at Peterborough Town Hall.

The rollout of Gigafast Broadband across Peterborough by CityFibre is now continuing at pace and is set to unlock huge economic growth in our city over the next 15 years.

Already over 140 kilometres of fibre optic cables have been installed and some of you reading will have already seen this happening on your own street.

Once complete, Vodafone is set to bring Gigafast Broadband (1000mbps) to most city residents by early 2019, making Peterborough the third Smart Gigabit city in the UK.

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This really is set to revolutionise your homes and our city. It will set us up for the new smart appliance revolution. It will end family disputes over broadband, as everyone will be able to use their devices at once. And for small businesses and residents who run their own businesses from homes, it will put you one step ahead of the competition.

It is this final point about business and home working that I want to talk about a little further. According to figures from the industry body Fibre to the Home Council, providing full fibre to just half of all premises could result in a 1.1% rise in annual GDP.

Here in Peterborough we are already punching above our weight when it comes to business and start-ups, helped in part by our excellent transport links.

These figures, when applied to Peterborough, show city-wide full fibre roll-out could unlock huge economic growth exceeding £700 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) over the next 15 years. Now that really is smart infrastructure!

Staying on the subject of development, the Centre for Cities annual report came out last week, which this time focused on a city’s impact nationally and on its surrounding areas.

Here in Peterborough we have a lot to talk about on this subject.

Our city’s transport links make us ideally positioned for businesses, set to improve further with planned dual carriageway A47 from Peterborough to Great Yarmouth.

This in turn helps us to keep keep unemployment low, not just for city residents, but also for those travelling into our city to work from other areas.

Tourism to our city is increasing and we’ve got more and more events and visitor-worthy attractions pulling in visitors from miles around, like Perkins Great Eastern Run, Tim Peake spacecraft at our Cathedral and our annual Peterborough Beer Festival.

Plus, the Peterborough University is on its way, which will make a real difference to those living both in the city and the surrounding area, giving greater opportunity for further education.

Our secondary school admissions deadline is fast approaching (31 Oct), and we are calling for parents and guardians will need to submit applications as soon as possible.

If your child was born between 1 September 2007 and 31 August 2008, they are due to transfer to Year 7 at secondary school in September 2019.

To submit your application, head online to to read our parents guide and to access our Parent Portal System to make your application now.

Finally, there’s several great events to take advantage of happening in the city.

First up is Black History Month and on Saturday from 11am there’s a celebration event with lots of activities and things to do in the Cathedral Square.

We’ve also got our annual Perkins Great Eastern Run taking place next Sunday. If you’re quick (just a little running joke), there’s still time to sign up now online at

And on October 27 we celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights, on Cathedral Square, with colourful dance performances, music, traditional food and shopping to enjoy.