Ahead of the Pack: Designing a Digital Future for Wolverhampton
From locks to bicycles, trains to jewellery1, Wolverhampton was built on iron and steel. It was a city whose success relied on the quality of the goods it produced, and the hard work and industry of the people who made them. Like many cities in the industrial heartland of the UK, Wolverhampton’s journey towards a digital future has been one of dramatic regeneration and seizing opportunities, building on its manufacturing roots whilst embracing the possibilities new technology has to offer. As of today, Wolverhampton is number one in Europe for creating manufacturing jobs, without even mentioning the fact that it’s one of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the UK, or even that it’s ranked 3rd best in the country for raising a family2.
Clearly then, Wolverhampton is already well on the way to achieving the kind of digital transformation that most cities are still only dreaming about. But what if we could do even better? What if the city could build smarter, more connected public services that better serve its citizens, or invest in a broadband network that would allow start-ups and small businesses to thrive? We’re already closer to a digital future for Wolverhampton than you might expect, having connected 3,900 premises throughout the city and invested £2.5 million in the city as a whole. At any one time we’re building to approximately 150k premises with around 400 crews.
We want to help Wolverhampton achieve their digital ambitions. With the council expected to spend around £55 million regenerating the city centre, investing in superfast public WiFi hotspots and 5G network capability will help create a smart, connected experience, accessible by everyone. By building smart technology into the regeneration project, it ensures that it’s not only the physical experience of the city centre that changes, but the experience of using technology day in, day out in this urban environment for shoppers, businesses and residents alike.
A successful digital transformation strategy encompasses the needs of everyone, from individuals and small businesses, right up to the public sector institutions that serve the city as a whole. Since 2012 we have been providing products and services through the West Midlands Public Services Network (WMPSN), enabling organisations such as health, fire, police and local government to work more flexibly and gain significant savings. We’re even helping get Shakespeare into schools by supporting the live broadcast of performances and lessons direct from the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, engaging a whole new generation and exposing them to the magic and creativity of the theatre. In 2018 alone, 11 schools and over 1000 children in Wolverhampton watched a Shakespeare play performed live at the RSC, right from their classrooms. In the right circumstances, digital technology provides the means by which lives can be improved immeasurably, whether that takes the form of better healthcare, more efficient policing, or an education that really inspires.
Wolverhampton is ready to build its digital future and with 3 local offices manned by over 20 dedicated staff, we’re quite literally on hand to help. Whether it’s assisting in the design of a smarter, more connected city centre, or delivering ultrafast business broadband to the advanced manufacturing companies building empires from the Black Country business park, Virgin Media Business has the technology, experience and the desire to make these digital dreams a reality. As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with a manufacturing industry that’s the envy of Europe, Wolverhampton has marked itself out as being well ahead of the pack, with digital ambitions to match.
1 A Brief History of Wolverhampton - http://www.localhistories.org/wolverhampton.html
2 Invest City ofWolverhampton, “City of Wolverhampton – in profile” investwolverhampton.com/invest/city-in-profile/index.html