The rollout of LFFN (Local Full Fibre Network) programmes in the North West of England has helped to improve the internet connectivity enjoyed in Blackpool and the surrounding region. What impact has this project had in improving our quality of life and business prospects?
Helping the Tourism Industry
The tourism industry remains vital to the economy in Blackpool, with over 20,000 people working in tourism here, according to the latest numbers. The results of research carried out by Building Digital UK in 2021 suggest that hotel proprietors have benefited from increased efficiency in areas such as room booking thanks to a better internet connection. This has improved the customer experience, with guests now expecting a fast connection and smart technology during their stay.
Blackpool is famous for attractions such as casinos and visitors expect a good Wi-Fi connection here too, although they might not realise that good internet connectivity is also vital for running this sort of business. Popular games include roulette and blackjack, with players now able to look online to find out how to play the game. For example, you can find out that the aim of blackjack is to get as close to possible to 21 but that a hand goes bust when it exceeds 21. But many land-based casino games will be supported by internet connectivity, just as their online counterparts and respective guides are.
Economic Growth Potential
Improved connectivity has been linked to the diversification of the local economy, with ideas such as the Digital Nomad Hotel which relies upon having an excellent internet connection to allow freelancers to work there. The Digital Winter Conference Centre Gardens is another good example, as it was opened in 2022 with fully connected conference space over 12 venues that can hold up to 7,000 delegates at any given time.
It’s hoped that projects like these can help keep local talent living and working in the Blackpool area. By taking advantage of the latest full-fibre networks, local businesses and entrepreneurs can explore new areas of potential growth on an equal footing with others based in bigger cities such as London and Manchester, where locals have traditionally been tempted to move to find more opportunities.
Local community centres have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the LFFN programmes in the area, with close to 20 of them receiving free internet connectivity for a total of five years. Centres such as the Deeplish Community Centre are dedicated to the growth and, in some cases, the regeneration of their areas. Having a fast and reliable internet connection helps them with the projects and activities that form part of this vision.
The rollout has also created job opportunities, with over 30 apprentices hired in the North West region. This covers roles such as telesales, field technician and civil engineer, giving a variety of opportunities to many people with different backgrounds.
The LFFN programmes in and around Blackpool have been successful in a number of ways and their positive impact should continue to be felt in the areas that we’ve looked at here.