Enabling Perth and Kinross Council’s smart city ambitions - Neos Networks

Enabling Perth and Kinross Council’s smart city ambitions

Neos Networks is delivering high capacity, ultrafast broadband connectivity in Perth, Scotland, benefiting local government services, schools, businesses, leisure centres and museums.

Perth and Kinross Council has a confident vision for Perth’s future: to transform it into one of “Europe’s great small cities”. Its documented aspirations for smart growth state that gaining “an international reputation for enterprise, learning, culture and an exceptional quality of life” by 2035 is a priority.

Central to realising those smart city ambitions is overcoming hurdles such as digital connectivity. Perth and Kinross Council identified that the key to boosting smart services and economic activity in the area was to lay full fibre connections to its own buildings, as the foundation for the modern-day connectivity demands of community assets.

Funding of £1m was made available via the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) as part of the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund; and nearly £0.5m of UK Government funding for digital connectivity from the Tay Cities Deal was also allocated to support the project.

With proven success on local government projects of similar importance and scale (such as Aberdeenshire), the Council looked to Neos Networks, one of the UK’s leading connectivity providers, to help them on their smart city journey.

The challenge

Perth and Kinross Council awarded Neos Networks a major gigabit-capable connectivity project in November 2020, through the Government’s RM6095 Dynamic Purchasing System for gigabit capable connectivity – which aims to provide UK public sector bodies with network infrastructure services through an easy to procure process.

Spanning 19.5km, the new end-to-end full fibre network will cover 34 locations across the city, including educational institutions, council buildings, leisure centres, care homes and residential homes, as well as public buildings located near the new 3,000-homes Perth West housing development.

The network is also vital to facilitate next generation technologies such as 5G and Internet of Things (IoT), crucial to futureproofing businesses in the area.

The outcome

Neos Networks has delivered the new network by building on its established regional fibre network infrastructure. The fibre rollout includes 7.5km of Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) ducts as well as 2km of existing Perth & Kinross Council duct assets.

The economical use of existing and new fibre ducts has enabled Neos Networks and Perth and Kinross Council to reach more locations than would have been possible versus a traditional network build project. High speed, low latency connectivity to data centres is also helping enable cloud connectivity for businesses and Fibre-To-The-Home services for residents.

“The gigabit-capable connectivity provided by Neos Networks is a key part of future-proofing not only our city but also the wider Perth and Kinross rural area. Neos Networks’ technical expertise in enabling smarter cities, combined with its ability to undertake this project as economically as possible with minimal disruption, means that we’ll be getting great value for the DCMS and Tay Cities Deal investment, alongside our ongoing collaboration over the next 20 years.”
— David Littlejohn, Head of Planning and Development, Perth & Kinross Council

“Better broadband is at the heart of our mission to level up rural areas, so I’m delighted Perth and Kinross is starting to feel the benefits of our investment. This funding will bring faster, future-proofed internet speeds to schools, businesses, theatres and other public buildings.”

— Matt Warman, UK Digital Infrastructure Minister, DCMS

Now the network is fully installed and operational, the network will help serve Council buildings and the local community for the next 20 years, under IRU agreements between the Council and Neos Networks, futureproofing the region against the ever-growing demands of the digital economy.

Aside from the direct benefits of connectivity, the project is supporting the local economy through investment, government driven initiatives and schools training programmes to deliver connectivity to rural communities, helping bridge the social divide.