23 January 2017
Theresa May is set to launch her industrial strategy during her first visit as PM to the North West later today and I couldn’t be happier that she’s chosen our region to lay out those plans. Why? Because Manchester and the North West are fast becoming the UK’s hub of technology and innovation.
Whilst I’ve been on a mission for many years to ensure that Manchester is Britain’s answer to Silicon Valley, visits like this are sure to add firepower to the cause.
May is predicted to announce commitments to technical education – something that UKFast is taking into our own hands – and to balance economic growth around the UK with the split of Northern Powerhouse funding.
I am also hoping to see further commitment to our technical infrastructure in the UK following November’s Autumn Statement where the government pledged up to £1bn in digital infrastructure investment, with a call to private companies to match that figure with investment in their own projects. The commitment from the government is a step in the right direction, but we need to see heavier investment in digital across the UK. We’re taking it on ourselves to deliver the latest infrastructure for the tech community but there is only so much that businesses can do themselves. That being said, I am incredibly proud to have announced that we are to continue our long-term investment in making Manchester the UK’s number one tech city with a £2.3 million upgrade at our data centre complex.
The enhanced facilities will give the North West a level of data centre infrastructure never available before in the region with improvements including a security upgrade to our dedicated colocation space and the construction of a new high-security, high-density, high-resilience compound within our existing facility.
The new extra-secure facility is equivalent to IL4 security standard and designed in line with List-X standards, primarily to meet the heightened regulation needs of government, financial services, international telecoms and utilities clients.
It is undoubtedly a massive feather in the cap for Manchester. Before this, businesses had to collocate their hardware in London if they wanted this level of infrastructure. Right now, I believe that UKFast is doing more to future-proof IT infrastructure in the North West than any other provider.
UKFast is about delivering a product of the highest standard at a price that’s affordable to the SME community. On our journey we’ve attracted incredibly large corporations and public sector bodies, so it makes sense to keep listening to what they need and keep developing our service.
Of course, we are continuing to extend our high-security, affordable offering to the British government. It makes sense that the government should be hosting its infrastructure in Britain with British companies.
What do you hope to see from May’s strategy today?