Stop the Sale of Liverpool's Digital Infrastructure!

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Please help us to stop Liverpool City Council from destroying our Digital jobs and wrecking our futures down the line, by selling the publicly owned 172km Fibre network that encircles Liverpool.

 Instead, we want to use this valuable asset to welcome many internet companies, creating an “open network” that will result in enhanced competition, lower prices, improved service and increased availability.

We feel that the fibre network should be owned and operated by a not-for-profit organisation; one that will create an open community of Internet providers, helping to solve Liverpool's poor Internet speeds and availability.

Please help us to:

  • Stop the sale of our digital infrastructure, and let the community manage it by rejecting the council’s short term decision to sell it to the highest bidder.
  • Make Broadband speeds in our region faster, more reliable, cheaper and more available.
  • Show the council that our public assets should be for for the benefit of the people, and not simply to benefit council coffers.

Background

In the 1990’s, Liverpool City Council (LCC) decided to replace a lot of underground infrastructure around the city to support the likes of CCTV cameras, traffic lights and other monitoring systems. It took the very wise decision to install ducting and fibre beneath many of the road networks around the city, paid for, of course, by us the taxpayer.

As time moved on and technology advanced, LCC ended up only using a small amount of the physical capacity that it had built back in the 90’s, and has since basically “sat” on this valuable asset; that is of course until now.

Back in 2016, we, a group of business people and technologists, became rather annoyed about the poor Broadband speeds around Liverpool, and we approached the council with an idea: let us use the underground fibre to connect businesses, community centres, schools and universities.

Together, and funded by our membership, we (IX Liverpool) could then create an Internet Exchange in the City (similar to that in London, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff), which would bring super high speed Internet to the region, using a wide range of national providers, and available at much lower costs than today.

Poor internet speeds and availability are caused by the lack of fibre infrastructure in the region, with most of the privately owned fibre being controlled in a monopoly like way by BT (or providers using BT’s lines) or Virgin; so we wanted to change the status quo.

However, great ideas have great consequences and once our bankrupt LCC realised that they were sitting on this underground goldmine, they started to have naughty thoughts and ideas - resulting in them putting the fibre assets out to the highest bidder, who would then have to pay LCC a large amount of cash with guaranteed returns over a period of time.

The consequence is that, instead of fixing our connectivity problem, LCC will end up only compounding it. By locking away the fibre for use by a single commercial provider, they will create a monopoly that will haunt us for years to come.

While other cities such as London, Manchester and Leeds “bask” in cheaper and more available broadband, we, the citizens and businesses of Liverpool, will have to contend with super-slow internet for a long time to come.

This fatal decision by LCC will cost us all dearly! We already have evidence showing that businesses are steering clear of the region because of its poor internet speeds, and we think the following scenario will happen:

Jobs will be lost to neighbouring, more savvy, cities (who did invest) as our region simply will not be able to compete with being so behind in the “digital jobs race”.
Our children will suffer, as many future jobs simply won’t be created in Liverpool, as we become a digital backwater - long after our city leaders have retired with generous pensions
Businesses will move their entire operations out of the city, taking many much needed jobs with them; not by choice, but for survival!
 

We want Liverpool City Council to stop the current tender process, and start to listen to the community who elected them.  

We want them to engage with us, and then allow us, (or, indeed, another not-for-profit Internet Exchange) to create a neutral & open broadband network, helping to secure our digital futures and making Liverpool even greater than it already is.

Please sign our petition so we can show Liverpool City Council that you support this ideal. You can read more at: www.ixliverpool.net/save-our-future/

Contact

Tender Team@IX Liverpool

lccfibretender@ixliverpool.net

 



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