Andy Starnes, Louise Bennett, Stuart Cain
Andy Starnes, head of city development at CityFibre, was speaking at a business leaders breakfast hosted by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce at its #CWRocks Business and Trade Expo.
The event, which was headline sponsored by CityFibre, also heard from Stuart Cain, the commercial director of the Ricoh Arena and Wasps, on the transformational effect that technology is having on the venue and how it could be harnessed in the future.
Andy highlighted the country’s low OECD ranking when it comes to fibre to the premises, with the UK lagging behind the likes of Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia.
That, he said, was at a time when the demands on the internet were growing rapidly as millions of users increase their reliance on internet services to enhance their everyday lives.
Andy said: “Telecoms infrastructure in the UK is behind where it needs to be, at present only five per cent of UK premises are able to access full fibre broadband. We can’t keep relying on Victorian era copper infrastructure if we want our businesses to continue to thrive in the digital age.
“Coventry is ahead of the game with a significant network already in place. Now as CityFibre expands its network to cover almost every home and business within the city we have a huge opportunity to grow the local economy.”
Stuart quoted former ice hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky to underline the need to understand how to unlock the potential of connectivity in the future.
He said: “Wayne Gretzky famously said that a good hockey player plays where the puck is but a great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.
“So we not only have to make the most of what the technology can do, we have to look at what we might be able to use it for in the future.
“Digital connectivity will drive our economic viability and it feels like we’re on the cusp of understanding what we can do which makes it a really exciting time.”
Louise Bennett, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was great to hear from two fantastic speakers from key organisations who are vital to our economy.
“It reminded me that it’s sometimes important in your business to look up and think about what you need to do to grow, and to take yourself out of the day-to-day business occasionally.
“How we all make the most of technology is one of those subjects that we all have to think about and plan for.”