Digital Transformation in Leicester: Developing Leicester’s Fibre City



With data-intensive practices such as remote working, e-learning and streaming now a well established - and heavily relied upon - aspect of day-to-day life, many existing national networks are struggling to keep up with ever-increasing demand.Leicester, East Midlands, is no exception to this growing issue, which is only set to become more prominent as lifestyles and livelihoods continue to become increasingly digitised.

Valued at over £23 billion, Leicester and Leicestershire’s economy is the largest within the East Midlands region, and is expected to grow to over £30 billion throughout the course of the decade. Additionally, Leicester’s two universities attract a significant student cohort of over 35,000 to the city, solidifying its reputation as a hub of both great educational and commercial opportunity.

Despite this, like most cities across the UK, large swathes of Leicester’s existing infrastructure is no longer proficient in responding to modern user demands. In fact, in recent years, demand had started to exceed the capacity and scope of Leicester’s existing networks, limiting the city’s growth and development potential.

The city needed digital revolution, and the networks around Leicester required crucial improvements in order to effectively service the city’s growing educational and commercial centres. Glide, a market leader in ultrafast broadband connectivity, was tasked with developing a fibre city, a metropolitan area with pervasive fibre infrastructure at its core.

Challenges to the Fibre City

Glide has provided network upgrades for businesses and universities across a range of urban areas within the UK, and similar to its previous work, common network issues preceded the installation of what would become Leicester’s fibre city infrastructure.

Committed to guaranteeing optimum network capabilities for its network users across Leicester, Glide identified three main challenges before this vision could be achieved:

  • The demands of Leicester’s users were not being adequately met by existing network infrastructure. Contemporary practices such as flexible working patterns, virtual learning and the use of streaming services were proving to be increasingly data-intensive, taking their toll upon current networks
  • Leicester not only needed an efficient, quick solution but also required a response that was intricately developed to fully support the city’s growing educational and commercial facilities.
  • Most importantly, in response to these challenges, the city’s new network provision needed to be resilient and pliable to accommodate Leicester’s future network endeavours

Installing Leicester’s Fibre Network

Leicester’s fibre city is situated upon Glide Group’s gamma ring, which provides the city with ultra-fast gigabit broadband. Ideally placed within the East Midlands region, the gamma ring, which is powered by 100Gbit/s from two directions, similarly supplies wider urban areas across the rest of Leicestershire, the West Midlands and Northamptonshire.

The fibre city has been strategically extended in order to optimally serve the city’s educational and commercial provisions, with a large portion of newer infrastructure concentrated around the University of Leicester and Victoria Park areas in the South-East of the city.

Infrastructure surrounding the university is made up of a 2-way fibre loop which surrounds the facility, and fully supports the demands of students and academic staff whilst also serving nearby purpose-built student accommodation and built-to-rent facilities.

Reliable Long-Term Connectivity

Situated on Glide’s agile, robust gamma ring, Leicester’s fibre city is a highly effective solution to the city’s rising demands on its connectivity provisions.  Now integrated into Glide’s 100Gbit/s national network, Leicester’s residents, businesses and students are now able to access Glide’s ultra-fast Wi-Fi and 63Mbit/s fibre broadband network. As demands continue to grow, Glide customers within Leicester will be able to scale their connectivity with limitless potential - enabling businesses, residents and the city’s universities evolve their digital capabilities.