The Future for Wales’ Connectivity – Changing for Good
On Wednesday 24th June, Justin Leese, our CTO was invited to speak at Wales Tech Week. When trying to figure out what to present, there were a few options, but the one which stood out the most was whenever we considered the future of Wales’ connectivity.
At Ogi, we know that our work is important for Wales, because it means Wales now has two network operators with coherent plans and the financial clout to build all-new, fibre infrastructure right across the nation – Ogi and Openreach.
We’re focused on the underserved areas of the country, and the optical fibre network we’re laying right now will be an asset for the generations to come.
So what is the payback from full fibre broadband. What could it mean for the Welsh economy? How will it benefit communities? What contribution will it sustain? And we’ll conclude with why any of this should matter to you, and how you can get involved.
The “Ogi” roadmap
Updating the Welsh ecosystem is important, we all know this, and through our plans for a more connected Wales, we are also conscious of every other facet that is a part of that journey. We want to propose a roadmap of sorts, with three distinct pathways: Economy, Community, Opportunity and Sustainability.
Starting with sustainability, we are already aware of a few key dates pertaining to sustainability, and keeping in line with those will be important.
Those CO2 goals highlight government commitment to limiting global temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius. As we can see from Microsoft’s example though, businesses and communities can often be more innovative and agile than the government.
As businesses we should take the opportunity to lead the government’s thinking on sustainability. What can we achieve? Is it manageable? But this will only be achievable with a cohesive mindset.
Economy and society
Over the last year we have witnessed the biggest digital transformation sprint in history, including a massive shift to remote and flexible working, which requires both the right toolset and mindset.
We’ve not perfected this yet. Businesses have mostly yet to reinvest some of the potential savings from having staff work remotely back into the remote working environments. Management systems are still adapting, especially in the area of wellbeing.
But remote and flexible working allows us to embrace almost any knowledge sector job, from wherever we want or happen to be, as long as we have access to a fast and reliable broadband connection. This means we are no longer tied to our old office spaces, and we’re no longer tied to big cities for those “dream” jobs.
One of the most important things for Ogi, and many other businesses across Wales is the power of community. The importance of powering up online life for people across Wales is paramount, and we know we can do this by building real fibre connections right to the doorstep of the Welsh communities.
We believe that one of the most important processes to overcome is making sure we showcase the impact of full fibre in local communities, as well as talking about our commitment to sustainability. The future of Wales’ connectivity is driven by a need from the communities, and we think it’s important to remember that reliability, trust, continuity and togetherness is paramount
Ogi is for all communities of every sort, and especially the under-represented ones. We’re part of the grassroots movement to build back better in the wake of the pandemic and the near-seismic shifts it has provoked. That’s where our network is growing ‘first and fastest’.
Being able to provide work and learning opportunities close to where people live is integral to the growth of community resiliency.
Wales has one of the best, most talented and entrepreneurial workforce we have come across, and being able to keep some of these people working close to home and living in Wales, will be a massive boost, for communities and for the economy too. People that work near home, spend their income near home – a virtuous circle if ever there was one.
Levelling up Wales’ economy is the future. We believe it’s going to be possible to hold down virtually any knowledge or service sector job, from any location via flexible working, and for this to succeed, we need to level up Wales’ connectivity.
Where do we go from here?
For Wales to become a leader in connectivity, we need all of our providers to step up.
- We’ve made this pledge internally, and at Ogi we will continue to tell our story of investment and growth, and we will continue to invest in the creation of Welsh jobs.
- We’re big advocates for reversing the Welsh brain dump here at Ogi, and we’re advocates for bringing Welsh talent home to Wales. Justin is an example of this advocacy in action, and this is something that we think is a milestone.
How can you get involved?
- Partner with Ogi. We need collaborators, innovators, even would-be future investors, to step up with us.
- Help us build stronger communities. We want your bright ideas, case studies and workflows if you have been a part of building more resilient and vibrant communities, wherever you happen to be.
It’s easy to be a part of the change and the future of Wales’ broadband revolution. We need to take these discussions from this Zoom into the real world, and that can start today. For more information you can visit Ogi, or check out some of this Welsh government literature here.
We know this is going to be a journey, one with twists, turns and bumps in the road, but we’re not new to this. We’re super proud to be Welsh – hold the stereotypes and tropes, though – and we’re excited to be ushering in a new digital era. For me, and for Ogi, we know that when businesses are enabled to perform better, we create more opportunity and connection for everyone.
We need to focus on capturing that feel-good energy we generate when we come together. It’s the same contagious, smile-inducing spirit that’s generated at concerts, match days and meet ups with your mates, the in person ones more so than those on Zoom. In simple terms, this is my rallying call for connection, interaction and celebration, with real, connected living leading the way.