£30m LCR Connect full-fibre network goes live

£30m full-fibre broadband network, LCR Connect, goes fully live for the first time across Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

Fibre-optic cable
LCR Connect has seen a 214km full-fibre network installed across Liverpool city region


Liverpool city region’s new superfast broadband network, LCR Connect, has gone fully live for the first time.

Costing £30m, LCR Connect is a full-fibre 214km “gigabit-capable” network across all six boroughs of the city region. Around 400 firms have already signed up to use the network which could reach around 28,000 businesses and organisations.

They include the M&S Bank Arena on Liverpool waterfront. Last May’s Eurovision Song Contest, held at the venue to global acclaim, provided an ideal testbed for the network, which is available for businesses only and not residential dwellings.

LCR Connect is a public-private partnership between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and North West-based ITS Technology Group. It was built and rolled out by construction partner NGE.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram claims the network could boost the city region economy by up to £1bn. He said: “Thanks to devolution, we’re creating a better-connected, more digitally inclusive future for our 1.6m residents.”

A 1Gb circuit from LCR Connect is about £700 cheaper per year than the average, saving businesses £3,500 over five years. Switching to a 10Gb circuit via LCR Connect can typically save £5,000 in annual charges.

Mr Rotheram launched LCR Connect at Sci-Tech Daresbury on Thursday. The national science and innovation campus is home to the Hartree Centre’s Scafell Pike, the UK’s most powerful supercomputer dedicated to industrial R&D.

This was the first location to install LCR Connect. The Mayor added: “Since I was elected, I’ve been on a mission to transform our region into the most digitally connected area anywhere in the country. Today that vision is one step closer to becoming a reality.

“The hallmark of any modern, 21st century city region like ours is how it connects people with opportunity.

LCR Connect will help us to create thousands of high quality, secure jobs and training opportunities for local people, attract inward investment and ensure that our businesses can keep pace in an increasingly digital world.”

Sci-Tech Daresbury’s internet capacity is doubled by LCR Connect offering a boost to more than 150 science and technology businesses based on the campus.

Professor Kate Royse, director of the Hartree Centre, added: “LCR Connect is a key critical infrastructure that is helping us to grow our support for businesses to embrace and integrate advanced digital technologies to boost productivity, accelerate innovation and foster digital transformation in the North West.

“Enhancing the connectivity of Sci-Tech Daresbury underpins our growth as we look to expand the campus to support 10,000 people working in science and technology.”


Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. Picture by Tony McDonough
Eurovision 2023
M&S Bank Arena utilised LCR Connect during Eurovision. Picture by Chloe Hashema/EBU
Make CIC
Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly outside Make CIC’s new Birkenhead home



Another business making use of LCR Connect is Make CIC, a Merseyside social enterprise that provides affordable space for local makers, creative entrepreneurs and artists. It was founded in 2012 by Kirsten Little and Liam Kelly.

As part of LCR Connect’s social value commitments, the network is providing free broadband to the local community through Make CIC’s centres in Huyton, Liverpool’s North Docks and the recently acquired building on Argyle Street in Birkenhead.

Chief executive Liam Kelly said: “Reliable and fast connections in our hubs have enabled our community of makers, creative entrepreneurs, and artists to sustain and grow their endeavours through a challenging economic time.

“The connection has played a key role in plans for the Argyle Street Creative hub we’re opening in Birkenhead, funded by Town Deal.

“Connectivity from LCR Connect will attract people to the area, support people to take their ideas to the next level and ultimately help the project grow these local economies.”

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