The UK’s largest independent network provider has partnered with Scotland’s ‘national towns’ collective’ to highlight the “transformative” benefits of connectivity to local economic regeneration.

Edinburgh-headquartered Commsworld will work with Scotland’s Towns Partnership (SPT) to support its key ‘digital towns’ initiative.

The new collaboration will ensure organisations in STP’s Scotland Improvement Districts, located across the country, become technology-focused, bringing new data-driven and sustainable advantages to communities.

It is designed to underline the “vital importance” of reliable connectivity and excellent digital infrastructure to “breathe new life” into areas hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is hoped that this will support businesses to switch their services to online and help companies which need better bandwidth to communicate effectively with customers and suppliers.

Phil Prentice, chief officer of STP, said: “Digital transformation is imperative for public and private sector organisations, and as climate change and net zero commitments are at the centre of policy debate in Scotland and the UK, at STP we recognise the challenges, but the necessity to encourage a more sustainable and efficient future for Scotland’s towns, whilst ensuring a just transition for the communities that live in them.

“As we look towards Cop26 in Glasgow in November, we are eager to commit to making real, tenable changes with our partners and members as we work together to a cleaner, greener future for Scotland.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Commsworld as ‘digital towns’ will be a key feature of the post-pandemic, net zero agenda. We need ambitious digital infrastructure and approaches which embrace technology and help with wider placemaking – smart towns, virtual high streets, digital tourism and transport, blended co-working hubs and learning.

“Over the coming year we hope STP and Commsworld can deliver some innovative blueprints and provoke more collaborative approaches.”

Last year, Commsworld completed the build of its full-fibre internet connectivity to rural towns and villages in Renfrewshire in record time as part of the new infrastructure being delivered through the £15 million ‘connectivity as a service’ framework contract signed with Renfrewshire Council.

It rolled out 32km of full-fibre directly to Inchinnan, Erskine, Bishopton, Houston, Bridge of Weir and Kilbarchan, giving businesses in these areas access to Commsworld’s UK-wide Optical Core Network.

It means organisations in these communities, which may have previously struggled to access quality and cost-effective Fibre To The Premises (FTTP), can now gain up to 10 Gigabit connectivity.

Bruce Strang, chief operating officer at Commsworld, said: “We are hugely excited to be partnering with STP. Together, we aim to ensure businesses in rural towns and villages through Scotland are fully aware of the massive benefits that high quality and highly resilient connectivity can bring.

“We want to educate every business on how a superfast service can be truly transformative, as well as being delivered at much more cost effective rates to those in rural areas than previously thanks to the likes of Commsworld’s UK Optical Core Network, which delivers a superior quality and reliable service from Scottish-based company.

“Commsworld cannot wait to begin working with STP to make a difference through technology to towns and villages across the country.