Swansea Bay City Region bid focuses on technology

The Swansea Bay City Region has submitted a £500 million city deal bid to the UK and Welsh governments.

Named the ‘Internet Coast’ city deal, it aims to put digital at the forefront of the south west Wales region’s energy, technology and healthcare industries.

It’s thought that such a deal could create as many as 39,000 technology-related jobs, £3.3 billion of output and £1.3 billion of gross value for Wales.

The deal also outlines plans for a fibre-optic cable running from New York to Oxwich Bay in Swansea to bring ultrafast broadband to the region.

Telecommunications billionaire Sir Terry Matthews, who’s the chair of the city region, has said it’s important for people to recognise that the main transmission communication channel from New York to London is via south west Wales.

He also believes that ultrafast broadband speeds, vast data capacity, a population immersed in coding and an education system spinning out talented employees and entrepreneurs is the way forward for Wales.

Matthews said: “Swansea Bay became world famous in ‘the first machine age’. We aim to re-energise a vibrant and pioneering role in Wales and the UK as the world now enters ‘a new digital machine age.’

“There are echoes of the Industrial Revolution in this vision, and I am pleased to be leading the region as we aim for a new place in the global economy. I can clearly see a Swansea Bay that is globally recognised for innovation and economic acceleration once again, ideally located on ‘a digital super highway connecting the UK and North America – London and New York.

“Think of the way the internet and broadband networks have transformed communications worldwide. Now imagine the same principle applied to future energy systems, to health and well-being and any number of other sectors. It is a massive opportunity and with City Deal support we can take a lead position in Wales and make our wider contribution to the UK and to Europe.”

He added: “In my letter to the Chancellor I have described the widest possible regional public sector commitment to this City Deal bid as ‘a leap of faith’ that has immense value. I sincerely hope that the bold vision and support is recognised by Government in Westminster and Cardiff Bay.

“I know also that there are many private sector partners, here in Swansea Bay, across Wales and the UK and around the world who are enthused by our ‘leap of logic’.

“We need to incubate, launch and grow an ecosystem of new, successful and fast growing companies here in Swansea Bay. With the clarity, direction and impetus that a City Deal can provide just watch us ‘move that needle’ to a higher level of growth.”

Image credit: UKTI