Terrible tech conference Wi-Fi could soon be a thing of the past

New government initiative aims to attract more international events to the UK with better infrastructure

The UK government has set aside 250,000 in order to fund the upgrade of broadband connectivity at some of the UK's largest conference spaces, in a bid to attract a greater number of events.

Conference centres will be able to apply for a portion of that funding to upgrade their infrastructure to full fibre broadband, with the average cost expected to be around 30,000 per facility. 

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Launching the project on Friday, tourism minister Rebecca Pow said that the competition would help deliver a much-needed boost to the business events sector, said to generate 32 billion for the UK economy.

It will also allow conferences to demonstrate more interactive exhibits and live stream the day's events to an international audience, expanding the global reach of the event.

The fund will only be available to conference centres who host, or plan to host, international events - defined as those where 30% of delegates are international visitors. The event venue must also have a capacity of 400 or greater.

"We want the UK to attract the biggest and best international business events to help grow our economy and encourage trade and investment,' said Pow. "Ensuring our conference facilities can deliver the connectivity and facilities organisers want and need is crucial to help achieve this and there is a great deal of scope to expand this area."

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The UK international event circuit currently generates an estimated 4.5 billion in tourism and leisure spending, in addition to the 150 billion worth of trade conducted at events annually.

"This is a strong recognition of the importance of helping to support the growth of first-class infrastructure in Britain's large range of diverse world-class business event facilities," said Michael Hirst, chair of the events industry board. "It will help immensely in continuing to present Britain as a leading global destination for business events."

The government is hoping to capitalise on the continued growth of the UK's tourism industry, which experts believe will rise by a further 9 million visitors by 2025.


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