EAST Lancashire business leaders will discover how ‘next generation’ broadband can transform their businesses at an network event later this month.

James Roberts, Engineering Manager at 6G internet, will talk about the importance of connectivity at the next meeting of Hive, Blackburn and Darwen’s powerful network of business leaders, at Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park.

6G is next generation broadband which utilises ‘air fibre’ technology to deliver speeds of up to 120mbps.

Blackburn recently became the first town in the UK to receive 6G’s new superfast broadband and the Simonstone-based firm believes its ground-breaking technology can help to drive growth within the local economy, as well as attracting fresh investment to the area.

Mr Roberts said: “In today’s digital age the internet is absolutely essential to business so fast, reliable connections are increasingly important.

“It speeds up the way that firms do business, making them more competitive, and by accessing cloud computing services, which enables people to work remotely, they can also become more cost effective too.

“The problem is a lot of companies are still using broadband services that are delivered over an aging copy wire network that was originally designed in Victorian times.

“The average internet speeds in the Blackburn area are 3-4 mbps, which is simply not acceptable in 2014.

“It means businesses in the area are at a competitive disadvantage compared to other areas of the country so more investment is needed to improve connectivity.

“We’ve spent five years, and millions of pounds, developing a solution which is not reliant on the existing infrastructure and can deliver speeds of up to 120 mbps, and potentially even faster in the very near future.

“We believe this can really help to put Blackburn on the map and ultimately help to attract new investment to the area going forwards by enabling businesses to become more agile and competitive.”

In keeping with the theme of ‘Connectivity’, Mark Williams – aka Mr LinkedIn - will also be speaking at the event.

Mark is the UK’s foremost LinkedIn trainer and expert and has inspired and educated thousands of LinkedIn users from a diverse range of industries and roles.

Having opened their new state-of-the-art £7m STEM centre in September 2013, Blackburn College will also be talking to Hive about young people and technology, with the aim of introducing the audience to some of the technologies being tested by the College’s students.

Khalid Saifullah, chairman of Hive and director of Star Tissue UK, said: “Hive is looking to highlight growth opportunities for our members and the wider business community in Blackburn and Darwen. The introduction of superfast broadband would be a catalyst for growth for businesses in a whole variety of sectors in the two towns.

“Any business that has a desire to transform the town, improve the prospects of local people and has a desire to grow and succeed must get involved in this network: together as Hive we will inspire prosperity into Blackburn and Darwen Hive’s ‘Connectivity’ event is taking place at Ewood Park on Tuesday January 28 at 10am and includes a buffet lunch.

To find out more about Hive visit www.business-hive.co.uk.