Telecoms chairman says more investment needed to help a more inclusive post-Covid 19 economy

John Trower, Commsworld chairman

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THE new chairman of telecoms provider Commsworld says the UK must invest heavily in digital technology and infrastructure if it wants to build a stronger, greener, resilient and more inclusive post-Coronavirus economy.

John Trower has spoken out for the first time since being appointed chairman of the Edinburgh-headquartered telecoms business in December, following an investment by private equity house LDC.

Mr Trower believes the opportunity is now there for political leaders to grasp the nettle and invest in the digital “building blocks”.

He said: “Politicians and policy makers face a huge challenge across two fronts. They must find a way to meet our net zero carbon emission targets – 2045 in Scotland and 2050 in the rest of the UK. They must also resolve an issue laid bare by the Covid-19 crisis and that’s a lack of equitable growth.

“We have already seen the impact that technology can have on our lives – without it, far more would have ground to a halt while we were in lockdown. But we have also discovered that a large segment of our society is digitally excluded.

“Now is the time to embrace new, emerging technology can help tackle these issues head on – artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 5G and data analytics are poised to come into their own. 

“But for these technologies to work to maximum effect we need the building blocks of digital infrastructure to be in place. Commsworld, and its UK-wide optical core network can provide this connectivity so we work towards a ‘new normal’ benefitting everyone and transforming us as a nation.”

Mr Trower also pointed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge, before the pandemic struck, to deliver 100% full-fibre broadband by 2025.

He said: “This is a massive challenge logistically and financially, but it’s one that must be addressed going forward. Achieving this will allow truly equitable access to high-speed, resilient networks no matter where you live, ending the hardship of areas stifled by an absence of infrastructure.

“It will transform private but also the public sector, including education in schools and social housing. Our whole society will be structured in a way that is greener and more efficient, delivered by a more skilled workforce.”

Mr Trower has three decades of experience in the tech sector. An honours graduate in electrical and electronic engineering from University of Strathclyde, his career so far includes serving on the management board of Scottish Telecom and subsequently THUS plc, where he was director of network operations.

John was also THUS plc’s representative of the Scottish Council for Development of Industry (SCDI) and was seconded to the Scottish Executive as an adviser on public procurement policy.

More recently he was a member of the Ofcom Advisory Committee for Scotland.

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