Brum to have “digital district”

Whatever that means. In a speech welcoming Lord Carter to the Digital Britain regional launch. Cllr Paul Tilsley (Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council and the Chair of the Digital Birmingham partnership) is announcing a “digital district”:

“Birmingham will create a ‘Digital District’ that brings together the innovative, learning and creative sectors enabled through a next generation hi[sic] speed broadband infrastructure. Spanning several hundred acres from the creative industries in Digbeth, our science and technology sectors at Birmingham Science Park and our world class developments at Eastside, it will provide an exciting environment for our creative industries and young entrepreneurs. “

But what does that really mean?

It sounds a little too much like another pointless branding exercise, one of those phrases that seems to only exist in order to be used in speeches to people that it includes (see also “Creative Industries”).  At worst it sounds like giving a “natural” cluster of some institutions, buildings and companies a name and a heady promise that may come to naught. It also sounds like it’s conflating “digital” and “creative and media” a little too much (but Brum certainly isn’t the only place doing that).

That’s what it sounds like at least. We’d hope to be pleasantly surprised.

The same speech – rightly – points out some good Brum companies “such as 3form, Made” as being top “digital” ones. Neither of them work in the ‘digital district’ — so are they expected to move, or are they to lag behind? What are the hopes for “hi speed” broadband elsewhere? Why is it different to the 50 meg available from Virgin in many areas of Brum already?

We’ll see.

It also sounds like another bit of the (still in consultation) Big City Plan being announced.