Editor Robert Barman 01233 623232 firstname.lastname@example.org News editor Alastair Irvine 01233 623232 airvine@the kmgroup.co.uk Sport email@example.com Text: Text EXPRESS followed by your message to 87474. Please include your name and postcode. Messages must not be more than 160 characters and will be charged only at your standard network rate. Please visit kentonline.co.uk/terms for texting terms. Advertising Tel 01233 623232 Fax 01233 626545 Advertisement manager Jo Pearce, 01233 895819, firstname.lastname@example.org Classified advertising Tel 01233 623232. Newspaper sales (including delivery, distribution, competitions, reader offers and subscriptions): Office hours, answerphone thereafter: 0800 525450 Head office: Medway House, Ginsbury Close, Thomas Longley Road, Medway, City Estate, Strood, Rochester ME2 4DU. Tel 01622 717880, Fax 01622 710937. Complaints: Any complaint about any aspect of this newspaper should be made to the editor, Robert Barman, 01233 623232 email@example.com Customer Services (for advertising queries): email customerservices@ thekmgroup.co.uk 0800 0855810
Virgin Media has announced that homes and businesses in Kent, and specifically Ashford, will be next to benefit from an ultra-fast broadband and entertainment boost. As part of its Project Lightning expansion, Virgin Media plans to extend its fibre-optic network with entry-level download speeds of 100Mbps, reaching up to 300Mbps for residents and 350Mbps for small businesses.
Work has already begun in Ashford to connect up to 8,000 premises, and is expected to be completed across the county before the end of 2018.
The council understands the significance of this type of high-speed broadband investment, and Ashford has been at the forefront of pushing the fibre agenda. Our revised Local Plan includes an innovative Fibre to the Premises policy.
Before I write the next column, we will have had the results of the Kent County Council elections. We will however, still be in the middle of the cut and thrust in the run-up to the general election called for June 8. It is our council staff who, in addition to their day jobs, will have to set up the vote counting arrangements prior to announcing the results.
In Ashford, we are also having to hold not one but two by-elections for vacancies that now exist in Victoria and Bockhanger wards.
Award wins, multi-million pound investment, job creation and service innovations are the hallmarks of businesses thriving.
In Ashford this was recognised by the borough being again voted the best place in Kent to do business in a poll by the investment and business relocation agency Locate in Kent.
Ashford-based firms RIFT Group and Breakthrough Funding were triumphant in the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce annual business awards earlier this month. Breakthrough Funding won the most promising new business accolade, and RIFT scooped the excellence in customer service prize .
Pioneering work is being carried out by Ashford-based medical device manufacturer Integrated Technologies Ltd (ITL). It is working in a consortium of 20 companies, including technology giants Phillips and Siemens, to create products to improve cancer treatment. ITL hopes to develop an improved cancer-imaging device to identify the size of tumours.
Combining business with pleasure are Ashford entrepreneurs Steve and Lisa Wootton, who are investing £1.5 million in developing one of the biggest trampoline arenas in the South East. Flip Out is due to open in Ashford at Henwood this spring, and the Woottons are recruiting up to 60 staff to run this family entertainment centre.
Ashford is widely recognised as the most business-friendly location in the county, so it’s no surprise to see so many local employers continuing to thrive and prosper here.