19 Oct 2023
by Wendy Shearer

How to improve equality across the regions of the UK

Guest blog Wendy Shearer, Director of Smart Cities and Ecosystems at Pulsant #LocalDigitalIndex

As the 2023 Tech UK Digital Index has indicated digital infrastructure scores are improving across the UK, with London and the South East still the key regional markets, but signs of progress in other areas including the North East and North West.

The report indicates our regional economies continue to have mixed success in their attempts to build a robust technology infrastructure, which continues to pose a challenge for the UK tech sector, as it limits the potential for growth, diversity, and innovation. To address this, we need to continue to invest in skills, infrastructure, and ecosystems across all regions, to ensure equitable access for all to the benefits of digital technology.

Investing in regional edge infrastructure

One of the key factors that can improve the competitiveness of a region is its digital infrastructure. This includes data centres, compute power, and connectivity to drive fast and reliable access to data and applications. This is where Edge computing is delivering value to businesses and end users as it brings data resources closer to the user, improving access and reducing costs.

By investing in regional edge infrastructure, we can enable innovation across all regions, as businesses will have access to high-performance computing and storage capabilities to support data-intensive applications such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and Internet of Things. Edge infrastructure can also enhance security and privacy, as data is processed locally rather than having to travel to centralised servers located far from the user.

As a regional business ourselves, Pulsant is committed to investing in regional edge infrastructure across the UK, with 12 data centres located close to the core technology investment zones currently being set up. We launched our platformEdgeTM earlier this to enable clients to apply edge computing to achieve their business goals. and have plans to further expand our footprint in the North West and Yorkshire.  We believe that regional edge infrastructure is a valuable asset that can encourage inward investment and support economic development in a region.

Working with regional partners

However, business cannot operate in isolation. Collaboration is essential between different stakeholders to ensure the right skills come together to deliver the technology platforms required to compete. Strong partnerships help to create a supportive environment for both innovation and entrepreneurship, providing assistance and access to funding, talent, mentorship, and wider market opportunities.

The fact that Tech UK’s latest survey highlighted that 12% of Local Authorities still don’t have a digital connectivity strategy is a concern. This has to become more of a focus to ensure digital inclusion strategies remain a priority and that requires the support and engagement of the private sector, alongside, innovators including universities and incubators, as well as regional business groups.

We are working with various regional partners across the UK, including regional Chambers of Commerce, as part of its Digital Forum initiative, Enterprise organisations such as South of Scotland Enterprise, as well as legal and financial firms to help champion inward investment to the regions. We are also engaging with local authorities and policymakers to advocate for a forward-thinking approach to regulation that encourages digital innovation and competition.

As a regional business we have seen the benefits of collaborative working and the opportunity to help local economies to thrive. Being closer to the user helps us understand the specific needs and challenges of that regional economy, allowing us to tailor solutions accordingly.

Developing regional ecosystems

The creation of regional ecosystems can help bolster technology readiness by fostering collaboration between specialist businesses from different sectors, creating value by working together to bring digital transformation projects to market.

We are focused on creating these ecosystems across the regions of the UK by connecting tech businesses with each other using our national network of data centres to help create a more level playing field for technology use and investment. These connections allow businesses to share data and resources more efficiently, as well as to collaborate on new projects and solutions that can generate new revenue streams.

By developing regional ecosystems, we can create a more balanced and sustainable tech sector that reflects the diversity of talent and opportunity in the regional economy. These ecosystems can also increase the resilience and adaptability of the tech sector by spreading risk and opportunity across different regions.

We believe that improving equality across the UK tech scene is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic opportunity. By investing in skills, infrastructure, and ecosystems across all regions, we can unlock the full potential of the UK tech sector as a source of global innovation and leadership.

Our belief in the power of the regional and rural economy has recently seen us invest in the Crichton Trust to support local business in the South of Scotland.  We have installed a connection between the Crichton campus in Dumfries, and our national edge network in Edinburgh with the support of local ISP, Fibairo. Our aim is to offer the local business community free to use access to our high-performance digital infrastructure to support future innovation and growth across the region.

 We invite other Tech UK members to join us in this endeavour by thinking about some of the small things that they could do which collectively can really help improve the digital index scores across all regions in the UK. Together we can make sure that everyone has access to the benefits of digital technology.

techUK’s Local Digital Index Campaign Week #LocalDigitalIndex

techUK’s Local Digital Index Campaign Week #LocalDigitalIndex

The Nations and Regions team are delighted to be hosting our annual Local Digital Index Campaign Week between 16-20 October.

Click here to read all the insights

Local Digital Index 2023 front cover.jpg
Click on the image to download the report.


techUK – Building Stronger Local Economies 


techUK champions the tech sector throughout the UK. We work with local authorities, devolved government, and local and national policy makers to advocate for the tech sector in strengthening economic growth and resilience. We provide opportunities for our members and local stakeholders to meet, build relationships, and collaborate to drive forward local projects. For more information or to get in touch, please visit our Nations and Regions Hub and click ‘contact us’. 

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Contact the team:

Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson

Head of Nations and Regions, techUK

Ileana Lupsa

Ileana Lupsa

Programme Manager, Local Public Services and Nations and Regions, techUK

Learn more about our Nations and Regions campaign:






Wendy Shearer

Wendy Shearer

Director of Smart Cities and Ecosystems, Pulsant