Hull becomes ‘first full fibre city in the UK’

Broadband, News

Hull has become the first place in the UK to have city-wide full fibre broadband coverage.

The company behind the Lightstream project said around 200,000 homes and businesses in the city and surrounding area now have access to ultrafast speeds of 1Gbps, making Hull “the first full fibre city in the UK”.

The East Yorkshire city’s telecoms infrastructure has always been independent of the main UK network built by BT – a situation represented by Hull’s distinct cream-coloured phone boxes.

Now KCOM, the firm which supplies the majority of residents and businesses, has announced that its Lightsteam full fibre broadband is available across the city – coverage which compares with 8% in the rest of the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made faster internet connections one of his goals, saying he wants full fibre available “for all by 2025”.

KCOM said Thursday’s announcement has put Hull six years ahead of the Government’s target.

The company said the city now has an average download speed of 94.7Mbps after the seven-year roll-out of Lightstream.

Lightstream cost £85 million and has made full fibre broadband available to around 200,000 residential and commercial properties, according to KCOM.

Managing director Sean Royce said: “Seven years ago we promised our customers the fastest broadband in the UK and, following the completion of our Lightstream rollout, we are proud to say we’ve delivered it.

“Broadband is now an essential utility and access to the fastest speeds on earth is already making a positive difference to homes and businesses in the region, which in turn will help benefit UK plc.”

He added: “Our investment in full fibre broadband to date has had a major impact on the region, enabling households to stream, surf and play seamlessly online, and businesses to compete on a truly global scale, working faster and more efficiently.

“It has put this region at the vanguard of the UK’s digital economy and set a benchmark for the rest of the UK to aspire to.”

Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady said: “It is fantastic for the city that full fibre broadband is now available across KCOM’s whole network.

“All businesses rely on good connectivity, from the smallest to the largest, and this means businesses in Hull can be confident that they can work faster and more efficiently.

“The city is in the middle of an economic and technological revolution. Full fibre broadband is a vital part of this for both new businesses and existing businesses looking to expand and grow.”

KCOM said it achieved this, having taken the decision to bypass Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, which uses fibre for part of the connection from the telephone exchange to the customer’s property.

It said it has instead invested in Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology. FTTP is a pure, full fibre-optic connection running all the way to the user’s home or business.

KCOM said research by tech consultancy Innovation Observatory found that the overall estimated cumulative economic impact of Lightstream was more than £469 million between 2012 and 2018.

This includes £234 million in extra gross value added to the Hull and East Yorkshire economy and £204 million in salaries of additional staff employed in local businesses whose growth has been attributable to Lightstream.

Chris Price
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