Hull becomes first UK city with full-fibre broadband coverage
Image credit: Hull City Guildhall, 16 March 2010 - by Andy Beecroft : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hull%27s_Guildhall_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1758569.jpg
According to Hull-based KCOM, full-fibre broadband is now available across the city of Hull, rendering it the first place in the UK to have city-wide coverage.
Hull’s telecommunications infrastructure is organised differently to that of the rest of the UK, via its independent telephone network KCOM. KCOM’s cream-coloured telephone boxes, which can be seen across the city, are a stark contrast to BT’s familiar red telephone boxes.
KCOM, which supplies most residents and businesses in the city, has announced that its ‘Lightstream’ full-fibre broadband is now available all across the city. In comparison, full-fibre broadband coverage across the rest of the UK is at approximately 8 per cent.
According to the company, the project was completed efficiently due to the decisoin to invest in ‘Fibre to the Premises’ technology, running fibre-optic connections all the way to buildings, rather than connecting homes and businesses via local cabinets.
The seven-year, £85m Lightstream project has allowed 200,000 homes and businesses to access broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps. Hull residents now have an average download speed of 94.7Mbps; according to Ofcom, Britons have an average download speed of 54.2Mbps in 2019. The completion of the Lightstream project sets Hull six years ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s target of rolling out full-fibre broadband to everyone in the UK by 2025; this target has been criticised for failing to account for the full extent of the digital divide between urban and rural areas.
According to research from Innovation Observatory, the Lightstream project has had an economic impact of at least £469m between 2012 and 2018, with £234m in added gross to the local economy and £204 in salaries of additional staff employed in local growing businesses.
“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,” said KCOM managing director Sean Royce. “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.
“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.”
The rollout was welcomed by Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady, who commented that the completion of the Lightstream project is “fantastic” news.
“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,” Brady commented. “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.”
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.