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Hull becomes UK’s first city to complete rollout of ultrafast, full fibre broadband

£85m investment by KCOM makes Hull the UK’s best-connected city

KCOM has today announced the completion of its ultrafast, full fibre broadband rollout in Hull and East Yorkshire. The rollout of its Lightstream service makes Hull the first full fibre city in the UK and means around 200,000 homes and businesses in the region have access to ‘ultrafast’ speeds of 1Gbps (Gigabits per second).

Started in 2012, the project has taken seven years to deliver and cost £85m. Just 8% of properties across the UK currently have access to full fibre broadband and the Government’s goal of making it available nationwide by 2025 puts Hull’s digital infrastructure six years ahead of the rest of the country.

Commenting on this ground-breaking achievement, 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.”

Figures from industry experts Think Broadband show that from July to September 2019 the average speed on Hull’s full fibre network was 94.7Mbps.* KCOM has 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, and instead invest 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’s track record in full fibre broadband deployment was one of the factors leading to its recent £627m acquisition by global infrastructure investor Macquarie.

Despite the Government’s ambitious aim to roll out full fibre to the whole of the UK by 2025 recent international league tables of average download speeds show the UK is lagging behind. This year the UK climbed one place to 34th on the annual league table of broadband speeds, behind countries such as Hungary, Japan, Slovakia and Madagascar.** The fastest broadband nation, Taiwan, has an average download speed of 85Mbps.

Councillor Stephen Brady OBE, leader of Hull City Council, 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.”
The benefits of ultrafast broadband go beyond faster browsing. Research from tech research 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 (GVA)**** 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. Small businesses run from home have also benefited from in excess of £1 million in additional revenues.

Royce concluded: “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.”

For more information on Lightstream visit www.kcomhome.com/lightstream

Ends

* ThinkBroadband.co.uk, October 2019

** Cable.co.uk, Worldwide Broadband Speed League 2019
*** Innovation Observatory, The Economic Impact of Lightstream Full Fibre Broadband, August 2019. Economic benefit measured from calendar years 2012 (when the first customers were connected) to 2018. To read the full report visit: https://www.kcomhome.com/lightstream-impact/

**** Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the value of goods and services produced in a local economy. It is a widely used indicator of the local economic impact arising from an investment.