£469m boost for Hull as it becomes UK's first high speed internet city

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Hull today becomes the first full fibre broadband city in the country with its roll out having already boosted the region’s economy by an estimated £469m.

The £85m six year Lighstream programme from communications giant KCOM now means that some 200,000 homes and businesses have access to some of the fastest internet speeds in the UK.

KCOM engineer at work

KCOM engineer at work

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The level of access now felt across Hull and surrounding areas is only felt by 8 per cent of the rest of the rest of country and comes six years ahead of the Government’s target of making full fibre broadband available across the UK by 2025.

Hull is now officially one of the UK’s fastest tech hubs, with figures from industry experts Think Broadband showing that from July to September 2019 the average speed on Hull’s full fibre network was 97.4Mbps.

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Hull city cente - Jim Stephenson

Hull city cente - Jim Stephenson

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."

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The project deliver now has the potential to be a significant boon to the wider economy.

Matt Hancock inspects KCOM cables being installed.

Matt Hancock inspects KCOM cables being installed.

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.

Mr Royce 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.

KCOM engineer

KCOM engineer

“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.”

KCOM has achieved its faster broadband speeds by bypassing 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 investing in Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, a pure, full fibre-optic connection running all the way to the user’s home or business.

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.”

KCOM, formally known as Kingston Communications, was the subject of a £627m acquisition over the course of the summer by global infrastructure investor Macquarie.

The club has full naming rights to both the KCOM Stadium and KCOM Craven Park.

Hull will be one of the best connected cities in the UK

Hull will be one of the best connected cities in the UK

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.

Full-fibre broadband networks are said to be immune to interference and do not suffer the signal attenuation experienced by copper lines.