KCOM Group has confirmed a £100m investment into expanding its full fibre broadband network.
The Hull-based broadband and communications provider completed a full fibre broadband rollout to around 200,000 properties across Hull and East Yorkshire last year and has revealed new plans to push beyond the company’s traditional boundaries to tens of thousands more homes and businesses.
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Its chief executive Dale Raneberg said: “Our investment in Fibre To The Premises technology to date has made Hull the UK’s first full fibre city, with broadband speeds that are the envy of the rest of the UK.
“I’m delighted to announce the first phase of our new, ambitious plans to bring our award-winning broadband to many more homes and businesses in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. By investing to develop and expand our networks we hope to deliver benefits to residents through infrastructure that will also underpin growth and innovation across the region.
“Our full fibre infrastructure is contributing to the creation of a regional powerhouse. This new programme will more than double our investment in Fibre To The Premises.”
KCOM’s expansion plans are the first phase of a wider programme of investment to increase regional fibre accessibility, supported by its new owner, MEIF 6 Fibre Limited which acquired the company in August last year.
The Government has plans to make gigabit-capable connectivity available nationwide with just 11 per cent of UK properties currently having access to full fibre broadband.
KCOM’s roll out came significantly ahead of Whitehall targets. Figures from industry experts ThinkBroadband show that from October to December 2019 the average speed on Hull’s full fibre network was 101Mbps (megabits per second).
KCOM’s investment in full fibre broadband in the city has had a substantial impact.
Research from tech research consultancy Innovation Observatory found that the overall estimated cumulative economic impact was more than £469 m between 2012 and 2018.
This includes £234 million in extra Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Hull and East Yorkshire economy and £204m in salaries of additional staff employed in local businesses. Small businesses run from home have also benefited from in excess of £1m in additional revenues.
Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “We want every corner of the country to benefit from world-class, gigabit-speed broadband, so I welcome this big investment from KCOM to give more businesses in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire the opportunity to take advantage of the fastest internet connections.
“This Government has committed £5 billion to make sure the hardest-to-reach areas aren’t left behind and, together with industry investment, it means real progress is being made to build a connected, 21st century Britain.”
Beckie Hart, regional director of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Full fibre connectivity is the key to unlocking the potential of businesses of all shapes and sizes across the UK.
“KCOM’s investment in making Hull the UK’s first full fibre city is already delivering benefits to the economy there.
“I welcome the news of its plans to invest further to make this vital infrastructure available to many more thousands of homes and businesses in the region.”
Mr Raneberg said: “The £100m investment we’re announcing today is a huge vote of confidence in our regional business from our new owners, who recognise the great potential this region has to grow and prosper with quality ultrafast broadband.”
KCOM’s full fibre network has been recognised as a leading light in broadband provision by both the communications industry and the European Commission.
As well as being named Best Consumer Broadband Provider at the Internet Service Provider Awards (ISPA) 2019, KCOM also triumphed in the Quality and Affordability of Services category at the European Broadband Awards last month.