Reports that CityFibre is to invest £2.5bn in next generation broadband in regions outside of London is welcome news for Yorkshire cities and towns that have been ignored by the UK’s next generation broadband roll-out.
The investment will expand the full fibre network to a further 11 Yorkshire cities and towns.
Whilst there has been heavy investment in full fibre connectivity in London over the past decade - affording residents of the capital both choice of providers and enhanced broadband speeds - investment in Yorkshire has been sadly lacking, meaning we’ve been reliant on legacy copper-based infrastructure that is totally incapable of satisfying modern day requirements.
The initial targeted cities include Leeds, Huddersfield, Coventry, Cambridge and Edinburgh. The firm said five million homes will benefit from full fibre broadband, meeting a third of the Government’s 2025 target.
CityFibre has identified 37 towns and cities where it already has critical fibre assets which are primed for expansion for fibre-to-the-home.
These include a further nine Yorkshire towns and cities (Batley, Bradford, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Halifax, Harrogate, Rotherham, Sheffield and Wakefield) which are primed to receive additional investment.
Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resource and sustainability, said encouraging investment from providers like CityFibre is an important part of the council’s strategy to ensure that all premises in the district, residential and commercial, can access gigabit capable services and take advantage of new technologies.
CityFibre said its whole-city build approach ensures that, once completed, nearly every home and business in its footprint will have access to transformational full fibre connectivity, putting each of the 37 towns and cities on a new footing as they join the “Gigabit City” club.
CityFibre is committed to building a full fibre network across Yorkshire, to provide increased broadband speed and capacity from hospitals to schools, businesses and ultimately residents.
The firm is determined to redress the balance and bring next generation digital infrastructure to communities outside of London.
A recent study by economic consultancy Regeneris said access to full fibre connectivity across 100 UK towns and cities outside of London could unlock £4.5bn in business productivity across the UK, as well as adding more than £7bn to the value of homes.
The average download speed in Leeds city centre is currently less than 20 Mbps. With full fibre connectivity directly into the home, this will increase to 1 Gbps, meaning consumers could download an entire 4K film in 33 minutes rather than 11 hours, and a 2GB CT scan sent between hospitals could be done in 40 seconds, compared with the current 14 minutes.
Broadband is increasingly referred to as the fourth utility, and access to full fibre infrastructure will underpin Yorkshire’s future digital economy.
The positive impact full fibre could have on our productivity demonstrates the transformational opportunity full fibre infrastructure offers for towns and cities across Yorkshire.