Business Boost | 1 June 2018 - by Ian Midgley

Hull. The ultrafast broadband city

KCOM’s deployment of full fibre broadband is making Hull the UK’s ultrafast city – and boosting its credentials as a tech sector hotspot

Hull’s tech sector is booming.

That’s the verdict of the latest annual investigation into the state of the UK’s digital economy.

The Tech Nation Report 2018 has revealed that the tech sector added £402m of value to Hull’s economy last year – up from an average of £254m between 2013 and 2015. Jobs in the digital tech sector in Hull have also increased by 15 per cent since 2014, beating the national average of 13.2 per cent.

Hull is one of 30 tech hotspots identified by the report as helping to make the UK a “global tech leader”.

The report highlights the region’s ultrafast internet speeds as a major factor underpinning its tech sector growth. These have been made possible thanks to KCOM’s investment in the deployment of full fibre broadband across its Hull and East Yorkshire network.

The ambitious deployment began in 2011 and has resulted in full fibre broadband – lauded by the Government as the “gold standard” in connectivity – being made available to more than three quarters of the 200,000 households and businesses served by KCOM’s network. It means KCOM’s consumer customers can choose from download speeds including 400Mbps (megabits per second), while Gigabit speeds are available to businesses.

By March 2019 every property on KCOM’s network will have access to full fibre services. In contrast, they are available to just per cent of properties in the UK as a whole.

Sean Royce, KCOM’s executive vice president, said Tech Nation’s report shows Hull is increasingly a force to be reckoned in the UK’s vibrant tech economy.

“What Tech Nation 2018 shows is that Hull really is a brilliant place to be for tech and digital businesses. From innovative start-ups to established world leaders, we have the digital ecosystem in place to make sure tech industry here is flourishing. This can only be a good thing as Hull reinvents itself a 21st century city,” said Royce.

“At KCOM we’re proud to be playing our part in this renaissance by rolling out our ultrafast broadband which is underpinning that growth. It’s not an exaggeration to say that our full fibre network in Hull and East Yorkshire is the envy of the rest of the UK, making this region a highly desirable place for both tech start-ups and burgeoning tech companies to base themselves.”

Other factors making Hull an attractive location for tech start-ups include the quality of life, cost of living, proximity to sources of talent and the supportive local business tech community based in the city’s Centre For Digital Innovation (C4DI).

John Connolly, managing director of C4DI, said the future is looking bright for Hull.

In the report he says: “We have challenges like many other areas, but the rate of growth in tech, the fact that it’s embedded within local industry - rather in a disparate siloed tech community - our fibre infrastructure, our talent from organisations such as the Ron Dearing University Technical College and the University of Hull, and the fact we’re the UK’s most cost effective place to run a tech company give us considerable confidence for the future.”

For more details about Tech Nation 2018 and Hull’s high tech economy visit https://technation.io/insights/report-2018/hull/