Business Boost | 28 July 2016 - by KCOM

Lightstream rollout gathers pace

In March 2016 we announced our plans to step up the pace of our fibre broadband rollout so that by December 2017 150,000 homes and businesses in the region will have access to superfast speeds.

The acceleration of our rollout means that this year our engineers will connect a new property to our Lightstream service every half an hour on average. 

It also means that every few weeks we’re announcing that a new location has gone superfast. Earlier this month Lightstream became available to more than 3,200 homes in the Bricknell Avenue area of the city, hot on the heels of our rollout reaching 4,500 homes off Holderness Road in June. And next week we’ll be sharing the details of the first phase of our rollout in Hedon and Preston.

Hull remains the only city in the UK where broadband officially described as “ultrafast” – delivering download speeds capable of at least 100Mbps (megabits per second) – is being made available as standard.

That’s because we’re installing fibre cables all the way from our telephone exchanges to customers’ properties. Elsewhere in the UK, fibre cables are typically laid only as far as telecoms cabinets in the street, with copper cable forming the final connection to the customer. The result is slower download speeds that vary according to how far a customer lives from the street cabinet.

Our approach means covering the whole of our network will take longer than if we were installing fibre only to street cabinets, although the increased investment we’re making to speed up our deployment means three quarters of our network will have ultrafast capability by the end of 2017.

We think the end result – future-proof connectivity in a digital age – is worth it, and the industry regulator, Ofcom agrees. Sharon White, Ofcom's chief executive, recently told MPs:

"If you take a 10-year perspective, particularly if you are interested as much in the resilience and the quality of the network as in the speed that can be achieved from that, the future is fibre." She cited the example of Sweden and South Korea, where internet speeds are 10 times faster than that offered by BT, because of the investment in all-fibre networks of the type we’re installing in Hull and East Yorkshire.

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