Newcastle aims to promote digital inclusion with 1Gbps broadband coverage from Hyperoptic
Newcastle City Council is to provide 1Gbps ‘ultrafast’ broadband coverage to 25 social housing developments in a bid to ensure residents can access the full range of public services.
The council has agreed a partnership with Hyperoptic, which already provides fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband to private residents in the Northeastern city.
The company has agreed similar deals with housing associations and local authorities, including Salford, Nottingham and Thurrock, and claims the network extension is of little or no cost to the council.
So far, 1,180 properties have been connected and work is underway to connect a further 5,000.
“In the world we live in today good quality, high speed broadband can be the key to success when it comes to education, employment and social inclusion,” said Jane Streather, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Health. “As more and more services go online we recognise that providing ultrafast, reliable and affordable broadband is an essential part of our drive to increase digital inclusion.
“By working in partnership with Hyperoptic, whose gold standard services have been tried and tested by other councils, we know our tenants will receive the best Internet experience possible in the UK today.”
Last week Hyperoptic raised a fresh £100 million in funding and announced plans to bring FTTP to two million homes by 2022 and five million by 2025. The company, which operates networks in 28 towns and cities across the UK, currently reaches 350,000 homes and businesses.
“Public services are becoming digital by choice. We are equipping and enabling social housing tenants to access these services in the best way possible – with an Internet connection that helps rather than hinders, and will stand the test of time as technology advances,” added Tim Huxtable, Regional Director, Hyperoptic.
“Social housing is a strategic priority for us – the public sector has a huge role to play in fulfilling the vision of a full fibre UK and bridging the digital divide.”
The majority of the UK’s superfast broadband infrastructure makes use of fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology. However Openreach plans to reach 12 million homes by the end of the decade using a combination of fibre to the premise (FTTP) and G.Fast, which speeds up copper connections. Coincidentally, the Gosforth area of Newcastle was one of Openreach’s trial locations.
It has also launched a consultation to investigate the feasibility of a wider rollout of FTTP.
Others, including Gigaclear, CityFibre and Virgin Media are also investing in FTTP, while the government is keen to see greater coverage of ‘pure’ fibre.