Salford Council puts gigabit fibre into public housing

Salford Council in Greater Manchester is to deploy fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband across its council housing portfolio

Salford Council is extending its digital skills campaign – which aims to address issues of social inclusion through getting more residents online – with the roll-out of a gigabit fibre-to-the-premises broadband service across its council estates.

The first buildings covered by the scheme are already being hooked up by urban FTTP pioneer Hyperoptic, with a service available to buy from summer 2016. 

“The world is being transformed by a series of profound technological changes. Digital technology is changing our lives, our economy, our work and society. Through our regeneration work in Pendleton we have set in place the technological infrastructure that gives people living there an impressive digital capability and offer,” said Paul Dennett, assistant mayor for innovation, growth and prosperity at Salford Council.

“Council owned homes aren't often seen as being ahead of the technological curve but, in Salford, we realise technological developments are critical to creating vibrant communities, whilst ensuring the sustainability of regeneration.”

The service will be made available in three packages – a high-end 1Gbps service, a significantly slower but still ultrafast 100Mbps service, and a basic 20Mbps service, which does not meet government definitions of superfast. Additionally, Hyperoptic will make a 100Mbps service available free of charge in communal areas.

Properties at Beech Court, Holm & Plane Court, Hornbeam, Malus Court, Salix Court, Spruce Court, Thorn Court and Whitebeam will be the first to get access to the network.

Digital volunteer programme

It will be the first large-scale social housing FTTP offering in the UK, although Wandsworth Council has been consulting on the possibility of making a similar service available to its tenants following successful trials of a Community Fibre network in Battersea, south London.

Dana Tobak, MD, Hyperoptic, adds: “We offer a compelling and innovative alternative for council’s that want to future-proof their buildings with broadband infrastructure that will stand the test of time,” said Hyperoptic managing director Dana Tobak.

“Gigabit connectivity enables limitless opportunities – it supports and exceeds the government’s digital by default initiative. The UK is fast becoming a gigabit nation - we have pioneered this shift and we are delighted that Salford Council has taken the leap to become the first council to offer its residents world-class connectivity.”

There is a programme encouraging digitally-savvy residents to volunteer to train their neighbours to get the most out of the internet.

Each volunteer will be supplied with training, a free broadband service and an iPad to use in their work, which they will be able to keep if they train over 20 people a year.

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How long before some of the London Boroughs will follow suite instead of merely trying to auction their rooftops to who-ever will pay the most and waiting .... waiting .... waiting - while the mobile operators try to beat them over the head buy getting changes to the electronic communications code and, thus, a cheaper price.
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Hi, I cant really comment on the details of an ongoing procurement. But I am surprised by your remarks, In a recent article in Computer weekly John Jackson the CIO of Camden Council at the time highlighted the social benefits that were being derived from their approach to monetising their rooftop and street furniture assets, many Councils are using their assets to derive social gain rather than cold hard cash and I would have thought you would have read those articles and seen this. The Cabinet office in Conjunction with DCLG and DCMS issued a joint letter to Council Leaders last year asking them to assist the mobile/ wireless carriers in getting more infrastructure deployed and there is a project being run in Central Gov't to get departments to open up their assets, this is not a cold hard money grab this is to enable the mobile/ wireless operators access to lots of sites because business and people need the connectivity.
Your article was very interesting and I can see why you would like to highlight the good works of your customer Hyperopic, getting connectivity out to the masses is a worthy subject, and it set them in a good light, but please do not have a go at other projects that you do not understand.
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Callum raises some very good points and I would not wish them lost in a spat over my comment about "auctioning rooftops to the highest bidder". There is most unlikely to be a "one size fits all" answer and the pressures on local authorities, as well as the solutions that best fit their needs, vary. Much will also depend on the services offered by network operators in return for uncharged access.
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Wowsers. THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT. Well done Salford council. Kudos.
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