KCOM makes £100m full-fibre investment

Operator for UK’s first full-fibre city looks to spread full-fibre reach to surrounding areas with network that is said to have produced estimated cumulative economic impact of more than £469m

Just as the country’s telecoms regulator was announcing plans to boost the availability of full-fibre broadband across  the UK, Hull-based operator KCOM was planning to invest approximately £100m to expand its network beyond the company’s traditional boundaries, to tens of thousands more homes and businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire.

KCOM made Hull the UK’s first full-fibre city in 2019, completing a full-fibre broadband roll-out to around 200,000 properties, with the plans supporting the government’s goal to make gigabit-capable connectivity available nationwide.

In December 2019, just as the UK government was outlining plans to accelerate access to full-fibre broadband connections to 96% of the UK’s homes and businesses, principally by introducing laws to accelerate the delivery of gigabit-capable broadband across the UK, research from telecoms regulator Ofcom revealed that the current UK full-fibre penetration is just 10%.

“Our investment in fibre to the premises [FTTP] technology to date has made Hull the UK’s first full-fibre city, with broadband speeds that are the envy of the rest of the UK,” said KCOM chief executive Dale Raneberg.

“I’m delighted to announce the first phase of our new, ambitious plans to bring our award-winning broadband to many more homes and businesses in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.

“By investing to develop and expand our networks, we hope to deliver benefits to residents through infrastructure that will also underpin growth and innovation across the region. Our full-fibre infrastructure is contributing to the creation of a regional powerhouse.”

From October to December 2019, the average speed on Hull’s full-fibre network was 101 Mbps. Looking at the benefits from fibre broadband access, research from tech research consultancy Innovation Observatory found that the overall estimated cumulative economic impact was more than £469m between 2012 and 2018.

The research calculated that the £469.3m included £234m in extra gross value added (GVA) to the Hull and East Yorkshire economy, and £204m in salaries of additional staff employed in local businesses whose growth has been attributable to KCOM’s full fibre broadband service. Small businesses run from home were said to have benefited from in excess of £1m in additional revenues.

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