Nicolas delafraye - stock.adobe.
The traditional fierce local independence of Kingston Upon Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire once famously extended to maintaining a local telephony service to rival that of UK incumbent supplier BT, and in keeping with this tradition, smart city operator Connexin has announced plans to create a new full-fibre network for the locality.
With its launch, Connexin is threatening to disrupt what it calls the existing monopoly in selecting a fibre broadband provider by offering residents and businesses freedom of choice. The company claims that Hull’s fibre broadband market is currently monopolised by one company, leaving residents and businesses unable to access other providers, and is the only UK city where this is the case.
It believes that introducing the new fibre network will allow a competitive market to emerge, providing not only diversity, but improvement to the citizen and business broadband experience.
Connexin says its network will be the first in the UK to be built over an existing full-fibre network as, unlike others, the current infrastructure is not shared.
“For too long, the people of Hull and East Riding have had no real say on who provides their broadband and what network they want to use,” said Connexin CEO and co-founder Furqan Alamgir. “This simply isn’t the right way to do things. We have felt the pain of operating and growing a business in a ‘monopoly’ environment.
“We tried working collaboratively with the incumbent to create a more competitive broadband marketplace in Hull but, given the challenges we have faced around infrastructure sharing, we have decided to invest in our city and build an independent alternative full-fibre network for the region.
“Our goal is to create new jobs locally, drive competition to improve the services available to residents and to help grow and attract new and existing businesses, as well as investment into the region.”
The first phase of the roll-out is already under way, with construction of the network being undertaken by SCD Group and the first phase set to be completed by the end of the year.
Connexin also believes it can capitalise on the momentum Hull gained from being the UK’s last City of Culture. It noted that Hull City Council was continually looking at ways to strengthen the city and Connexin was counting on municipal support for its plans to diversify the broadband offering for citizens.
“Connectivity has never been so important and at Hull City Council we are always looking at ways to improve services for our residents,” said council leader Darren Hale. “As digital a infrastructure specialist, Connexin is well placed to provide a new network to Hull and surrounding areas, and we wholeheartedly support them to offer choice and to drive forward digital inclusion.”
Connexin recently secured more than £80m in funding from independent infrastructure managers Whitehelm Capital, which is helping to drive the project’s development. Tom Maher, head of business development at Whitehelm, said: “We are invested in Connexin as they are dedicated to building smart programmable communities of the future, and this project solidifies their commitment to the continued development of key digital infrastructure in the UK.
“Connexin’s long and successful track record in providing connectivity services to communities, businesses and municipalities makes them the perfect candidate to invest in this regional network and, in turn, give back to their community.”
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