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Is Digital York progress down to CityFibre or the Openreach roll-outs?
Tuesday 14 January 2014 12:07:31 by Andrew Ferguson

York is in interesting case study, as it is part of the CityFibre Gigabit City revolution, but reading the coverage of what is being offered raises more questions than answers.

The use of full fibre connectivity for business has been around for a good many years, both from Openreach, Virgin Media and others, the difference that CityFibre appears to be bringing is that by signing strategic partnerships with city councils they gain an anchor tenant and possibly a more welcoming approach from those granting road work permits. CityFibre does have a map allowing businesses to see how close they are to the fibre network, and the first business was connected to the network back in 2013.

Push forward into 2014, and there is now the prospect for CityFibre to do well via the super connected city voucher scheme for which York was one of the second round cities. Though the rules around the scheme mean that the vouchers should be available to various networks, not just the one chosen by the council running the scheme.

The reason we have bothered with a news item is to cover the various statistics on super fast broadband availability and take-up. The leader of York council, Councillor James Alexander talks about the CORE project and follows up with take-up data for super fast broadband and to the best of our knowledge CityFibre are not offering anything to residents in York, so this increased take-up for superfast services will be almost totally from the free speed upgrades from Virgin Media and increased take-up and availability of Openreach FTTC services. In the quote below 'had access to super fast broadband' means take-up and 'opportunity to access superfast broadband' means availability/premises passed.

"The CORE project has been going well since its launch. In 2012, only 5.7 per cent of premises in York had access to super fast broadband, that was against the UK average of 7.3 per cent.

Now we have 17 per cent, and have actually overtaken the national average which is 16 per cent.

The other indicator we are doing well on is premises with the opportunity to access superfast broadband. In 2012 that was 70.5 per cent ,which was higher than the UK average of 65 per cent. Since then the UK average has gone up to 73 per cent but the York figure has risen too, to 78.1 per cent.

Progress has been made in terms of connecting businesses to the CORE, but we want to see an even better environment, and we want to see more household connectors.

In 2013 we were behind the national average for households connected to superfast broadband.

Having access to superfast broadband is hugely important. Connectivity is important in terms of having a global economy, as many of our businesses are trading internationally. Superfast broadband is a utility that businesses need, like water or electricity. We need to do everything we can to make sure there is access to Superfast broadband."

Councillor James Alexander, leader of York council

What we do know is that a business in York looking for a business grade connection that is more than just a simple conduit for email. What is clear though is that if York really wants to hold the crown of Digital Infrastructure Capital of the North that it will need to ensure that business owners can work just as well from their home as they can when in the office on a business park. Currently it is not clear how the CORE project is helping meet this goal.


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