Broadband News

Stoke-on-Trent Council in push for Gigabit broadband in the city

The 140 hectares across seven different sites that comprise the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone in Stoke-on-Trent where it is hoped some 9,000 new jobs will be created is to see VXFIBER build an open access full network across the park to ensure firms have the best connectivity possible as the brownfield sites are converted to modern business locations.

The Council already has a duct network across the city and VXFIBER will take on the job of lighting up the fibre and deploying its open access platform that is designed to make it easy for local providers and alt-nets to join and add their service elements including but not limited to full Internet connectivity. The city ring fibre network will be owned by the Council but with VXFIBER sitting on top to provide service access.

Stoke-on-Trent has a brilliant central geographic location, which is boosting its economic growth beyond what much of the rest of the UK is experiencing at the moment. We’re in the top ten fastest growing economies outside of London, we already have some of the fastest average 4G mobile download speeds in the country, and are developing an innovative district heat network to supply sustainable energy to business and residents. We’re serious about becoming a sustainable, smart city. However, the traditional part copper based broadband offering currently available simply isn’t good enough to keep pace with the fast-changing connectivity demands of today’s increasingly digital society and economy.

Councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council

The initial win for the council is that they will be able to monetise assets while also improving its own connectivity and potentially delivering more connectivity for less money.

VXFIBER only launched in the UK a month ago but are better known for their open access Fibre to the Home solutions in Sweden and while no timescales are given for a roll-out to residential and other areas of the city it seems clear the hope is expansion will happen and apparently the open access model extends to how investors can help, with housing developers and residents associations likely to be key drives in investing to extend the ring to branch out across the city.

Stoke-on-Trent is a forward-looking city that understands the essential role of high speed broadband access to businesses and individuals, and the positive social and economic impact it can have on a community. Our work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council provides a template for other UK local authorities and regional governments to follow. By investing in and installing Gigabit-speed fibre themselves, local authorities and councils can take charge of their community’s “digital destiny”, without having to rely on third party telecom operators or ISPs.

Councils can reap the economic and social benefits of full fibre Gigabit connectivity in a way that’s affordable and future-proof. Furthermore, the fibre they invest in is a valuable asset that will deliver ongoing revenue and ROI.

VXFIBER Executive Chairman Mikael Sandberg

As a city Stoke-on-Trent is already well past the UK average superfast coverage level and with three quarters of premises with the option of Virgin Media and their hybrid fibre coax network lots of people are not just limited to superfast speeds in the 30 to 76 Mbps region but can already order 200 or 300 Mbps. What the city does lack is lots of full fibre and this VXFIBER platform may start to address that, the question will be how fast will be expand beyond the initial aim.


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