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Stoke-on-Trent to Deploy 1Gbps Broadband to Homes and Businesses

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 (10:20 am) - Score 1,842
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The central England city of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire UK has today announced a new deal with Swedish FTTH provider VXFIBER, which pledges to roll-out an “open access” and Gigabit capable “full fibre” (FTTP/H) broadband network to cover both “residents and businesses.”

Apparently the operator’s “initial project” will focus on bringing their 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, which is a 140 hectare site used by local businesses (around 1,000 people work in the area).

Under this scheme the local council will retain “complete ownership of the city ring fibre network,” indeed it already owns the main ducts across the city and will utilise these to “connect all parts of the city“. VXFIBER will then “light up” the fibre and supply the platform for ISPs to build and launch their own services to run over the network.

VXFIBER said their platform would thus “enable the Council to monetise its infrastructure and receive a return on its investment in a completely open access ecosystem where all service providers are welcome to deliver their services.”

Abi Brown, Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:

“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.

Full fibre Gigabit connectivity addresses these needs and is the cornerstone of our vision for the future growth and prosperity of our city and its residents and businesses. VXFIBER is playing a significant role in realising this vision in a way that’s practical, affordable and flexible, to adapt and grow alongside our city and its connectivity needs.”

Mikael Sandberg, VXFIBER Executive Chairman, added:

“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.”

The announcement is excellent news for the city, although sadly there was no information about the expected roll-out plan or timescale beyond the initial deployment to the local Enterprise Zone. Likewise there is no mention of the cost or if any ISP partners have agreed to offer the service, although such things usually come a bit further down the road.

Overall this sounds a lot like the same sort of anchor tenant style approach as we’ve seen Cityfibre take in other parts of the United Kingdom. Just like those we’d urge caution with respect to the claims about covering local homes, until something more solid is confirmed.

Cityfibre has been talking about bringing 1Gbps FTTH to their cities for many years but, ignoring the legacy network in Bournemouth, they’ve only fairly recently actually begun to do this on any kind of scale in the city of York (alongside TalkTalk and Sky Broadband) and are now about to do something much more significant with the help of Vodafone.

Suffice to say that at present this announcement seems to be more of an aspirational one. Likewise the city is already well covered by Virgin Media’s 350Mbps cable network and Openreach’s (BT) slow 80Mbps capable hybrid fibre (FTTC), which could make it harder to deploy toward local homes.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar Matthew Williams

    Interesting to hear that stoke on Trent has some sort of plan rare people hear about that city

  2. Avatar Alex

    I’d like them to install a working phone system with voicemail at the council offices first. That would be a better start 😉

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