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Southwark plans fibre broadband for council estates

20/03/18

Block agreement with Hyperoptic lays ground for connections of up to 1Gbps and includes community halls

Southwark Council has entered into an agreement with broadband provider Hyperoptic to make full fibre connections available across its housing estates and for up to 1,000 commercial properties.

Aylesbury Estate SouthwarkThe London borough, which consumer champion Which? rated as one of the worst 20 places in the UK for broadband speeds, has signed a block agreement with the company to make the connections available over the next year.

It will involve the installation of 40km of cable – on top of the 22km installed to date – to cover 53,000 homes and lead to the network passing by another 46,000 homes and businesses. It already passes 22,000 homes in the borough, accounting for 20% of the total, and the deal will lead to this being increased to 80%.

Councillor Fiona Colley, Cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance at Southwark Council, said: “This new agreement with Hyperoptic will complement other projects we have undertaken around the borough and means we can get improved broadband into more of our council estates, increasing the choice for our tenants and making it easier for Hyperoptic to then extend their service to private properties nearby.

“In addition, Hyperoptic has committed to providing every council owned tenants and residents association hall and community centre with free gigabit capable broadband connections and as we work towards getting everyone in the borough online.”

The company is also going to offer digital inclusion training to staff and residents on the council’s housing estates.

Gigabit potential

Southwark includes a large urban ‘not spot’ for high speed broadband on the Rotherhithe peninsula and its average download speed is just 10.4Mbps. Hyperoptic said the deal will provide potential to raise this towards 1Gbps by installing fibre into buildings.

Its chief executive officer Dana Tobak said: “The role of local government in enabling the future of a full fibre Britain cannot be understated. Wayleaves (consent for a company to install and maintain cabling on private land) are the number one hindrance to urban roll outs.”

This is the latest in a number of local government deals to improve overall availability of broadband within council boundaries. Earlier this month Stoke-on-Trent Council announced a contract with VXFibre to support installations, and in January Milton Keynes revealed a deal with Vodafone and CityFibre to provide fibre-to-premises connections.

In September of last year the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport made £645 million available for local authorities to invest in superfast broadband for homes and businesses not already covered.

Image: Aylesbury Estate, Southwark by Mkimemia, own work, public domain

 

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