More than 2,000 homes in Stoke-on-Trent now have access to some of the fastest broadband in the UK as part of a major project to upgrade internet speeds across the city.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is working with Swedish firm VX Fiber on the £19 million gigabit broadband programme which will see a new 60-mile full fibre network built in the Potteries.
The network – which is expected to be rolled out across the entire city within three years – will provide internet speeds 30 times faster than superfast broadband, meaning an HD film can be downloaded in around 45 seconds.
And now the new technology is officially live in Weston Coyney. This will be closely followed by Burslem and Bentilee towards the end of the year.
Mikael Sandberg, Chairman of VX Fiber, said: “We’re thrilled to announce LilaConnect going live in Weston Coyney. Construction works on the ground across Stoke-on-Trent is progressing extremely well, and the early signs of interest has exceeded our expectations.
“Access to gigabit connectivity is an integral part of 21st century living. But it’s much more than just streaming video and music or online shopping, it’s also about transforming communities with improvements such as better access to employment, education and healthcare.
“I’d encourage everyone who can, to switch to the new technology and take advantage of the many benefits that full fibre brings.”
Stoke-on-Trent will be one of the first gigabit city trailblazers in the UK.
The city-wide project will provide gigabit connectivity for over 100,000 homes and businesses – enabling world class speeds and improvements in digital technology for thousands of customers at home, on the move or at work.
The network – Stoke-on-Trent Private Optical Network – will be owned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, while VX Fiber will further invest in building the necessary access infrastructure.
LilaConnect, the company’s UK subsidiary, will market, sell, install and maintain the connections to the network.
It is estimated that gigabit connections will create a £625 million boost to the local economy over the next 15 years.
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Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and economy, said: “We’re delighted that more than 2,000 homes in Weston Coyney now have the potential to access some of the fastest broadband anywhere in the country.
“A very fast broadband connection with much more capacity is an essential service for residents and businesses going forward to the future.
“We are privileged that Stoke-on-Trent has been chosen as one of the first cities for the installation of this exciting new full fibre network and is one of those now leading the way nationally. This will future proof our city and transform communities.”
She added: “A faster full fibre network will allow businesses to have more internet capacity which in turn will drive efficiency and attract more employment. For our residents, it will mean faster, better quality and more affordable access to education and healthcare facilities and so more families will be able to benefit.
“The project will provide a huge, long-term boost for our local economy – laying the foundation for future investment, growth and job creation. Many top companies now expect and depend on a fast, reliable broadband connection and these plans will make Stoke-on-Trent an even more attractive base for those major firms.”