Got broadband? Well yes, of course you have. However, unless you’re at work it’s probably delivered over copper cabling at some point.
Here in the UK though, there’s one city where things are very different.
Welcome to Hull.
In Hull there’s no BT landlines. Back in 1902 the council there were given a licence to operate a telephone system and a couple of years later they opened the first exchange. Around the rest of the UK, the Post Office handled phones. This later switched to British Telecom (BT) but in Hull continued to be the only place in the UK not served by BT.
Around the UK, BT took the decision to deliver their new broadband network via “FTTC” – Fibre To The Cabinet. This is why you’re seeing lots of green boxes in footpaths. The fibre-optic cables from your local exchange go to them, then your standard copper cabling goes from there to your home. It effectively shortens the distance to the exchange and gives you faster internet. Likewise, Virgin do something similar but they’re able to deliver even faster speeds because they use thicker coax instead.
However, Hull decided to go full fibre – all the way to homes. No copper. FTTP – Fibre To The Premises.
This decision is crazy expensive – some £85m to deploy the entire network. If BT did that in an effort to meet new speed goals, it would cost over £17bn. The few “full fibre” connections that BT have means that new super, super-fast connections aren’t being connected that often.
However, in Hull it’s different. They’ve lagged behind in the speed charts for a long time due to the amount of work involved in deploying the full fibre network. It took 7 years to complete. Now though, average speeds are 94.7Mbps. If Hull was a country, they’d be the fastest in the world. The benefits are now being felt and anyone in the area taking the service can enjoy incredibly high speeds.