Hyperoptic extends 1Gbit/sec broadband beyond London

British broadband startup Hyperoptic will extend its 1Gbit/sec broadband to residences in ten cities beyond London before the end of the year.

Hyperoptic extends 1Gbit/sec broadband beyond London

Hyperoptic – set up by the founders of BE – has so far only offered its superfast broadband service in selected areas of London, in what it describes as “multi-dwelling units”, such as large blocks of flats.

But £50 million in new funding from financier George Soros means the startup will bring its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) offering to the UK’s biggest cities in the coming months, including Manchester and Birmingham.

Hyperoptic provides end-to-end fibre broadband, delivering much faster speeds than fibre-to-the-cabinet offerings, which go to the street telecoms cabinet before slower copper cables take the connection into residences. Less than 0.01% of UK homes have direct fibre connections, according to the Fibre to the Home Council Europe, but replacing copper cables is a costly exercise for incumbents. BT recently shelved its promise to provide FTTP connections to 25% of its fibre customers, claiming instead that FTTC connections were fast enough.

Now Hyperoptic hopes to offer 1Gbit/sec connections to more than half a million homes within the next five years. The firm has already connected 20,000 London residences in the past two years – though some of those have plumped for Hyperoptic’s cheaper 100Mbits/sec or 20Mbits/sec offerings.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean a homeowner in Manchester can necessarily demand 1Gbit/sec broadband just yet. Co-founder and chairman Boris Ivanovic said that superfast connections would still only be available in blocks of more than 100 flats, but that could be reduced to 50 by the end of the year and, eventually, smaller residential blocks.

“In time, all the cost components of our business are coming down, which lets us increase our efficiency,” he told PC Pro. “That will permit us to target smaller properties. As cost reductions continue, we could go as low as 20 flats. It’s difficult to predict what will happen in four years’ time, but by maybe we can go to smaller properties.”

Hyperoptic installs its network on a building-by-building basis, signing contracts with building managers depending on residents’ interest. If the firm has already signed a contract with your building, installation can take a matter of weeks. But negotiating a contract for a building from scratch can take months, the firm has previously admitted. Installation costs vary depending on the building, but can be up to £40 per residence.

Ivanovic said that Hyperoptic wouldn’t offer rural broadband any time soon, focusing instead on more profitable, high-density areas. He added that the firm will also use its new funding to target businesses, schools and even social housing.

Hyperoptic offers superfast lines for £50 a month, but also sells 100Mbits/sec and 20Mbits/sec services for £25 and £12.50 respectively.

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