Brent Council in North London has enlisted full-fibre broadband supplier Hyperoptic to roll out ultrafast services across its public housing portfolio.
Hyperoptic is already present in the borough, and has around 2,000 private residential, registered providers and business properties hooked up to its broadband network.
Margaret McLennan, deputy leader of Brent Council, said: “As Britain steps into an increasingly digital future, the need for fast broadband has grown rapidly over the past decade.
“I’m thrilled that Brent is leading the way in providing access to high-speed broadband for residents and businesses in agreement with Hyperoptic. We want to offer residents and business better choices when it comes to getting online, and access for those who may otherwise be unable to afford it.
“The council works hard to ensure ease of access for everyone who uses our services, regardless of whether they’re online or not, but we know the vast majority of people are online now.
“That’s why we’re bringing access to a high-speed broadband network to the majority of residents and businesses in the coming years. We believe that, for many, access to the internet isn’t a luxury, but a necessity.”
The new agreement – the latest in a number of similar arrangements Hyperoptic has made with other local authorities – will cover all 14,500 council properties in Brent, but in addition to this, the necessary network build will also cover around 85,500 private homes and business premises.
Hyperoptic will also hook up a number of community centres gratis, and will run digital training workshops for borough residents.
At the end of the roll-out, the council said roughly 80% of all residential properties and 50% of businesses in Brent will be able to access a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband service capable of delivering gigabit download speeds.
This will represent a step change in broadband access for council tenants, home and business owners alike. Up to now, said Hyperoptic, the vast majority of properties have only had access to slower fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) services.
The government’s May 2017 constituency-level data on broadband speeds for Brent Central, Brent North and Hampstead and Kilburn – which also extends into the borough of Camden – are 35.1Mbps, 52.6Mbps and 52.9Mbps respectively.
The data also revealed that in Brent Central, which includes the extremely deprived areas of Harlesden and Stonebridge, as well as network connectivity showcase Wembley Stadium, 25.9% of properties are unable to receive a basic broadband service capable of delivering speeds of more than 10Mbps.
Tim Huxtable, head of public sector and social housing at Hyperoptic, said: “Hyperoptic has been committed to Brent for many years, consequently it is already one of the better connected boroughs in the UK.
“We commend Brent for being such a strong, forward-thinking council and for appreciating the added economic and social benefits to be gained by providing the option of full fibre to both its social and private constituents.
“The service has to be experienced to be believed. The difference in experience is like chalk and cheese – at 29.4Mbps, a 50GB game would take nearly four hours to download, but just seven minutes with our gigabit connection.
“So far over 35% of the borough’s owned social residential sites have registered interest for our services – we look forward to delivering on this demand.”
The roll-out is expected to commence sometime during the last three months of 2018, said Hyperoptic.