Public Services > Local Government

Stoke-on-Trent launches Gigabit full fibre broadband connectivity

David Bicknell Published 14 March 2018

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has partnered with Swedish provider VXFIBER to use its Open Access platform and boost broadband connectivity for residents and businesses


Swedish fibre networking provider VXFIBER has partnered with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to enable the city to roll out Gigabit full fibre connectivity to residents and businesses.

The two organisations are partnering on an initial project in the city’s Enterprise Zone ahead of the rollout of a full city-wide fibre network which the city council sees as a key part of Stoke-on-Trent’s move towards becoming a smart, sustainable ‘Gigabit city’ provider of Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) Open Access solutions.

The council and VXFIBER believe installing a new all-fibre network using the VXFIBER Open Access platform will bring improved Gigabit broadband connectivity to businesses and residents in the city and surrounding areas.

As part of an initial project, Stoke-on-Trent City Council plans to extend full-fibre Gigabit connectivity to the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, one of 26 Enterprise Zones across the UK.

Ceramic Valley is a 140 hectare site with excellent road and rail connectivity in a strategic central location with access to the whole UK. The enterprise zone is transforming brownfield land into sites tailor-made for businesses to locate to and has so far attracted more than 1,000 jobs.

“Stoke-on-Trent has a brilliant central geographic location, which is boosting its economic growth beyond what much of the rest of the UK is experiencing at the moment. We’re in the top ten fastest growing economies outside of London, we already have some of the fastest average 4G mobile download speeds in the country, and are developing an innovative district heat network to supply sustainable energy to business and residents,” said councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

“We’re serious about becoming a sustainable, smart city. However, the traditional part copper based broadband offering currently available simply isn’t good enough to keep pace with the fast-changing connectivity demands of today’s increasingly digital society and economy,” he added.

“Full fibre Gigabit connectivity addresses these needs and is the cornerstone of our vision for the future growth and prosperity of our city and its residents and businesses. VXFIBER is playing a significant role in realising this vision in a way that’s practical, affordable and flexible, to adapt and grow alongside our city and its connectivity needs.”

Under the scheme, Stoke-on-Trent City Council will retain complete ownership of the city ring fibre network: it already owns the main ducts across the city and will utilise these to connect all parts of the city. VXFIBER will supply the platform for operators and service providers to build and launch their own services to run over the network.

It is claimed the VXFIBER platform will enable the council to “monetise its infrastructure” and receive a return on its investment in a completely open access ecosystem where all service providers are welcome to deliver their services. It is also expected to deliver better value and reduced service delivery costs for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which is in line with its aim to support disadvantaged citizens with affordable broadband access.

VX FIBER also argues its open access platform will also encourage healthy competition among service providers whilst giving users wider choice. It will provide a level playing field for operators and service providers of all sizes - including smaller, independent regional players – to host their services on and compete on features and price.

“Stoke-on-Trent is a forward-looking city that understands the essential role of high speed broadband access to businesses and individuals, and the positive social and economic impact it can have on a community,” said VXFIBER executive chairman Mikael Sandberg. “Our work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council provides a template for other UK local authorities and regional governments to follow. By investing in and installing Gigabit-speed fibre themselves, local authorities and councils can take charge of their community’s “digital destiny”, without having to rely on third party telecom operators or ISPs.”



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