Hull thinking of doing away with copper telephone lines

The city of Hull is contemplating being the first city in the UK to do away with copper telephone lines, and for a good reason. By the end of 2017, anywhere from 150,000 to 180,000 buildings out of the total 210,000 in the city will be using fibre optics to enjoy access to ultrafast Internet.

Bill Halbert, CEO of KCOM, a local telephone and network provider, believes that this is the right time to consider the decommissioning of telephone lines that use copper wires. Mr Halbert went on to add that most homes in the UK have anywhere from seven to nine devices connected to the Internet, and hence, copper wires are not feasible and only fibre optics can handle this kind of load.

Hull is the sole city in the UK that does not use BT’s network. KCOM has been making significant investments in fibre optics installation over the last five years. If the city decides to decommission copper telephone lines, then it will be following the route taken by several other locations, such as Svalbard in Norway and Channel Island in Jersey. A suburb of Paris, Palaiseau, is also looking to do away with copper telephone lines in 2018.

While Internet users will be happy to get access to fast connectivity, those who use the old network for fax machines and burglar alarms will not be very pleased with this move. However, Hull is a great example of how users are willing to pay for ultrafast Internet even though the city is the third-most economically disadvantaged in the UK.

According to available statistics, nearly half of the businesses in Hull are using KCOM’s fibre optics network, and around a third of the homes are plugged into the same network. Currently, KCOM is installing fibre optics into new buildings, with a belief that future occupants will want ultrafast Internet connectivity.

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