Broadband hope for Sheffield centre

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A broadband company has said it will target blocks of flats Sheffield with a superfast service - filling a huge gap following the shutdown of Digital Region.

Hyperoptic says it will join the next round of ‘hyper cities’ which are set to receive a gigabit - 1,000Mbps - service.

The company installs fibre into blocks with a minimum of 50 apartments - and needs at least 10 per cent of residents to sign up.

Once demand is established in a ‘number of developments’ it contacts the building management team and says in most cases installation is free.

The news could come as a relief to residents in Sheffield city centre who have no access to fibre-optic broadband following the demise of the council-owned Digital Region network. It was shut down and sold off at a cost to the taxpayer of more than £100m after it was a commercial flop.

Commercial operators avoided the centre because of it - and a new state-funded project does not cover the central exchange either.

But a spokeswoman for Hyperoptic said there was fibre “everywhere” underground and their services would connect direclty into buildings.

Hyperoptic has 75,000 customers in flats across 480 sites in the UK.

Joining Sheffield will be Nottingham, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.

Managing director Dana Tobak, said: “Our mission is to provide a true fibre infrastructure. With symmetrical gigabit speeds, you can be guaranteed you can enjoy the best of what the internet has to offer.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Government is fully aware of the tremendous contribution that companies such as Hyperoptic are making to the UK’s Internet industry. “Cutting-edge technology is the foundation for growth and innovation.”