Hyperoptic 1Gb broadband on its way to Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds

Frighteningly fast fibre optic broadband provider expands its network out of London, taking speeds over 50 times the UK average to new ‘hyper-cities’ in the north...

Forget superfast. If you live in Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds, you could soon be enjoying ultrafast fibre optic broadband 5,000% faster than the current national average.

Hyperoptic, Britain's first major fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband provider, will soon make its eye-popping internet speeds, of up to 1Gb, more than 55 times the UK's 17.8Mb average, available in three new 'hyper-cities' up north.

Managing director Dana Tobak said: "We're committed to providing UK consumers, left lagging in the slow lane, with a real broadband alternative that's the best in the market today - both in terms of speed and online experience.

"We're building the 'consumer's choice' broadband company, a trusted utility that our customer can and do depend upon. You get what you pay for. All the time. Full stop."

Today's news is part of Hyperoptic's masterplan to extend its fibre optic broadband network to a total of 10 cities by the end of this year. In February, it announced its ultrafast speeds would soon reach across to Reading, Bristol and Cardiff.

Wondering why Hyperoptic's so much faster than what most of us are used to? Well, there's quite a straightforward explanation. It's a bit long-winded, but here goes…

Hyperoptic's FTTP broadband connects premises directly to a fibre optic network using super high-quality fibre optic cables, which don't allow speed to be lost along the way. It means the advertised 'up to' 1Gb speed is pretty much exactly what you get.

By comparison, providers like BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk use less sophisticated and cheaper methods of connecting their customers, which results in some loss of speed. They typically use a hybrid 'blend' of fibre optic and other less costly cabling.

BT Infinity and Sky Fibre are delivered using fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC), the cabinet being a green box on your street. Your house is then connected to the green box with copper telephone wire, meaning top speeds of up to 38Mb or 76Mb depending on your package.

Virgin Media uses a similar technique, but instead connects homes to the street cabinet with coaxial cable, which carry data quicker. Virgin Media's current top speed is 152Mb.

The point is, just like Dana Tobak says, you'll be getting what you pay for with Hyperoptic. The top 1Gb packages cost a lot more than the likes of BT Infinity. And it's only available in large office buildings and high-rise flats at the moment.

While speeds may be slower from the mainstream providers - still superfast, though remember - it's more likely you live in an area that can benefit from fibre à la BT, Sky or Virgin. Fibre 'hybrid' services are cheaper to provide and so are offered more widely.

As Hyperoptic's network grows, there's a good chance prices will come down - throwing a giant cat among the pigeons for the UK's hybrid fibre providers. Until then, Hyperoptic's a premium option for the lucky few who live in buildings where it's installed.

For most of the rest of us, it's FTTC all the way. More than two-thirds of the country can already get superfast broadband via BT's network and many more can get Virgin Media.

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