Three cities in the north of England could soon be enjoying Internet speeds up to an average of 5,500% faster than most of the country, thanks to new networks being installed by Hyperoptic.
The London-based provider has revealed that Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds will be its latest "hyper-cities", receiving what it alleges will be the UK's fastest broadband speeds, following previous installations in London, Cardiff, Reading and Bristol.
Hyperoptic said that its full-fibre broadband service is able to provide faster speeds than other operators by utilising fibre all the way to the connected building, known as fibre to the premises (FTTP) connections.
This is opposed to fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) networks used by many other carriers, in which data is transferred to a nearby cabinet before then being relayed into the home or building by the traditional copper cables, which often results in unreliable download speeds or slow-downs at peak times.
Hyperoptic says its networks will enable "hyperfast downloads and uploads", regardless of the time of day or the number of devices connected, and will work in partnership with building owners and managers to fit new flat developments with the service once enough residents have registered their interest.
The current UK average speed is 17.6Mbps, the company says, meaning that its 1Gbps speeds are 5,500% faster, meaning HD quality films could be downloaded in less than a minute. The service does not come cheap, however, with the 1Gbps service costing £50/month.
Dana Tobak, MD at Hyperoptic, said: "We are committed to providing UK consumers, left lagging in the slow-lane, with a real broadband alternative that is the best in the market today in both terms of speed and online experience.
"We are building the consumers-choice broadband company, a trusted utility that our customers can and do depend upon."
Elsewhere in the North, the cities Newcastle and Gateshead have revealed they will be installing free-to-use Wi-Fi hotspots throughout public areas. The hotspots, which will be filly installed by the start of 2015, will be provided by US company GOWEX, which has already carried out similar installations in cities including San Francisco, New York, Miami, Dubai and Paris.
Residents and visitors registering with GOWEX for the service will be able to connect to free Wi-Fi on both sides of the river, at any time of the day or night.
Fast and reliable fibre broadband connections are a crucial focus area for businesses over the next few years, with Communications Minister Ed Vaizey saying yesterday that such networks are "essential to modern business life".
The government is aiming to ensure 99% of UK homes and businesses have access to super-fast broadband by 2018.