Businesses in York’s oldest shopping street join high-speed digital age

Businesses along The Shambles and King’s Court in York can now receive internet speeds of up to 1000Mbps as a result of newly-installed fibre optic cabling, funded through the government’s Gigabit Voucher Scheme.

As one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe, The Shambles presented unique challenges in installing the fibre in this historic area of the city had to take into account the protection of the collection of listed buildings.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of City of York Council and Executive Member for Transport, said: “Internet connectivity is not a luxury but a necessity to many of the residents and businesses in our city. This is why we are keen to work with providers and funders to give York’s businesses the best connectivity possible and allow them to experience the full benefit of living and working in the UK’s first Gigabit City.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “Many are attracted to York for its history and culture however, our digital infrastructure is supporting our residents and businesses with future-ready connectivity to be productive and innovative in the 21st century.

We’re pleased to see the historic Shambles and Kings Court benefiting from our city’s connectivity and the success of another innovative approach to advancing York’s digital infrastructure.”

Just over £100,000 funding from Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had been secured through the Gigabit Voucher Scheme to fund the installation costs, thus no cost to the individual businesses for the initial installation.

Matt Warman, Minister for Digital and Broadband said:“We’re committed to future-proofing our communities and boosting the economy by delivering world-class, gigabit-capable broadband to the whole of the UK.

“Nowhere is our ambition more clear than on the Shambles, where I’m very pleased that our £67m Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme is providing York’s oldest street with the very fastest fibre connectivity around.”

Working in partnership with the DCMS, contractor FACTCO and installer EuroComs; City of York Council have brought cost effective and fit for purpose fibre connectivity to over 40 businesses in the city centre location.

Installation methods crucially avoided the disturbance of the brick work, beams and historical features of the area.

All of the previously used copper element was removed to make way for a new 1000Mb private leased line which served as a ‘full fibre’ back bone through the buildings. The line was installed first into Kings Court and then extended onto The Shambles, via the overhead gantry, offering businesses along the street a ‘direct fibre connection’.

Work was carried out through the night over a four-week period to minimise disruption around this highly popular tourist site.

This approach will be replicated to other areas of the city centre that are harder to reach and those which ordinarily don’t attract investment as part of larger works, due to lack of market density.

Lee Murphy, Managing Director at FACTCO, said: “It’s been great to be involved in a project that merges new technology with an area that has such history. The Shambles is a beautiful location and equally a great location for businesses. However, slow internet speeds in this city centre location were becoming a strain on business productivity and forcing some to consider relocation. We have enjoyed working together with City of York council and the Digital York team, to deliver greater connectivity and pioneer an innovative approach to fibre installation along these historic streets.”