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Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
Hull looks to digital future
Hull Town Hall
The council wants interactive services available to all
Kingston-upon-Hull, UK, is aiming to become the world's first digital city with a new range of interactive services for residents.


The dream is for everybody in the city to have access

Pat Doyle, council leader
Several hundred families will be hooking up to the city's interactive TV system over the next few weeks, in an initiative launched by the city council.

The system should allow subscribers to access a wide range of local information and services online, from shopping to public services and personal learning.

The city council has ambitions to be World Information Age City by 2005, rivalling Seattle and Boston.

Company interest

The regeneration of Hull and the Humber - dubbed by some the silicon estuary - has already begun.

The Humber Bridge
The Humber has been dubbed the "silicon estuary"
The city council is the main shareholder of Hull's former municipal telephone company, which has been researching and developing Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) technology.

The system enables high-speed data including television channels to be transmitted over existing networks, bypassing the need for PCs, modems, satellite dishes or digital decoders.

Big companies, including Sony and Ericsson, are said to be interested in the technology.

Government plan

Local resident Simon Hopkins already gets digital TV, internet, e-mail, shopping services and information on what's new locally. He said: "It's good. We never had Sky (satellite) before so it is a new experience for us all."

Eventually, school children will be able to access their homework through the local network, while homeowners will be able to check information such as the progress of planning applications.

Council leader Pat Doyle said: "The dream is for everybody in the city to have access, not only to the internet but into programmes which we, as a city council, and all the other agencies provide.

"If we do that, then we have taken this council and all councils light years down the track which the government wants us to pursue."

Kingston Communications is now seeking to get access to the telephone exchanges operated by British Telecom, so the city can launch a low-cost, high-speed internet service.

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The BBC's Libby Fawbert
"High-speed data...can be transmitted over existing networks"
See also:

10 Apr 00 | Business
10 Apr 00 | Business
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