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CityFibre consumer broadband collaboration hits Peterborough

CityFibre is returning to one of its earliest Gigabit City projects with Vodafone in tow to upgrade thousands of homes in Peterborough to gigabit-capable full-fibre broadband

Full-fibre broadband network builder CityFibre is returning to Peterborough in Cambridgeshire – one of the first cities it ever addressed under its Gigabit City programme – to enable its internet service provider (ISP) partner Vodafone to launch residential fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services in the city.

Until recently, only ISPs serving business and public sector customers were let loose on CityFibre’s networks, but this changed in November 2017 when it signed an exclusive deal to let Vodafone use its infrastructure to supply ultrafast consumer services.

Since then, it has announced that services will be launching in Milton Keynes and Aberdeen later in 2018, as part of a plan to deliver full-fibre services to 12 cities and a million homes by 2021.

“We welcome CityFibre and Vodafone’s decision to choose Peterborough as one of the first cities in their FTTP roll-out. Peterborough City Council has worked closely with CityFibre for years to develop and expand the reach of their full fibre network,” said Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich.

“It has become a platform for our Smart City initiatives, and helps us to attract businesses and develop our emerging tech sector. With this extension of the project, the full benefits will soon be felt by everyone who lives and works in the city,” he added.

The existing Gigabit City Peterborough network is well in use, with most schools, council offices and Peterborough City Hospital already hooked up.

More recently, the council connected high-definition CCTV and traffic management cameras to the network. Additionally, hundreds of businesses have also signed up through business-to-business (B2B) ISP arrangements.

CityFibre will fork out £30m to extend its existing fibre network to almost every property in the city, starting in May this year. It said a city-wide fibre roll-out could unlock £700m in gross value add (GVA) for the local economy between now and 2033 – based on 2014 Fibre to the Home Council figures that suggest full-fibre could add 1.1% to UK GDP if rolled out to just 50% of premises.

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A report from consultancy Regeneris suggested this benefit could come in a number of areas, including £55m through growth in productivity, innovation and access to new markets; £25m from new startups, £45m from improved property values; £293m from benefits associated with enabling 5G mobile networks; £106m associated with the internet of things (IoT) and industry 4.0 projects; and a further £54m from wider smart city enablement.

“Peterborough is the perfect demonstration of the benefits a third competitive digital infrastructure brings the UK market. Our network has delivered superior services, at a lower cost than BT Openreach,” said CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch.

“It has fuelled economic growth, innovation and inward investment and paved the way for us to bring full-fibre to the entire city. Lessening dependence on BT Openreach and Virgin is not only good for Peterborough, its residents and businesses, it is critical for the UK as a whole.”

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