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Vodafone CityFibre broadband venture gathers pace

Residents of four more cities – Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield and Stirling – will be hooked up to the ultrafast full-fibre broadband service in the coming months

Broadband suppliers Vodafone and CityFibre are expanding their fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) – or full-fibre – broadband service into four more cities in England and Scotland – Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield and Stirling.

The ultrafast service is already being rolled out in Aberdeen, Milton Keynes and Peterborough after the two firms signed an agreement last year giving Vodafone exclusive rights to run consumer broadband services across CityFibre’s rapidly growing network through to 2021 at the earliest. Up to that point, CityFibre’s network had been open only to business and public sector customers.

“I’m delighted to welcome everyone living in Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield and Stirling to the full-fibre club, with a broadband service like no other,” said Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery. “After five months, we are well on track with the joint Gigafast broadband programme that will help position the UK as a world-leading digital centre.”

The partners are now ramping up the scheme – bringing CityFibre’s committed infrastructure investment up to £315m – to target at least a million homes and small businesses. They are working in lock-step with local authorities to co-ordinate and plan the building process, which in each case will see existing CityFibre networks beefed up to provide a platform for widespread roll-out.

“Behind each city project announced today lie concrete plans, advanced network designs, and the resources to mobilise construction,” said CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch.

“We also have a significant head-start, harnessing our existing, extensive duct infrastructure that is tailor-made for city-wide FTTP expansion.”

Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “An investment of this size shows great confidence in the city and having a reliable, gigabit broadband service will be another way to attract and retain businesses to Coventry.

“With the growing importance and reliance on digital technology, the opportunity of having the benefits of full fibre will soon be available to everyone who lives and works in our city.”

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West Midlands mayor Andy Street added: “Fast internet is vital for a modern economy. Businesses need to communicate quickly and share data around the world. But in the West Midlands, we have a mixed picture, with some of the fastest speeds and some of the slowest.

“I made working with the private sector to drive up broadband speeds a priority and am really pleased that Coventry is to become the focus of the next Vodafone and CityFibre roll-out.”

Fergus Ewing, the Scottish government’s cabinet secretary for the rural economy and connectivity, said the expansion was a clear signal that Holyrood’s R100 (Reaching 100%) broadband scheme was working as intended, and a vote of confidence in Scotland’s digital economy.

Stirling council leader Scott Farmer added: “This project will be a watershed moment for homes across the city. Fast and reliable access to the internet is a cornerstone of everyday life for business and personal use and the roll-out of these plans will help equip Stirling for today and the future.

“This project underpins Stirling’s ambition to have world-class connectivity and is just one of the many ways Stirling Council is transforming the area to make sure it is a place where everyone can thrive.”

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