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City of Wolverhampton Council taps CityFibre to deliver full-fibre connectivity

Wolverhampton embarks on project to build what is claimed to be “future-proof” full-fibre connectivity that will underpin the city’s next phase of technological transformation

CityFibre, which now regards itself as the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, has been awarded a 20-year contract by the City of Wolverhampton Council to provide a full-fibre network solution that connects public sector estate, including schools, libraries and offices.

The broadband provider has since the latter end of 2019 embarked on aggressive plans to roll fibre out across the UK and saw itself as the leading independent supplier of fibre networks after BT and Virgin Media. However, its recent acquisition of FibreNation from UK internet service provider (ISP) TalkTalk Group has placed it in the big league, seeing the company almost double in size

In this latest network provision contract with the City of Wolverhampton Council, valued at £4.9m, the company will provide gigabit connectivity in the Wolverhampton the region.

CityFibre will design, build, operate and own the network, providing Wolverhampton with what it claims will be “future-proof” full-fibre connectivity that will underpin the city’s next phase of technological transformation. Taking in 170 sites, the new network will see use in helping to upgrade the delivery of frontline public sector services, lowering operational costs and boosting productivity. It will also attempt to help meet the growing demand from residents for digital services, support the improvement of educational resources and bridge the digital divide.

The project is being made possible through the UK’s Department of Culture Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge Fund, which provides local bodies with an opportunity to develop gigabit-capable connectivity to boost local economies.

It’s also anticipated the project will support the delivery of IoT initiatives such as urban traffic control, which will help to reduce emissions across the city. Local organisations such as the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership will also stand to benefit from members gaining access to world-class connectivity.

“Wolverhampton’s Vision for Education 2030 Commercial and Digital Transformation theme supports the development of digitally innovative and future-proofed learning environments and curriculums that ensure that our learners leave school as some of the most technologically capable young people in the country,” said Cabinet Member for Resources, Councillor Louise Miles, commenting on the new network. “Better connectivity in public buildings is essential to ensure residents are digitally included. Our libraries are committed to giving people access to new and emerging digital technology through the provision of computers, free Wi-Fi and other digital technologies and developing digital skills.”

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Added CityFibre chief commercial officer Rob Hamlin: “Increasingly local authorities around the country are realising the potential of full fibre to transform places like Wolverhampton into modern, fully connected, digital cities. By choosing a full-fibre network, local authorities will be able future proof vital public sector infrastructure for generations to come.”

Work will begin in March 2020, and will be delivered on CityFibre’s behalf by local telecoms infrastructure partner, Connex 2000. In the build-out, the construction company will work closely with CityFibre, City of Wolverhampton Council, and local communities, to manage disruption and ensure what the partners believe will be a fast and successful roll-out.

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