Ian Georgeson

CityFibre adds 36 more towns and cities to UK full-fibre network

There’s no stopping infrastructure provider CityFibre in 2020, as it adds yet more locations to its Gigabit City fibre broadband programme in the UK

Once an alternative supplier of fibre broadband, CityFibre has now progressed to be a big league player following a further extension of its full fibre network in the UK, bringing the total number of premises in its reach to five million across 62 towns and cities.

Since the latter end of 2019, the broadband provider has 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 seen the company almost double in size and effectively become the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform.

The latest expansion sees 36 additional locations given access full fibre as part of the company’s £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme, targeting up to eight million premises.

In parallel, CityFibre has also accelerated the mobilisation of its network build capabilities, with a process underway to award £1.5bn in construction contracts by the summer and network build brought forward in the vast majority of these towns and cities by the end of the year.

Among the new locations announced are large cities such as Glasgow, Nottingham and Wolverhampton, as well as smaller towns including Solihull, Crawley and Barnsley.

CityFibre believes that, underpinned by a full-fibre infrastructure platform, these towns and cities will spur economic growth, helping to level up the UK and support the government’s target of nationwide coverage by 2025.

Indeed, the company claims that its roll-out will create more than 5,000 construction jobs across the UK and stimulate local economic growth in the region of £85bn.

In an example of what the network can do, in February 2020 CityFibre announced that it had won a network provision contract with the City of Wolverhampton Council, valued at £4.9m to 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, helping to upgrade the delivery of frontline public sector services, lowering operational costs and boosting productivity.

Commenting on the deployment plans, CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: “Britain’s need for a world-class digital infrastructure has never been greater, which is why we stand firmly behind the government’s plan for nationwide coverage by 2025.

“Full fibre will play a critical role in levelling-up the UK, and so today we are accelerating our plans, bringing full fibre to more towns and cities even faster.”

Tristia Harrison, chief executive of TalkTalk, which is a CityFibre wholesale customer across consumer and business markets, added: “This is great news for TalkTalk customers who live in these towns and cities as they’ll soon benefit from faster, more reliable broadband.

“This announcement is a clear demonstration that new digital infrastructure will only be delivered through a vibrant, competitive market. What’s more, it is another important step in creating the Northern Centre of Excellence for full fibre to level up opportunities for all consumers and businesses in Britain.”

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