Ian Georgeson

Zen to offer gigabit broadband over CityFibre networks

Zen Internet becomes former altnet’s third national consumer ISP to offer full-fibre services to consumers with gigabit-speed consumer broadband products

Zen Internet, which claims to be the UK’s largest independently owned telecommunications and technology service provider, is to join CityFibre in expanding national open access networks to bring full-fibre broadband services to homes and businesses across the country.

This has been a key year for CityFibre, establishing itself as the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform. It is currently engaged in an up-to-£4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme and just two weeks ago announced a £1.5bn infrastructure investment, awarding construction contracts for full-fibre deployment across 27 towns and cities across the country. This is part of the company’s previously announced recruitment and training programme, through which it plans to create up to 10,000 network construction jobs over the next three years to support its national broadband roll-out.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, CityFibre was riding the wave of the long-overdue but rapid expansion of the UK’s full-fibre network. Its acquisition of FibreNation from UK internet service provider (ISP) TalkTalk Group saw the company almost double in size and effectively establish its current infrastructure platform market status.

Zen will be the latest consumer ISP to join the CityFibre network and says that by being part of the full-fibre network, it will be among those offering the fastest broadband services available to any home in the UK, providing customers with 1Gbps of bandwidth when downloading and uploading. It describes its services as being able to transform customers’ digital capabilities, providing sufficient bandwidth to unlock the full potential of every smart device in the home and providing a solid platform for smart home applications of the future.

The first locations set to have access to 1Gbps services will be Newcastle upon Tyne and Worthing, West Sussex, where the first customers are expected to go live in January. Ipswich and Leicester will be launched later in 2021, with further locations to be announced in due course.

Alongside the delivery of home broadband services, CityFibre and Zen will work together to develop what they call an extensive wholesale business service across CityFibre’s national network footprint.

“Full fibre is set to be the backbone of the UK’s connectivity for years to come, so we’re excited to be able to offer a market-leading gigabit-speed service to tens of thousands of new broadband customers over CityFibre’s network,” said Zen Internet chief executive officer Paul Stobart. “More urgently, UK consumers need a service provider they can trust that offers a reliable and customer-first approach.

“We are eager to show what we can do for customers in these initial cities in a world where households are more dependent than ever before on broadband that connects them to the outside world – including school, work, family and friends. We look forward to further expansion as the partnership develops.”

CityFibre chief executive officer Greg Mesch added: “We are delighted to welcome Zen onto our networks, and to support their exciting gigabit-speed home broadband service. Their strong reputation and award-winning services make them a perfect partner and we look forward to helping even more homes and businesses to take advantage of the huge benefits that full fibre has to offer.

“With build or mobilisation already under way across 67 towns and cities, and plans to reach up to eight million premises, CityFibre is fast creating a nationwide world-class wholesale full-fibre platform for our current and future customers. In doing so, we are also playing our part in providing the UK with the digital infrastructure needed to support its economic recovery and long-term success.”

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