Community Fibre, City Fibre ramp up UK gigabit roll-out

Altnets further expand the reach of UK gigabit broadband networks with deployments in London and Ipswich

Community Fibre and City Fibre have announced new fibre deployments in London’s East End and Ipswich, respectively.

Community Fibre has signed a wayleave agreement with social landlord EastendHomes in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, to supply 4,000 residents with better broadband and bring free Gigafast broadband to six community centres in the densely populated East London borough.

EastendHomes is an award-winning, community-led social housing provider based in Tower Hamlets. It manages about 4,000 homes across five estates. Alongside good quality housing, its stated mission is to provide a wide range of services for residents of all ages through its community centres and partnerships.

Through the partnership, Community Fibre will bring its 100% full-fibre broadband network to 4,000 EastendHomes residents, offering reliable, high-speed internet connectivity up to 1Gbps or 3Gbps, depending on the area. The internet service provider (ISP) will work with the social landlord over the next year to upgrade the building management systems – including door entry, CCTV and lift monitoring – to 100% full-fibre to increase energy efficiency and security of the buildings.

Also, six of EastendHomes’ community centres across Tower Hamlets will be provided with Community Fibre’s Gigafast connection for free, enabling local communities to enjoy quality internet throughout the day, and access critical services online. This initiative follows a pilot roll-out that started at Wager and Royston Street onto Bede Estate in March, expanding to Holland Estate in April. 

“Digital inclusion is at the heart of EastendHomes’ partnership with Community Fibre and a belief that access to affordable reliable broadband is fundamental in 2021,” said John Henderson, managing director at EastendHomes. “Our agreement will ensure all our buildings are providing high-speed, full-fibre broadband to keep our residents connected and support them with their everyday needs. Free Wi-Fi at each one of our community centres also means there is always a friendly place for our residents to go online.”

Meanwhile, 80 miles north-east up the A12, CityFibre has begun rolling out fibre networks to a new area of Ipswich, which is one of a growing number of locations in the UK to benefit from CityFibre’s £4bn Gigabit City investment programme. Work on the £30m project began in early 2020 and CityFibre is now bringing its network to the south-west of Suffolk’s county town.

Digging started in Ipswich’s Gainsborough and Greenwich areas and then moved into Nacton. The overall project is expected to be mostly completed by the end of 2022. As work is completed in each neighbourhood, ISPs will “light up the network”, it said. Air Broadband and TalkTalk have now joined Zen Internet in offering services to residents in Ipswich. Construction is being delivered by VolkerSmart Technologies.

Charles Kitchin, CityFibre’s city manager for Ipswich, said: “Currently, less than 20% of premises in the UK can access full-fibre broadband services, which is why so many households still battle with slow and unreliable connectivity.

“By building new and better infrastructure, we aim to provide residents with a network that delivers not just faster download and upload speeds, but more reliable services that can scale as data consumption grows.”

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