CityFibre

Work begins on CityFibre gigabit network for Middlesbrough

In second deployment in two days to a mid-sized conurbation, former altnet switches attention from north-west to north-east to “future-proof” digital foundations of Teesside hub

In the latest of its almost every other day announcement of an extension to its growing gigabit infrastructure in the UK, former altnet and now the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, CityFibre, has begun construction of a £42m town-wide full-fibre network in Middlesbrough.

The work in the Brambles Farm and Thorntree areas is the start of a programme to bring full-fibre connectivity within reach of almost every home and business in the town. The build-out is being delivered by Map Group (UK) on behalf of CityFibre. The team will use a range of construction methods, working in close partnership with Middlesbrough Council and local communities to deliver what is promised to be a fast roll-out, while minimising potential disruption.

Each area will take a few weeks to complete and the overall project is expected to reach completion by 2024, but the first services will go live for people to take advantage of much sooner. As the network is completed in each neighbourhood, internet service providers (ISPs) will light them up. In the first instance, CityFibre is already working with launch partner Vodafone to supply full-fibre infrastructure for customers on selected Vodafone Pro Broadband plans, while TalkTalk and other providers are expected to join the network in the future.

“I’m immensely excited and proud to see work getting underway in Middlesbrough. This is the start of an exciting new chapter for Middlesbrough as it gets ready to thrive in the digital age,” commented Steph Carter-Smith, CityFibre’s city manager for Middlesbrough. “It’s important to remember that any short-term disruption will pay off tremendously in the long term – once the network’s built, it will serve the community’s connectivity needs for decades to come.”

“It’s important to remember that any short-term disruption will pay off tremendously in the long term – once the network’s built, it will serve the community’s connectivity needs for decades to come”
Steph Carter-Smith, CityFibre

Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston added: “This is fantastic news that marks the start of a great leap forward for Middlesbrough. We’ve all relied on digital comms over the last year more than ever before, and this state-of-the-art network is taking us to the next level. The incredible broadband speeds it will deliver are a once-in-a-generation boost to residents, businesses and services, and one that will bring with it long-term prosperity and jobs.”

The latest roll-out is part of CityFibre’s aim to bring full-fibre connectivity within reach of up to eight million homes in towns and cities across the UK as part of its up to £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme. In another deployment, the company is rolling out fibre networks to a new area of Preston, where construction of the £30m city-wide full-fibre network has begun in the Frenchwood and Fishwick areas of the city, delivered by Telent on behalf of CityFibre.

The move also comes just after research from UK telecoms regulator Ofcom found that the UK’s gigabit industry had defied pandemic restrictions to continue aggressive infrastructure deployment, resulting in more than a third of UK homes having gigabit-capable broadband by the end of January 2021.

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