UK broadband providers keep up pace of full-fibre deployment

Alternative network provider brsk gets brisk with gigabit deployment in West Yorkshire, Lancashire and South Manchester regions, while CityFibre makes next stage of £43m buildout in key southern location

Gigabit Britain has revealed a further boost from two independent players at different ends of the development spectrum, with brsk claiming to make good on its promise to roll out the UK’s fastest full-fibre broadband by announcing it has completed its network build, exceeding more than 27,000 homes and businesses. CityFibre, meanwhile, has completed what it calls its flagship full-fibre roll-out in Milton Keynes, providing 90,000 homes with access to its network.

Brsk describes itself as an FTTP broadband operator installing a new full-fibre broadband network for homes and businesses across underserved areas of the UK, and is currently deploying its full-fibre network across three areas in the north of England, namely West Yorkshire, Lancashire and South Manchester.

In completing its network build to more than 27,000 homes and businesses, it has now connected more than 2,000 customers to its FTTP network, and the latest announcement follows recently announced plans to roll out full-fibre broadband to 150,000 homes across Greater Manchester. Brsk said it will continue with its planned expansion of full-fibre broadband to underserved areas with poor connectivity and announce new areas soon.

Brsk said an important distinction of its early success has been its ability to overcome the industry-wide challenge of contractor capacity in a UK broadband market in short supply of a skilled fibre workforce, and that it has solved this through exclusive and relationship-led partnerships.

“We are immensely proud of what we’ve achieved as a new entrant to the UK market,” said brsk founder and CEO Giorgio Iovino. “It’s one thing to focus on ramping up and delivering consistently when deploying at scale, but it’s equally important to ensure you’re connecting customers to your network. Developing a dependable “build engine” that can connect customers, a solid subscriber base and a great service reputation is testimony to the capability and determination that is part of the brsk difference. We are well supported by our equity partner, Advencap, and have put a fantastic team together who are focused on our customer experience and motivated by bringing better broadband to more people across the UK.”

As it accelerates its £4bn investment programme to reach up to eight million homes by 2025, representing approximately a third of the UK market, infrastructure provider CityFibre is now claiming to have connected about 90% of addressable residential properties, as well as most businesses, and key public sector and community sites in the city of Milton Keynes.

Construction began on the £43m project in March 2018, and CityFibre has since laid almost 1,000km of dense full-fibre infrastructure across nearly every street in Milton Keynes. With the primary build now completed, CityFibre said it will explore opportunities to densify and infill the last remaining areas. The new network marks CityFibre’s first completed project in England and makes it the largest supplier of full-fibre in the city.

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Milton Keynes was the first location announced to benefit from CityFibre and Vodafone’s strategic partnership in 2018. Residents in Milton Keynes can choose from a range of internet service providers, including launch partner Vodafone, TalkTalk, Zen, Fibrehop and IDNet.

Among other key sites, the network currently serves the city’s university hospital, where it is used to support robotic surgery, the digital transformation of back-office functions and providing patients with a rock-solid broadband connection.

The network is also supporting the connectivity services of the headquarters and campus of the Open University, Stadium MK and the MKYMCA.

Furthermore, the network underpins the MK:5G project, led by Milton Keynes Council, which trials and seeks to illustrate the near-term technological benefits of 5G, including autonomous vehicles, drones and robots.

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