Rugby try for full-fibre connectivity as CityFibre reveals value of Wolverhampton gigabit

Warwickshire town named as the next location in line for a multimillion-pound digital full-fibre investment, while data is released showing potential benefits of such infrastructures in Black Country urban environment

UK independent carrier-neutral full-fibre platform provider CityFibre has maintained its rapid pace of full-fibre deployment in the UK Midlands, revealing that it is set to invest £17m in a new town-wide network that will bring gigabit internet services within reach of almost every home and business in the town of Rugby, and has published details claiming that Wolverhampton stands to be a huge beneficiary from the roll-out of its full-fibre infrastructure, which is now well under way across the city. 

CityFibre is embarking on a mission to create a UK-wide digital infrastructure that, by 2025, with reach up to eight million premises in 285 cities, towns and villages, as well as 800,000 businesses, 400,000 local authority sites and 250,000 5G access points. Construction work on the full-fibre network in Rugby is being delivered by Callan Connect and is due to begin this month.

Emma Crane, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for communities, homes, digital and communications, said: “I am so pleased that work is under way on CityFibre’s superfast broadband network and look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to residents and businesses. We have worked with CityFibre to demonstrate the business case for superfast broadband in Rugby and provide the necessary infrastructure to support their investment.”

In Rugby, services will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers. Across the UK, CityFibre is already working with launch partner Vodafone to supply full-fibre infrastructure for customers on selected Vodafone Pro Broadband plans and is working with other ISPs, including Giganet, IDNet, TalkTalk and Zen Internet.

CityFibre area manager Neal Wright will be responsible for overseeing the project, while also acting as the main point of contact for all stakeholders. He said: “Full-fibre is becoming increasingly available across the UK. Because of this, demand for this faster, more resilient and more reliable digital infrastructure is growing rapidly as home broadband users seek to future-proof their connectivity for the technological developments ahead. We are really excited to be extending our roll-out to Rugby and ensuring its communities can benefit from full-fibre too.”

The benefits of CityFibre’s £50m investment in Wolverhampton have been calculated by consultancy Hatch to include £222m in productivity and innovation gains, £49m from a widened workforce, £17m in local authority efficiency savings and £144m in increased housing value over a 15-year period. The continuing transition to home and flexible working, supported by full-fibre access at home and in the office, is also unlocking access to a larger pool of labour for employers. Flexible working productivity uplifts are estimated to exceed £10m.

Technological benefits were also a major focus of the Economic impact of full-fibre infrastructure from CityFibre’s network report, which also noted that the network in Wolverhampton could help to unlock £528m in gross value added (GVA) from 5G services, £218m from the internet of things and £93m from smart city initiatives, such as intelligent traffic management systems and street lighting.

“The City of Wolverhampton recognises that future-proofed digital infrastructure is the backbone of a modern thriving economy driving productivity, growth and helping deliver effective and efficient public services, critical to powering economic and social recovery,” said Obaida Ahmed, City of Wolverhampton Council cabinet member for resources and digital city.

“A key aim of Wolverhampton’s digital strategy is creating a gigabit and smart city with future-proofed digital infrastructure, utilising full-fibre broadband and 5G to transform the delivery of services and develop new applications to unlock potential. Most importantly, this vital infrastructure will boost businesses and provide jobs and opportunities for local people.” 

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