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UK gigabit broadband expansion rolls on for CityFibre, Hyperoptic

Deployment in South Yorkshire adds to largest independent provider’s estate as part of £8bn development plan, while fibre provider announces internal and external milestones as it clocks up 11 years in business

The UK’s gigabit connectivity market continues to accelerate, with two of the nation’s leading independent providers announcing further expansion to their growing networks.

Hyperoptic, founded by current CEO Dana Tobak and chairman Boris Ivanovic, says it was the first to make gigabit broadband available in the UK when it connected Prices Court in Wandsworth, London in October 2011. As it celebrates its 11th birthday, the company has announced two milestones – 2,000 employees and 250,000 active customers – and says it is approaching a third by reaching almost one million homes passed, a target it expects to hit before Christmas.

The company claims it is continuing to set the pace in the growing full-fibre altnet sector, with a market-leading penetration rate in excess of 25% overall and at 40% in areas where Hyperoptic has been present for more than a year, and a sustainable business model.

“We’re not just building a fibre network, we’re connecting homes and businesses to fast, reliable broadband – reaching this 250,000 milestone with an overall penetration rate above 25% is down to the teamwork and focus of our 2,000 colleagues,” said Tobak. “There is a lot of excitement around the full-fibre market here in the UK, but not every company laying fibre today will be around long-term. We’re ensuring we have a sustainable business model that will see us continue to grow and attract investment.”

Meanwhile, CityFibre has announced that it has added to its reach in Sheffield, revealing that it has now laid 500km of full-fibre internet beneath the city’s streets as part of its £115m plan to future-proof Sheffield’s digital connectivity. 

CityFibre’s network build in Sheffield started in February 2021, supported by build partner O’Connor Utilities. Work is ongoing in the Birley, Beighton and Firth Park areas, while work has been completed across large sections of the city, including Burngreave, Handsworth, Manor, Woodhouse and Richmond, with more regions to follow shortly.

As the network has been deployed, gigabit services in Sheffield services are available from Vodafone, Giganet, IDNet, Yayzi, Octaplus and Trunk Pure Broadband. Other providers, such as TalkTalk, are expected to join the network soon. 

“The fact that we have laid 500km of full-fibre cable in just 20 months shows how dedicated we are to bringing world-class digital infrastructure to the people and businesses of Sheffield,” said Natalie Ward, CityFibre’s Sheffield area manager. “Thanks to the support of our build partner, the speed of deployment has been significant, and many residents across the city are already able to connect to the fastest and most reliable broadband services available. Our full-fibre network will benefit Sheffield’s communities for decades to come.”

City of Sheffield councillor Denise Fox added: “It’s great to see that Sheffield has been chosen to receive the upgraded network that has been much needed. During the lockdown, when many were working from home and children were doing their lessons, they experienced bad connections and freezing. “

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