CityFibre claims UK's fastest wholesale consumer broadband services

UK’s largest independent gigabit network provider reveals availability of 2.5Gbps symmetrical product to serve homes across expanding XGS-PON enabled footprint with potential to enable services of up to 10Gbps

Independent full-fibre infrastructure network provider CityFibre has announced the launch of what it claims to be the UK’s first wholesale 2.5Gbps symmetrical consumer broadband product.

The new 2.5Gbps XGS passive optical network (XGS-PON) product is being made available to CityFibre’s internet service provider (ISP) customers – which include  UK launch partner Vodafone, Air Broadband, Giganet, Zybre, Yazi, No-one, IDNet, A&A, Octaplus, Link Broadband and Facto - on a rolling basis, starting in its most mature XGS-PON deployment areas, before reaching all homes served by its rapidly expanding platform in the coming months.

Almost exactly a year ago, CityFibre first announced that it was to begin deploying XGS-PON access technology as standard from April 2023, enabling residential and business services at symmetrical speeds of up to 10Gbps. By the end of 2023, CityFibre expects to have deployed its XGS-PON equipment into over 90% of its fibre exchanges with the new 2.5Gbps product becoming available to around 20% of its ready-for-service footprint, currently standing at 2.5 million homes.

The new platform is capable of supporting symmetrical speeds of up to 10Gbps and is designed to be upgraded to 50G PON, being “virtually unconstrained” in its ability to meet future demand, according to the company.

Importantly for CityFibre and its customers’ net-zero plans, all services provided over XGS-PON offer significant carbon savings compared with networks using traditional gigabit passive optical network (GPON) structures. This is due to XGS-PON equipment being twice as power efficient and able to support more optical network terminator (ONT) connections per port.

Multi-gigabit speeds will also be available for homes where CityFibre’s network is yet to be upgraded to XGS-PON. This will be achieved via a 2Gbps/1Gbps asymmetric GPON product that CityFibre plans to launch in the coming months. These services will ultimately be migrated to the XGS-PON platform when available.

CityFibre claimed that its new multi-gigabit products will lead the wholesale market in terms of price, minimum speed guarantees and install times. In particular, it claimed that its symmetrical 2.5Gbps service is 2.5 times faster than BT Openreach’s asymmetric 1Gbps product, at half the rental cost per megabit and that it can provide more than 20 times the upload speeds of BT Openreach’s piloted 1.8Gbps GPON services.

“With the launch of the UK’s fastest and most cost-effective connectivity products, we are demonstrating the benefits of infrastructure competition and raising the bar for all wholesale networks,” said CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch.

“Ubiquitous, high-quality, low-carbon connectivity is the keystone of all advanced and community-wide applications of the future. By working with our ISP partners to bring symmetrical multi-gigabit broadband consumer services to market today, with businesses to follow, the UK will finally have a network and services that will enable our future, rather than holding it back.”

The launch came only days after CityFibre grabbed a further slice of the UK government’s Project Gigabit network expansion programme. The company was awarded three new contracts to subsidise the roll-out of gigabit-capable infrastructure to 218,000 rural properties in Norfolk, Suffolk and Hampshire. In May 2023, CityFibre also won the rights to a contract to subsidise a £122m roll-out of wholesale full-fibre to up to 45,000 rural homes and business in Cambridgeshire.

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