Nexfibre unveils UK roll-out plan

Latest player in UK’s rapidly growing gigabit market reveals progress taken in developing full-fibre footprint and planned build locations for 2024, as well as commitment to creating added competitive choice

Following a series of recent announcements regarding the newly created company’s services going live in towns across the UK, full-fibre network operator Nexfibre has published the first quarterly update of its nationwide roll-out plan.

Nexfibre is the result of a £4.5bn investment from Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) shareholders, Liberty Global and Telefónica, alongside investment firm InfraVia Capital Partners. It was launched to create the UK’s first national-scale challenger to BT Openreach, boosting choice and competition in the market.

The operator aims to roll out fibre initially to five million homes not currently served by Virgin Media O2’s network by 2026, with the opportunity to expand to an additional two million homes. VMO2 aims to have a fibre footprint reaching 80% of the UK when coupled with its own fibre upgrade plans, which complete in 2028.

With VMO2’s backing, Nexfibre believes it is well-capitalised and well-positioned to be a long-term wholesale operator, on a national scale. In September 2023, the company announced that it was to acquire east of England full-fibre altnet Upp. With integration projected to be completed within the next 12 months, Nexfibre said it would invest upwards of £350m to pass more than 500,000 premises with fibre in the east of England by 2026.

Offering a view of existing footprint, current build and locations planned for 2024, the full-fibre deployment plan sees broad coverage across the UK, indicating particular new builds across Cheshire, Kent and Durham, with Scotland and Wales also being well-served.

The roll-out plan highlighted the progress Nexfibre has made since inception towards its mission of reaching five million premises across the UK by 2026, with more than 500,000 premises passed and ready for service at the end of September 2023.

Additionally, Nexfibre intends to make its network available to other internet service providers (ISPs). Working with Virgin Media O2, it plans to wholesale their networks to create a national-scale operator, boosting choice and competition in the market.

“I could not be prouder of the progress that has been made in ramping up our build programme this year, thanks to the huge efforts of our team and our partners at Virgin Media O2. We continue to accelerate the pace of build as we pursue our mission of transforming access to quality broadband across the UK,” said Nexfibre chief executive officer Rajiv Datta.

“We believe strongly in the quality and capability of our network, and the lasting value it can create in communities across the country. By increasing choice for ISPs, and boosting competition, we are playing a key role in closing the digital divide.”

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