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CityFibre and Gigaclear partner to close rural broadband gap

Backhaul supplier and ultrafast ISP form strategic partnership to boost broadband speeds in rural areas

CityFibre’s national fibre backhaul network will be pushed into service to help some of the UK’s most disconnected communities get access to ultrafast broadband, as the result of a new strategic partnership with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) ISP Gigaclear.

Gigaclear, which specialises in providing community-led fibre broadband to villages and hamlets left untouched by both BT’s commercial roll-out and the government-sponsored Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, is currently undergoing a major network build of its own, and has plans to pass 40,000 premises this year.

CityFibre, meanwhile, has been rapidly expanding its national footprint since its December 2015 acquisition of KCOM’s UK fibre network. As a result, it now has metro fibre infrastructure in 37 towns and cities, and 1,100km of long-distance network.

Both firms said they had recently raised “substantial” new investment, demonstrating market confidence in the need for alternative providers to BT Openreach to begin to deploy ultrafast fibre networks more widely.

CityFibre’s national footprint will now be pressed into service to help speed up Gigaclear’s deployment into rural communities, offering a long-distance backhaul option for future deployments, while its metro networks and point-of-presence sites facilitate connectivity into rural areas nearby.

“We have long been aware of the huge levels of demand for better internet connectivity in rural areas surrounding our urban network projects,” said CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch.

“It is a national embarrassment that residents and businesses in rural areas, and indeed many of those in towns and cities, have been left in the digital dark ages. Pure fibre infrastructure is the 21st century utility and is an essential component to everyday life.”

Gigaclear chief executive Matthew Hare added: “This partnership with CityFibre gives Gigaclear access to more capacity, faster delivery and more flexible bandwidth across the country.

“It helps us build gigabit networks where other operators do not reach, to meet the demand for better broadband from homes and businesses.” ..............................................................

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