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CityFibre moves into consumer broadband services

Following the success of a joint FTTP broadband trial in York, CityFibre is to market its metro fibre network to consumer ISPs for the first time

Urban fibre broadband network builder CityFibre has revealed it is in advanced negotiations with internet service providers (ISPs) to market fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband services over its fibre backhaul network to residential properties for the first time.

As recently as March 2017, CityFibre was vague about its ambitions in the consumer market, and would only commit to marketing to consumer ISPs at some point, but following the success of a trial FTTP network in York – with the broadband service delivered by TalkTalk – it has now decided the time is right to take the plunge.

CityFibre said the trial had shown strong demand from ISPs for gigabit speed FTTP services, and showed consumers were ready and willing to switch to FTTP when available – therefore marketing FTTP broadband to consumers was now more commercially viable than just addressing businesses, as it has done up to now.

“Our announcement to enter the residential market is the first step in our vision to bring gigabit connectivity to millions of UK homes and small businesses,” said CityFibre’s chief executive, Greg Mesch.

“This is about more than just better broadband – this is about future-proofing the digital infrastructure we’ve all come to rely on at work, at school, at home and in our communities. It’s also about stimulating the market, creating jobs and growth,” he said.

“The government and Ofcom recognise that investment in alternative fibre networks will catalyse growth in the UK’s digital economy as well as reduce the country’s reliance on BT Openreach,” said Mesch.

At the same time, CityFibre has made a number of other expansive announcements, acquiring wholesale communications supplier Entanet for £29m, as part of a new wave of business expansion. It hopes to combine its fibre infrastructure with Entanet’s established wholesale products, systems, and channel relationships as it grows (see MicroScope for more).

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It also plans to raise £185m through a new share placing underwritten by Citigroup, FinnCap, Liberum and Macquarie, with a non-underwritten subscription offer set to raise a further £15m of funding.

Mesch said this would better position the business to target larger projects in the public sector, and start work with mobile network operators (MNOs) on delivering effective backhaul for future 5G networks.

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