CityFibre chucks another £1.5 billion at UK fibre rollout

UK fibre network specialist CityFibre has awarded the contracts for building out fibre across 27 towns and cities.

The total value of those contracts amounts to £1.5 billion, taking CityFibre’s total outlay so far to £2.5 billion. The altnet is trying to extract maximum PR capital out of the fact that this fresh investment will also create a claimed 3,750 jobs. While that’s good news, it’s just the by-product of an investment that is expected to yield healthy returns in the long term, so let’s not labour the philanthropic angle too much.

“By awarding these full fibre network construction contracts, we can ensure we have the construction resources we need to get the job done, bringing world-class digital infrastructure a step closer to millions across the UK,” said CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch. “Each contract represents hundreds of jobs and upskilling opportunities for local people, building the networks Britain needs to survive and to thrive in a digital age.”

Whenever a private infrastructure company does its job, some politician or other usually hangs onto its coat-tails, to create the impression that they deserve some of the credit. “It is our national mission to connect every corner of the country to lightning fast gigabit speeds and we’re set to spend a record £5billion to achieve this,” said Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden.

“But we cannot do it alone so I welcome CityFibre’s substantial investment to plug millions of homes and businesses into the social and economic benefits of next-generation broadband and create thousands of jobs in the process.”

We cannot do it alone? What a strange thing to say. There is zero networking competence or capacity withing the UK public sector, so of course it was always going to be the job of the commercial sector. It would be interesting to know how much of that £5 billion CityFibre got its hands on.

CityFibre’s fibre rollout programme is targeting eight million premises, which is says it’s on track to have substantially completed, whatever that means, by 2025. This would make the UK one of the more competitive countries when it comes to fibre infrastructure, with at least three players to choose from, which is nice.

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