CityFibre’s full fibre rollout hits 3 million premises

CityFibre van

Fibreco CityFibre’s UK full fibre network now passes over 3 million premises, with 2.6 million ‘ready for service’ to ISPs.

The firm announced the network had passed 2 million premises in September 2022, so that’s a rate of roughly a million new premises over the course of a year.

CityFibre began the construction of its network in 2018 and has now achieved ‘primary build complete status’ in Milton Keynes, Stirling, Peterborough and Coventry. In its most mature locations, such as these, ISP partners are now approaching 30% take-up, we’re told.

In June the firm was granted wayleave permissions to hook up over a million homes owned by local authorities and housing associations. Wayleave agreements grant installers with permission to physically connect a property to the network, which apparently means tenants will be able to upgrade their broadband without permission from their landlord.

It also secured £318 million worth of public funding in July to help it roll out to 218,000 UK homes and businesses, bagging three funding awards under the government’s Project Gigabit, which will provide £5 billion to connect hard-to-reach areas. The three contracts cover Norfolk, Suffolk and Hampshire, and also required CityFibre to commit £171 million in total itself, bringing the combined investment up to the best part of half a billion pounds.

In the same month it took its XGS-PON service to market, launching a 2.5 Gbps wholesale consumer broadband product. The commercial rollout will begin in its most mature XGS-PON deployment areas, and the new platform is capable of supporting symmetrical speeds of up to 10Gbps and is designed to be easily upgraded to 50G PON, we’re told.

“We have made phenomenal progress this year, matching our performance from last year, and we on track to deliver another million ready for service homes to customers this year,” said Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer at CityFibre. “With an infrastructure project of this size, we have successfully adapted as the market has changed and will continue to fine-tune our rollout in order to meet our targets moving forward. I’m delighted that thanks to our investment, 3m homes now have access to world class digital infrastructure and we look forward to connecting many more as our rollout progresses.”

Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale said: “Millions of homes and businesses from Milton Keynes to Stirling now have access to ultra-fast, reliable broadband and 5G thanks to CityFibre’s delivery of the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit. Having access to fast broadband is a crucial part of our plan to boost economic growth and level up communities, with more than 76% of properties in the UK now able to connect to gigabit-capable broadband.

“We are confidently moving towards achieving our goal of 85% coverage throughout the UK by 2025 and universal coverage by 2030 and it’s the efforts of providers like CityFibre that will help us get there.”

For a broader perspective on the current state of the fibre rollout and how technologies like Fixed Wireless Access and satellites are developing to provide additional techniques of improving the world’s internet access, check out our deep-dive Understanding broadband and its evolution.


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