CityFibre passes three million UK premises with full-fibre network

CityFibre has revealed it has now passed three million premises in the UK, adding almost a million homes to this tally over the course of the past 12 months.

The provider is the UK’s largest independent full-fibre platform, and has a target of connecting up to eight million premises in 285 UK cities, towns and villages, reaching a third of the country, by the end of 2025. CityFibre began the construction of its access network in 2018, commencing mobilisation in its first 12 towns and cities, and has since achieved primary build complete status in multiple locations, including Milton Keynes, Stirling, Peterborough and Coventry.

The three Project Gigabit contracts, awarded under a competitive process and totalling £318m of government subsidy, will be supported by an additional private investment from CityFibre of £170m, delivering a combined total investment in the project of £488m. CityFibre will continue to expand and densify its existing network footprint alongside the Project Gigabit work, and will extend its roll-out to an additional 283,000 homes across Norfolk, Suffolk and Hampshire, bringing the total targeted premises unlocked by the new awards to more than 500,000.

“We have made phenomenal progress this year, matching our performance from last year, and we are on track to deliver another million ready-for-service homes to customers this year,” said CityFibre chief executive officer Greg Mesch.

“With an infrastructure project of this size, we have successfully adapted as the market has changed, and will continue to fine-tune our roll-out to meet our targets moving forward,” he said. “I’m delighted that thanks to our investment, three million homes now have access to world-class digital infrastructure, and we look forward to connecting many more as our roll-out progresses.”

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The four Project Gigabit contract awards, including £387m in government subsidies, has been supported by nearly £223m of committed private investment from CityFibre, representing a combined total investment in Project Gigabit’s target areas of £610m. Within its existing home build programme, CityFibre will also complement its Project Gigabit roll-outs in the four counties with expansion to an additional 453,000 premises.

In its most mature locations, such as Milton Keynes, ISP partners – which include anchor tenant Vodafone, TalkTalk, Giganet, IDnet, Yayzi, Air Broadband, NoOne and Octaplus – CityFibre is now approaching 30% take-up, with other locations growing on a similar trajectory. It’s on course to deliver a million ready-for-service premises to ISPs by the end of this year.

In July 2022, in a move intended to offer large expansion potential for the carrier-neutral wholesale full-fibre infrastructure platform, 10 times the capability of its current architecture, CityFibre announced it would begin deploying XGS passive optical network (PON) access technology as standard from April 2023.

XGS-PON will allow CityFibre to support more customers on each optical line termination port, enabling, said the provider, “substantial” network cost savings, reducing power use across its networks and improving the efficiency of its future network expansion.

CityFibre is confident it will launch the UK’s first wholesale 2.5Gbps symmetrical consumer broadband product. The 2.5Gbps product is being made available to ISP customers on a rolling basis, starting in CityFibre’s most mature XGS-PON deployment areas.

The platform is capable of supporting symmetrical speeds of up to 10Gbps, and is designed to be upgraded to 50G PON. By the end of 2023, CityFibre expects to have deployed its XGS-PON equipment into over 90% of its fibre exchanges, with the 2.5Gbps product available to around 20% of its ready-for-service footprint. 

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