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CityFibre Begins Build of New 1Gbps Fibre Optic Network in Peterborough

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 (11:25 am) - Score 831

As expected CityFibre, in partnership with Peterborough City Council in the east of England and IT services provider Serco, has officially begun the installation of an almost 90km long new fibre optic cable network (aka – Peterborough CORE) in the city centre.

The first stage of their deployment is focusing upon the major commercial districts of the city and ultimately aims to cover over 4,000 businesses (80% of the city’s firms), all of whom should eventually be able to receive Internet speeds of up to 1000Mbps (Megabits per second). The first businesses are now due to be connected by around July 2014 and 350 have already registered their interest in the network.

CityFibre has also promised that the “second phase” will bring that same service to around 60,000 local homes, although it remains to be seen how successful they will be in that department. A similar but historically troubled deployment to around 20k homes in Bournemouth has so far only resulted in a tiny uptake in the low hundreds, which is arguably due to established competition from bigger ISPs and a lack of advertising.

One the other hand CityFibre’s recent deal with Sky Broadband and TalkTalk for its similar network in York (here) suggests that the operator might have found a solution, albeit still somewhat untested, for solving the issue of low uptake.

Andy Starnes, CityFibre’s Development Manager for Peterborough, said:

When broadband replaced dial-up, it revolutionised global internet usage. Now the old broadband is in need of an upgrade itself. Pure-fibre networks like the Peterborough CORE are modern digital infrastructures delivering accessible and affordable Gigabit speed services. They are a future-proofed technology capable of supporting businesses’ current and future demands. We urge businesses to register their interest on the Peterborough CORE website, to take advantage of this opportunity to increase their productivity and profitability.”

Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, added:

This is tremendous news for Peterborough businesses and provides a significant boost to the Government’s transformation of UK internet speeds already underway. I strongly urge businesses to make the most of this opportunity to ensure they are properly equipped to compete in today’s digital age.”

Overall CityFibre and its construction partner, North Midland Construction, anticipate that the new core network (stage one) will take around 12-14 months to complete. At this time it’s not known how much longer will be required to tackle the thorny issue of residential coverage, although we wouldn’t rule out the city being on Sky and TalkTalk’s hit-list for a future extension of their new partnership.

Even so it’s worth remembering that Virgin Media and BT already have hybrid-fibre based superfast broadband networks in the ground, which are slower but already dominant of the local market.

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