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CityFibre UK to Build City-Wide Fibre Optic Broadband Network in Aberdeen

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 (10:38 am) - Score 1,587

Fibre optic infrastructure developer CityFibre has claimed that it will create Scotland’s first “Gigabit City” by confirming their plans to build a city-wide fibre optic broadband network in Aberdeen, which will mirror their similar Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) style roll-outs in York, Bournemouth, Peterborough and Coventry.

The development, which will be rolled out in conjunction with local ISP Internet for Business (IFB), aims to eventually deliver Internet speeds of 1000Mbps (Megabits per second) to over 6,000 companies in the city, not to mention “hundreds of public sector sites” including schools, universities, libraries, hospitals and government agency buildings.

As with previous announcements CityFibre has also hinted at the prospect of using the network to “act as the backbone” for any future deployments of a Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) style service for the city’s residents, although this usually comes much later and wasn’t terribly successful in Bournemouth. However CityFibre are also working with Sky Broadband and TalkTalk in York to make a home service that looks much more promising (here and here).

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

We selected Aberdeen as it represents the perfect opportunity for a Gigabit City project. Its economic power, business makeup and absence of alternative network mean that Aberdeen will be in a position to take full advantage of this transformational digital infrastructure. Alongside IFB, CityFibre is honoured to be able to add to the proud history of this city by building a modern digital infrastructure that will future proof Aberdeen, its businesses and residents for the next 100 years.”

Jenny Laing, Leader of Aberdeen City Council, said:

We are hugely excited to see CityFibre and IFB bring this project to life ensuring that Aberdeen city and shire have a next generation digital infrastructure in place to further economic growth over the coming years. CityFibre’s decision to make Aberdeen a Gigabit City helps us to realise the ambitions laid out in Accelerate Aberdeen of being at the leading edge of the digital revolution, with the world-class connectivity essential for continued growth and helps lay the foundations for significant improvements for residential customers in the future.”

Apparently Aberdeen accounts for 28% of Scotland’s GDP and 30% of the country’s top 100 businesses are located there, although CityFibre claims that despite the area having a strong take-up rate for broadband there is “an absence of any cable infrastructure“. This is not entirely correct as Ofcom reports that “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) is available to 62.80% of Aberdeen and indeed BT’s FTTC infrastructure does exist there and looks set to improve over the next 2-3 years.

However the existence of rival networks hasn’t stopped CityFibre before and the fact that they’ve been able to raise around £50m worth of financial backing to help develop their network suggests that others also see a strong opportunity for growth in this field. Hyperoptic have already become a modest success out of taking a not dissimilar approach.

As before CityFibre’s roll-out will be demand-led, arriving first in areas where there is the strongest interest, and a campaign to build demand among businesses is due to start shortly. In the meantime CityFibre has already started planning for the initial deployment phase, which will start in the city-centre and south of the city (e.g. industrial estates such as Tullos and Altens, as well as the north as far as Dyce and The Bridge of Don).

Subject to demand, the build programme will then be extended to areas in the west of the city, such as Westhill and Kingswells. A press briefing is due to be held on 23rd September, at which more details will be revealed.

UPDATE 1:47pm

Small correction. The press release incorrectly said 100Mbps but as expected it should have been 1000Mbps (1Gbps). Also Virgin Media doesn’t appear to have any cable down in the city, so we’ve taken that out (got briefly confused with their old DSL services).

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Stephen says:

    Excellent news for Aberdeen.
    Due to the nature of the oil industry, there are thousands of companies here who have worldwide communications with their staff & clients on a daily basis. Aberdeen generally runs 2 years behind the big English cities when it comes to communications upgrades (still only got 2 out of 4 ISP’s providing 4G) even though there is a huge need for better services and the wealth to pay for it.
    I’m glad to see places in the shire are also being considered, Westhill & Kingswells are now home to hundreds of oil companies who I’m sure will be very pleased to hear about Cityfibres plans.

  2. Avatar No Clue says:

    Great to see a council excited about a real fibre product

  3. Avatar Stephen says:

    I’m afraid I’m not a council but I do have daily communications with suppliers & vessels around the world and I can see the benefits. Now if it would only cover residential premesis too it would help with working from home in the snowy winters!!!

    1. Avatar fastman2 says:

      stephen have you checked to see if you are covered under BDUK digital scotland

    2. Avatar Stephen says:

      Yes I have checked this and unfortunately I have a very long exchange only line so even though my exchange is “exploring alternatives” I won’t be able to get fibre any time soon. Unless this new fibre to the node comes into operation any time soon.
      Having said that the Digital Scotland is bringing fibre to a lot of towns in Aberdeenshire at the moment and I have seen cabinets popping up in some quite unusual & remote locations so perhaps there is a glimmer of hope after all!

  4. Avatar Richie says:

    BT are ignoring new build housing schemes with hundreds of houses, leaving them with 1.5mb/s “broad”band, after a mere six month wait to get any kind of service at all. I’m currently using 3G, because it’s 3 times faster than BT’s shitty service. BDUK say they aren’t doing fibre because its part of the commercial rollout, BT deny all knowledge. There is a huge opportunity here for somebody to move in and show BT how it’s done!

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