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UPDATE Cityfibre to Begin Delayed Build of Glasgow’s 1Gbps FTTP Network

Monday, August 22nd, 2016 (10:17 am) - Score 1,307

Cityfibre has announced that the roll-out of their new multi-million-pound and 40km long Gigabit fibre optic (FTTP) broadband and Ethernet network in the city of Glasgow (Scotland) will begin within the next 3-4 months, which seems to represent a delay from the original “early in 2016” plan.

Last year Cityfibre pledged, with support from local ISP partner HighNet, that they would “ultimately deliver the huge benefits of pure fibre connectivity to the whole city” and that the new network could offer “internet connectivity [that is] up to 100 times faster than the UK average.”

Phase One of the construction should have begun in early 2016 (focus on the city centre) and this would have then put the infrastructure within “close reach” of up to 7,000 local businesses and public sector sites (including 7 local hospitals) by the end of 2016, rising up to 15,000 by completion.

However today’s release states that the roll-out will now commence “later this year” and will then “go live in early 2017,” although Cityfibre clarifies that “early 2017” doesn’t represent completion because “the first phase will take up to 12 months to complete.” No reason for the delay is given, although such things rarely go precisely to plan.

As part of this work HighNet has opened its first Central Belt location in St Vincent Street, which is being supported by an investment of £250,000. HighNet has also recruited 8 new employees in the city and adapted the 4000ft2 office space to include a range of technical and customer facilities.

James McClafferty, CityFibre’s Head of Regional Development, said:

“In cities like Glasgow, the rise of new technologies is radically transforming the way we live and work, and this means that our digital connectivity can either be a barrier to growth and innovation or a catalyst for economic and social development.

Working with HighNet, we want to make sure Glasgow has the infrastructure it needs to compete with other cities in the UK and across the world. Every Gigabit City we build provides local businesses, Government, public services and mobile operators with a modern fibre infrastructure, capable of meeting their data connectivity and communication needs now, and for decades to come.”

CityFibre are currently in the process of completing Gigabit City projects in 37 cities around the United Kingdom, such as Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The operator aims to reach as many as 50 UK cities by 2020, which has been made possible by last year’s £90m acquisition of KCOM’s UK network assets (here).

UPDATE 1:55pm

According to a spokesperson for Cityfibre, the reason for Glasgow’s roll-out being a bit behind schedule is because they “prioritised the completion of our Edinburgh Gigabit City project, which grew significantly in scale since our partnership with Commsworld was first signed” and this took the focus away from Glasgow. Edinburgh is now “approaching completion” and thus they will soon be able to shift that focus back towards the Glasgow build.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. JRotton says:

    As CityFibre’s aquired KCOM only spans between London, Bristol and no further than York and Harrogate, almost all of the previous so called Gigabit cities including all in Scotland are and will be served by leasing backhaul from providers such as Level3 Communications.

    1. Ignition says:

      Virgin Media lease backhaul.

      Why spend a fortune building if someone else has already done it?

  2. JRotton says:

    For a Company which claims to be a Dark Fibre provider, doesn’t disclose that they themselves lease backhaul from 3rd parties for most of their so called Gigabit Cities. Leasing backhaul increases ongoing costs. To get unlimited bandwidth, the aid of wave division multiplexing (WDM) is required and it is expensive which CityFibre doesn’t deploy , that’s why their service is limited to up to 1 Gbit/s and therefore not meeting the connectivity and communications needs now or for decades to come as claimed by Cityfibre.

    1. TheFacts says:

      They will upgrade to meet customer requirements in the future as required, like any company.

    2. DA says:

      Backhaul from the 3 Scottish cities launched so far is provided by the partnering ISPs, and not by CityFibre. This is how CityFibre’s model works – they build local dark-fibre networks, and don’t provide lit services or backhaul on those new networks in Scotland. The partners of CityFibre light that infrastructure and manage the ISP services on it.

    3. JRotton says:

      DA, This confirms that CityFibre’s backhaul Network is limited. it’s acquired KCOM network only spans between London, Bristol and no further than York and Harrogate, which is tiny compared to other providers. To claim that it is an alternative infrastructure provider to BT is nonsense.

    4. Ignition says:

      They provide alternative access networks and compete with BT there. They do not claim to offer a national network service, they leave that to their partners.

      So with that in mind they are an alternative to Openreach.

  3. Ken says:

    City Fibre owns it’s own back haul…. just to clear the air. But BT net and Virgin media enterprise has there own back hauls in Glasgow.
    A terminated circuit doesn’t require WDM to supply more than one gb. The supplier caps the connection to stop throughout dns throttling. WDM is only usually dispatched or deployed on BT Net leased fibre. So one pair can secure over a few thousand connections

    1. JRotton says:

      CityFibre owns its own backhaul, true, but only on its acquired KCOM network which only spans between London, Bristol and no further than York and Harrogate. Likewise other operators also own their own backhaul on their networks. In contrast CityFibres Network is tiny.

      DWDM is used widely by most companies to increase bandwidth over existing Fibre Optic Backbones and not on terminated ccts. as suggested by you. So that you’re are clear on what backhaul is, it is “Core Network” or “Backbone Network” and not the last mile network.

      BTW, what technology and type/capacity of ccts. are you suggesting to secure a few thousand connections over a pair of Fibres, bearing in mind we are talking about Ethernet for voice and data backhaul and not local ADSL connections?

    2. Ken says:

      Back haul fibres only rarely use 10 fibres…. to connect to data centres nodes etc the rest of the pairs are related as dark fibre pairs unused cores of fibre not terminated at either end. I’m just stating it’s cheaper to use back haul to nodes then splitters I back haul fibre can supply one node and one node can supply over 355 splitter nodes and then one splitter node can supply 380 individual end of termination “dp” end. This is why fibre and fibre technology is so advanced it can over lapse it’s own network without causing issues.dwdm is only really used in data centres on existing fibres like ipx Cardiff to London. Dwdm is designed to have no downtime to expand current cores to expand bandwidth with more wave length or mhz or both. But there’s always a draw back dwdm is only as future proof as the fibre in the ground and what receiver and transmitter it uses. Multiplexing can cause a headache of issues domestic or commercial. BT net tends to use existing networking but are trying to upgrade fibres and equipment on in active Internet exchanges dwdm is designed to take away the down time primarily with a physical upgrade would cause downtime but have massive more beneficial priorities

    3. Ignition says:

      These responses are really garbled, Ken, make very little sense and conflate a bunch of terms. Proof reading would be good.

      DWDM is used largely as a cost saving, however that only kicks in when running out of fibre or where additional line cards cost more than switching to it, so for a while BT, VM, etc, didn’t really have to use it.

      Digging new fibre is expensive and time consuming. There are no real outage considerations here, to upgrade a link you still need to replace components either side and if downtime is important will have a protection path. Upgrade the protection, cut-over to it, upgrade the primary, cut back. Only downtime is an SDH protection hit, only other downside a brief period with no resiliency when each component is upgraded.

      If the fibre were available upgrading a link could be done just by using more fibre and Etherchannel or similar to aggregate the links together at layer 2.

      Unsure about the node and splitter node stuff. This seems more PON architecture related and reminds me of the BT aggregation node / splitter.

      Core links don’t use splitters they are point to point. No real limit on how many fibres can be collected together in one place, depends how many fibre trays are available, no limit on how many other groups of fibre trays can be served.

    4. Ignition says:

      The 10 fibre thing is also confusing. From my ISP days there are plenty of backhaul optical cables that use way more than 10 fibres, largely because they aren’t just used for supercore 10Gb or 40Gb lanes they’ll also carry a bunch of transport and even access network links, to be broken out at the next POP or transmission site.

      A single backhaul link will be on a single fibre, but there’ll be a whole bunch of backhaul links which depending on cost will be on separate fibres.

    5. Ken says:

      I don’t even bother to put things in a sent sentence any more on here everyone thinks there right even though I’m stating how Infrastructure instalation works. Not ISP. BT is an ISP BT.net(ISP and Infrastructure) and BT Openreach are the infrastructure. Plus this page works terrible on my S7 edge…. many reason why I can’t see what I type properly.

    6. Ignition says:

      BTnet is a BT Business brand name, nothing to do with infrastructure it is using services from Openreach and Wholesale, but whatever.

      The infrastructure itself in terms of fibre is Openreach and TSO, formerly known as Operate. Wholesale run a data network on top of this, including supplying the circuits sold as BTnet.

      https://business.bt.com/assets/pdf/broadband-and-internet/datasheet/BTnet_Customer_Brochure.pdf

      As you said, though, everyone thinks they are right.

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