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Vodafone and Cityfibre Target Peterborough for 1Gbps Home Broadband

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 (7:36 am) - Score 1,690
cityfibre fibre optic leeds dig

Fibre optic builder Cityfibre and ISP Vodafone have today announced that the next UK city to benefit from their joint deployment of a new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) broadband service will be Peterborough (Cambridgeshire), which is supported by an investment of “at least” £30m.

At the end of last year both operators agreed a joint £500m deal to rollout FTTH ultrafast broadband (here). Phase One of this deployment – due to start during H1 2018 – would seek to cover a “minimum” of 1 million homes in up to 12 of Cityfibre’s existing cities and towns, which according to Vodafone is expected to be “largely complete” by 2021.

After Phase One there’s also the “potential to extend” this network up to 5 million homes (approximately 50 towns and cities, representing 20% of the current UK broadband market) by 2025, which will require even more investment. In January 2018 the partners announced that Milton Keynes would be the first to benefit from this rollout (costing £40m) (here) and last month that was followed by Aberdeen for another £40m (here).

We always knew that Peterborough was going to be a hot favourite to be next in line because Cityfibre only recently completed a 4km extension of their existing 120km Dark Fibre Ethernet and broadband network in the cathedral city (here), which serves both local businesses and public sector sites.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

“Peterborough is the perfect demonstration of the benefits a third competitive digital infrastructure brings the UK market. Our network has delivered superior services, at a lower cost than BT Openreach. It has fuelled economic growth, innovation and inward investment and paved the way for us to bring full fibre to the entire city. Lessening dependence on BT Openreach and Virgin is not only good for Peterborough, its residents and businesses, it is critical for the UK as a whole.”

In the past Cityfibre has hinted at an aspiration for future deployments that could extend the service via FTTH to reach around 60,000 homes in the city, although today’s announcement doesn’t set a specific coverage figure but it does pledge to “extend its fibre network to nearly every home and business in the city.”

Construction is due to begin in May 2018 and Vodafone then expect to launch their Vodafone Gigafast Broadband service to customers by early 2019. We are still awaiting some details on their packages and prices. In the meantime locals can pre-register their interest in the service here: https://www.vodafone.co.uk/broadband/ultrafast .

According to figures from the FTTH Council (2014) industry body, providing “full fibre” to just half of all premises could result in a 1.1% rise in annual GDP. Cityfibre suggests that if this were applied to Peterborough then their city-wide fibre roll-out could unlock huge economic growth exceeding £700 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) over the next 15 years (it’s always wise to take any such predictions with a pinch of salt as gauging the economic impact of different broadband technologies is notoriously difficult).

We should point out that Peterborough already has nearly universal coverage of “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) networks via FTTC from Openreach (BT) and nearly three quarters can also access Virgin Media’s 350Mbps cable network. This kind of competition could make put pressure on take-up, although Vodafone will probably aim to undercut those with their service speeds and pricing.

Meanwhile it looks as if both operators have now settled into a very piecemeal process of announcing one new city every month. At this rate we should know all of their phase one targets by the end of 2018.

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Mark Jackson
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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1 Response
  1. Avatar Simon R

    I’m in Peterborough on Virgin’s 200/20, so I’ve registered my interest. Is it 1Gbps up as well?

    The 200 down I get now is plenty, but I could sure with a faster upload.

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