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Cityfibre Invest £75m to Rollout FTTH in Bournemouth and Northampton

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 (9:43 am) - Score 1,015
cityfibre engineer over reel of purple fibre

Full fibre builder Cityfibre has announced that they will invest £75m to expand the reach of their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband ISP network across the cities of Bournemouth and Northampton, which will join the other 10 cities confirmed under Phase One and take their coverage to 1 million UK premises.

So far Cityfibre, which is being supported by ISP partner Vodafone, has said that their wider £2.5bn investment (details) will aim to deploy Gigabit capable “full fibre” broadband infrastructure to cover around 1 million premises in 10 UK cities by the end of 2021 (phase one – costing c.£500m), before rising to 5 million premises across 37 cities and towns by the end of 2024.

The investment levels for the first 10 cities under Phase One have already been confirmed (see link above), while both Bournemouth and Northampton initially appeared to form part of the future roll-out plan. However today’s announcement states that both will now form part of the Phase One roll-out to reach 1 million premises, instead of future phases.

At this point it’s worth noting that Bournemouth already has a legacy FTTH network via local ISP Gigler, which Cityfibre acquired some years ago following the collapse of the i3 Group’s defunct Fibrecity scheme. In the past it was said that this network covered 21,000 premises (echoed again today), although Gigler has been in limbo for awhile but the local network will give them a good starting point.

However we suspect that the kit used in Bournemouth will need an upgrade, which may explain why today’s press release talks about work already being underway to “align it with Cityfibre’s national network architecture before being activated for service.”

Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said:

“At CityFibre we are leading the charge to switch over the UK from the copper wires of the past to the fibre of the future. Full fibre is the only infrastructure fit to power our economy in the digital age.

With the addition of Bournemouth and Northampton to our previously announced Gigabit City projects, we have now identified over 1 million UK homes that will benefit from world-class connectivity. Our roll-outs are gathering momentum and we’re now focusing on selecting the next wave of cities in the programme.”

John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Council, said:

“Bournemouth is firmly established as a thriving digital town with a world-leading digital sector. An investment of this size strengthens our position of becoming a first-class, smart and connected digital place supporting the future needs of businesses and residents.

We shall be working closely with CityFibre to ensure the roll out programme is as smooth as possible and that everyone is kept fully up-to-date with their plans.”

Jonathan Nunn, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, added:

“It’s been very exciting to work on this with CityFibre and we absolutely welcome their investment, which places Northampton at the forefront of the UK’s full fibre roll-out. The future is digital, therefore having the right infrastructure in Northampton is essential for us to remain competitive.”

The roll-out expansion in Bournemouth is due to begin later this summer 2019, while work in Northampton is due to begin soon after during the autumn 2019. We should point out that Cityfibre already has a 45km long Dark Fibre network in Northampton, although it’s currently only used to serve public sector sites and specific businesses.

Out of the 12 cities announced so far as part of Phase One, building work is now underway in seven of those (Aberdeen, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stirling) and Vodafone’s Gigafast Broadband packages have gone live in four of them (Aberdeen, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Peterborough).

The Gigafast Broadband packages from Vodafone tend to go live a few months after construction starts. Prices currently start from £28 per month for an unlimited 100Mbps (symmetric speed) package on an 18 month contract, including free installation (you also get a good wireless router), and this rises to £48 per month for their top 900Mbps (Gigabit) tier.

As an interesting side note, anybody with a long enough memory may recall that when Cityfibre first acquired Bournemouth’s legacy FTTH network they actually pledged to cover the entire city by around mid-2013 (roughly a two year roll-out plan). Obviously that never materialised but then those were very different times with different challenges. Better late than never.

Bournemouth and Northampton are also quite competitive cities with strong coverage of both Virgin Media’s 500Mbps cable network and near universal FTTC from Openreach. A little G.fast and FTTP can also be found in both but there’s clearly room for Cityfibre to do a lot more.

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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 HAYTER

    Believe it when I see it! City Fibre has owned a network capable of delivering fibre to 21,000 residents in Bournemouth but 8 years on, they still haven’t expanded into Bournemouth, in fact, they have shown little interest and most likely they purchased the network from the 160M fraudsters at an unbelievable price.

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