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Cityfibre Hit 100K UK Premises FTTH Broadband Build Milestone

Monday, October 28th, 2019 (10:32 am) - Score 4,382

A new batch of independent data has estimated that Cityfibre’s £2.5bn effort to rollout a 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband ISP network to cover 5 million UK premises across 37 cities and towns by the end of 2025 (here) – supported by Vodafone – has just passed the 100,000 premises milestone.

At present Phase One of Cityfibre’s deployment has already committed around £500m in order to cover a “minimum” of 1 million homes and businesses in 12 initial cities and towns by the end of 2021, with the rollout phase for this starting very gradually at the end of 2018 and is still ramping-up today.

The latest modelling from Thinkbroadband’s database, which only looked at cities where a live broadband service on the new network had been spotted (e.g. Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Aberdeen, Coventry and Stirling), found that the full fibre platform had now covered an estimated 100,692 premises.

The operator is building in other cities too (e.g. Leeds) but TBB only includes areas where they can confirm Cityfibre’s network as being live for service.

Cityfibre’s £2.5bn Project – Build Progress

February 2019 – 25,445 Premises
August 2019 – 70,748 Premises
October 2019 – 100,692 premises

At the last update we estimated that between February and August the operator had achieved a build rate of roughly 7,550 premises per month over the past 6 months. The latest update only reflects a shorter 2 month period and so is not as useful, although if this is correct then Cityfibre have clearly accelerated and are now building at a rate of approximately 15,000 premises passed per month (roughly double the prior rate).

We said last time that we wouldn’t be surprised to see them double their build rate by the end of 2019 and that has now come to pass, although they’ll need to go faster still in order to reach 1 million premises by the end of 2021. The good news is that they’re still in the ramping-up phase.

Assuming they’d been able to start at a full build rate in 2019 then over 3 years Cityfibre would have needed to build at around 28,000 premises per month in order to reach 1,000,000 premises in time. The fact that it takes time to ramp-up means they’ll need to reach an even faster deployment rate than 28K in the near future. The operator has previously talked about potentially requiring c.5,000 engineers to work on this.

By comparison Openreach, which has around 30,000 engineers (although only a proportion of those are dedicated to building full fibre), is currently able to build at a rate of 22,000 per week (call it c.100,000 per month) and they aim to cover 4 million premises by March 2021 and then 15 million by around 2025 (currently 1.5 million completed).

Otherwise the related Gigafast Broadband packages from Vodafone cost from £28 per month for an unlimited 100Mbps (symmetric speed) service on an 18 month contract, including free installation (you also get a very good wireless router in the bundle). This then rises to just £48 per month for their top 900Mbps (Gigabit) tier.

UPDATE 29th October 2019:

A small revision to the data, which has added some premises in Bournemouth and a few extra in Coventry, brings the total to 106,665.

Leave a Comment
12 Responses
  1. Avatar whodunnit says:

    Is the homes passe metric equivalent for City Fibre and Openreach? Openreach numbers are only theoretically marketable, but may still require more time and capex to connect….

    1. Avatar Neb says:

      From passed reports it was counted as passed if within 200m of their network…

    2. Avatar John says:

      What reports say anything within 200m of the network is a property passed?

      It can be more than 200m away and be classed as passed and can be less than 200m and not be passed.

      OpenReach’s properties passed is those who can order a service.
      In other words they’ve gone as far as the Distribution Point.

      Nothing theoretical about it either.

      Yes they need to return and install the final drop from DP to home but for most this will be a simple job.

    3. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The 200m figure is for Cityfibre’s Dark Fibre network, which is a different kettle of fish.

  2. Avatar James W says:

    Sadly I feel this is not fast enough.

    I can only guess wayleaves are causing most of the issues.

    Some part of me thinks they should hit an area hard and get 80-100% coverage. This way there is no need to come back and revisit it for additional properties. This would save on plant moves, wayleave costs etc.

    This could help recover costs quicker as more properties will adopt the faster service. Although Openreach will be reluctant to switch off the copper service to save money as it wouldn’t be there service.

    1. Avatar SimonR says:

      Where I am City fibre have got 4 or 5 teams constantly working around town, and have been since 2018. Any more and I suspect there’d be too much disruption (with other regular roadworks also going on). As far as I know they’re doing the whole city in one hit and not coming back (apart from one street which refused it).

      Whilst it would be great if it were faster, and they could recover costs quicker, I suspect it would also ramp up their costs (shipping extra workers in, etc.). They’ve stopped less than a mile from me and moved to a different area, so I’d like it to motor on – but they’re going pretty swiftly.

    2. Avatar James W says:

      Hi SimonR,

      Glad they are doing it that way. Wonder why a sole street refused?

      Could have a knock on affect with property prices.

    3. Avatar Lee says:

      I regularly see people refuse fttp engineers when they turn up to install service because they don’t want their garden dug up or don’t want the ONT on the wall making things look messy.

      Having seen citifibre work in my street I imagine it’s the garden work and also the strip of black tarmac down the middle of the pavement.

      Massively generalising it’s always older people with nice houses who don’t see value in it. Very short sited when they don’t realise in 7 years odd they won’t have a choice when the copper network gets turned off and no one is buying houses in the street.

      Speaking for myself i can’t wait for them to activate my area and I’ll be signing up assuming voda sort out the core network capacity.

    4. Avatar SimonR says:

      My brother lives on the street in question, but I haven’t opened that can of worms with him! It’s a fairly new build (<20 years) and they reportedly didn't want the roads / verges carving up. There was an article on here a while ago (albeit linking to a local clickbait news rag that makes news out of very little).

      Fast forward to moving time, and yes – they won't have fibre as a selling point. However, I *think* Virgin are there, so there's some option of fast broadband.

      I keep checking roadworks.org every day, and seeing the teams get closer and just hop to a different area was painful. Especially when I *think* that a lot of the activated traffic is going past the end of my road.

    5. Avatar John says:

      Wayleaves aren’t slowing things down much at all.

      There’s no workers sitting around waiting for a wayleave agreement.
      They move on and do other buildings.

      “As far as I know they’re doing the whole city in one hit and not coming back (apart from one street which refused it).”

      Unless you own the physical road you don’t get the option to refuse.

      These guys have code powers and can dig on any public road/land, providing the correct planning requirements are in place.

      Councils can’t stop cityfibre digging up the street so how can residents?

      It’s either skipped because it’s too expensive or it’s a private road and wayleave hasn’t been agreed.

    6. Avatar SimonR says:

      @John – I don’t know. The residents got together and kicked up a fuss. It made the news (whether or not it was clickbait and bloated – maybe). Local news is such nowadays that I could just be quoting a snowballed rumour.

      I haven’t yet been back to see whether it’s been done, but Cityfibre seem pretty flexible here, so they may well have just moved on to the next scheduled area and opted to sort it out in due course. This is Peterborough, and they’ve still got a good 70% to do. Could’ve just gone to the back of the queue.

      Original article: https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2019/07/peterborough-locals-warn-cityfibre-dont-block-our-driveways.html

  3. Avatar Paul Harris says:

    City fibre in Milton Keynes needs to honour its commitments. The work force are unqualified , clearly evident by the number of clients left high and dry without any broadband.
    The management don’t understand ethical business practice whilst it’s patently obvious they only want business customers, residential count for nothing.
    Finally, if you start a job City Fibre, finish it !!! Don’t anger people by insisting they have a five week gap from starting to completion, it’s ridiculous conduct.
    Paul Harris
    By all means reply and explain to me why you have no morals.

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