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Cityfibre Starts £50m FTTH Broadband Rollout in Newcastle UK

Thursday, December 5th, 2019 (3:51 pm) - Score 3,157

Fibre optic network builder Cityfibre has confirmed that they’ve started to roll-out their new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network across the northern city of Newcastle (Tyne and Wear), which is expected to cost £50m and is being supported by their UK ISP partner Vodafone.

Interestingly Newcastle-upon-Tyne is one of Cityfibre’s Phase 2 cities under their wider £2.5bn investment plan, which aims to cover around 1 million homes across 12 UK cities and towns with Gigabit capable “full fibre” broadband by the end of 2021 (Phase One) and then 5 million premises by the end of 2025 across 60 cities and towns (here). As such we weren’t expecting the build to start quite so soon.

Nevertheless a quick check reveals that the operator’s civil engineering teams are currently doing quite a bit of work around the north western side of Newcastle, with Kenton and Blakelaw being among the first areas to benefit from the network. Apparently this work actually started a few weeks ago but it has only now been confirmed.

Local contractor IQA Elecnor is delivering the construction programme on CF’s behalf and the build itself is expected to take around 3-4 years to finish (i.e. expect completion by the end of 2024).

Jason Legget, Cityfibre’s City Manager for Newcastle, said:

“We are supporting the city by making our investment in infrastructure. We don’t just go into economic hotspots or for people who have a lot of disposable income. We are making sure there is parity for everyone – whether you are rich or poor, digitally-savvy or not.

Our competitors would not do that, they would never have started investing in an area where this may not getting massive take-up. But we know that is where people are going to benefit the most. Our focus is now on making sure we get the whole city covered as quickly as possible.”

The main competition for Cityfibre’s network in the city, at least in terms of “ultrafast broadband” connectivity, will undoubtedly come from Virgin Media’s soon-to-be Gigabit capable cable network (currently 500Mbps max but 1Gbps by 2021); although Virgin only reaches about two-thirds of the city and Cityfibre usually aims for 85%+ coverage. On the other hand Virgin seem to be busy extending their network just north of Cityfibre’s build, which could make for an interesting clash of networks in the near future.

The Gigafast Broadband packages from Vodafone cost from just £28 per month for an unlimited 100Mbps (average symmetric speed) service on an 18 month contract, including free installation and a good wireless router, which rises to £48 for 900Mbps. Virgin might be able to match the downloads and come close on price, but they can’t do the same for uploads.

Virgin also has a strong Pay TV service, although Vodafone have moved a little bit to tackle this by launching a new Apple 4K TV service, which admittedly isn’t anything like as extensive as Virgin’s TV solution but it’s a start.

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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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7 Responses
  1. Avatar Ben Mclaughlan

    Great news for Newcastle, curious to know if the plans will cover North Tyneside?

    • Avatar Matthew

      I believe Cityfibre got the LFFN Contract there so a distinct possibility after they build the core network they could transistion to a full residental network

  2. Avatar Hunnymonster

    No doubt within 18 months there’ll be complaints in the local press about the quality of the reinstated roads after CityFibre’s civils contractors have been through.

    See Edinburgh, Milton Keynes as examples

  3. Avatar Sue Johnson

    Are there any plans for a link-up with BT services?

  4. Avatar Hilary Geleman

    You are doing work on kenton bar. I’ve tried to go for a walk this morning Your workmen didnt move so l could pass in the safe 2metre distance. All of them are working in groups or chatting and smoking in groups. When l said to one group you should be metres apart they laughed and said Its ok we are lovers Maybe someone should be telling your workers they are putting peoples health at risk. Wont be laughing if they get this virus.

    • Avatar John Plebgate

      Why don’t you complain to City fibre or Vodafone then. Or whatever their uniform said on it. You left a comment on a review site completely unrelated to the workmen.

      Dunno why their first area to target is Kenton and Blakelaw pure backwards people round there and poverty stricken.

  5. Avatar Stu

    John plebgate.
    What a surname by the way.
    May I ask why you left a comment like you did, did you think it was necessary to call all people from Kenton and blakelaw backwards and poverty stricken!!
    In which non poverty or non backward area do you live in if you don’t mind me asking, and also why so bitter about it all. Feel free to reply on this “review site” as you quoted,

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