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Council Deal Helps Cityfibre’s Northampton Full Fibre Rollout

Friday, January 24th, 2020 (8:03 am) - Score 1,259

The Northampton Borough Council (NCC) has reached a new master wayleave (access) and datacentre agreement that will help to boost Cityfibre’s on-going £40 million roll-out of a new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network in the town, which is being supported by UK ISP partner Vodafone.

At present Cityfibre already operates a 45km long Dark Fibre network in Northampton but this was only ever used to serve public sector sites and businesses with bespoke connectivity, although it now helps to form the backbone for their new FTTH network (aiming to reach “almost every home and business in the town” – they usually target 85%+ coverage).

Construction of the new network actually started last September 2019 (here) in Brackmills, Hardingstone and Wootton, with Grange Park, Collingtree and East Hunsbury to follow soon. Assuming all goes to plan then the first live customers should be connected early this year and the build will then be “largely complete” by the end of 2022.

The work may have begun but Cityfibre were still facing a number of potentially delay inducing obstacles. Firstly, they required two datacentre unit sites within the borough to serve each side, and secondly a lot of their build would need to cross land in the ownership of the Council. The latter could have potentially generated a large number (approximately 600-800) of wayleave land access agreements.

The good news is that the NCC has this week approved a series of measures, including a Master Wayleave Agreement (Cityfibre have offered to pay £30,000 each year for 2 years in order to help with the admin costs) and support for a new datacentre, which should help to keep their roll-out plan on track. A rent at market value has also been agreed as part of the 20-year lease of the Data Centre Unit site.

Council Decisions (Cityfibre)

1. Cabinet approved and agreed the delivery of a new fibre network by CityFibre as set out below in the report within the Borough and approved and agreed the arrangements that the Council are putting in place to facilitate this scheme of investment in Northampton.

2. Cabinet delegated to the Economic Growth and Regeneration Manager in consultation with the Lead Member for Regeneration and Planning the Chief Finance Officer and Borough Secretary the authority to enter into the following; – a lease with CityFibre for land at Stone Circle Road for a Data Centre Unit supported by a wayleave with CityFibre Metro Networks Limited and a substation lease with Western Power Distribution Limited to supply electricity to the Data Centre Unit, all of which form part of the scheme of investment in Northampton as set within this report.

3. Cabinet delegated to the Economic Growth and Regeneration Manager the authority to negotiate and enter a Master Wayleave Agreement and associated resourcing Service Agreement with CityFibre on appropriate terms to support the scheme of investment in Northampton.

4. Cabinet delegated to the Economic Growth and Regeneration Manager the authority to agree a process for approving wayleave applications which will form part of the Master Wayleave Agreement and as noted above forms part of this Scheme of investment. The applications will be submitted in stages and the routes considered pursuant to this process.

In terms of the datacentre(s), we should point out that Cityfibre already has one operational at an industrial unit within the Brackmills Industrial Estate, which is said to be feeding the town’s South and West sides, as well as much of the town centre. But the operator requires two such centres within the borough to serve each side.

However one of the two datacentre unit locations that was selected by Cityfibre is on land owned by the council, which is off Stone Circle Road. This location would serve approximately 40,000 premises in the North and East of the borough and is the unit that is being referenced in the above agreement.

Some reports have predicted that Cityfibre’s deployment could boost the wider Northampton economy by approximately £160 million, although accurately estimating the economic impact of faster broadband speeds is notoriously difficult and should be taken with a pinch of salt. Not forgetting that Cityfibre already has a gigabit-capable broadband ISP rival in the town via Virgin Media’s network, which covers the majority of premises.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Danny

    Still waiting to hear when they will start rolling out to Wakefield

  2. Avatar joe

    “(Cityfibre have offered to pay £30,000 each year for 2 years in order to help with the admin costs)” Hmm… expensive really.

    Long though we need a UK wide standard WL agreement and process. Its still too varied.

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