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Cityfibre Secures Gigabit Full Fibre Deal for Wolverhampton

Thursday, February 6th, 2020 (1:28 pm) - Score 2,212
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Cityfibre has secured the contract to roll-out a new “full fibre” (Dark Fibre) network to connect 170 public sector sites (e.g. schools, libraries and offices) across the West Midlands city of Wolverhampton. The deal is being supported by £4.9m of public funding under the UK Gov’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) scheme.

The city was actually one of the very first places to be awarded funding under the LFFN programme back in March 2018 (here), although for some reason it took them longer than most to assign a supplier. According to the related tender document (contract was technically awarded in December 2019), the total value of this 20 year contract is said to be as much as £28m (here).

As usual Cityfibre will design, build, operate and ultimately own the network, providing Wolverhampton with future-proof full fibre connectivity that will underpin the city’s next phase of technological transformation. It’s also anticipated that the project will benefit The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and support the delivery of IoT initiatives, such as urban traffic control.

The anchor tenancy approach being taken here appears to mirror what has been done in lots of other cities across the UK. Such networks tend to start out with a limited focus on improving public sector connectivity, but once built they’re often extended – using private investment – to reach local businesses and eventually even homes via 1Gbps FTTH broadband ISP products (example).

Rob Hamlin, Chief Commercial Officer at CityFibre, said:

“We are delighted the City of Wolverhampton Council has decided to work with CityFibre on delivering this much-needed upgrade to critical public sector infrastructure. Increasingly local authorities around the country are realising the potential of full fibre to transform places like Wolverhampton into modern, fully connected, digital cities. By choosing a full fibre network, local authorities will be able future proof vital public sector infrastructure for generations to come.”

Councillor Louise Miles said:

“Wolverhampton’s Vision for Education 2030 Commercial and Digital Transformation theme supports the development of digitally innovative and future-proofed learning environments and curriculums that ensure that our learners leave school as some of the most technologically capable young people in the country.

Better connectivity in public buildings is essential to ensure residents are digitally included.

Our libraries are committed to giving people access to new and emerging digital technology through the provision of computers, free WiFi and other digital technologies and developing digital skills.”

Construction of the new network is set to begin in March 2020 and we understand that most of the civil engineering work will be done by Connex 2000, which will apparently use “modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly,” while also working closely with Cityfibre, the City of Wolverhampton Council, and local communities.

The council is also working to facilitate access to local authority owned assets and street furniture to support the roll-out. The aim is to put systems in place to enable commercial rollout based on good practice guidance, which will include identifying suitable assets that are viable for telecoms uses, then agreeing a commercial model to facilitate the rollout and improving access arrangements via leases and non-exclusive wayleaves.

At a recent council meeting the local authority claimed that the benefits of full fibre broadband would be significant: “Over 15 years, full fibre broadband in Wolverhampton would lead to £27 million direct impact, £64 million business impact and £58 million of benefits to households” (Economic Impact of full fibre infrastructure Regeneris January 2018).

We should point out that Virgin Media’s 516Mbps capable cable and fibre optic network (expected to reach speeds of 1Gbps by 2021) is already available to the vast majority of local homes and businesses in the city.

Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Avatar Martin the Mushroom says:

    Another big announcement…….can’t wait to see if they actually build something in the next few years. #PR #notabuilder

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Cityfibre have built, are building and have taken control of full fibre (mostly Dark Fibre) networks across 60 UK towns and cities so far.

    2. Avatar A_Builder says:

      Uh?

      As @MJ says this is a very real company delivering real products on the ground.

      Including connectivity to one of our sites…….

  2. Avatar FTTP says:

    Nothing for Telford yet! 🙁

    1. Avatar Thomas Bibb says:

      Exascale are in Telford with a growing gigabit full fibre network!

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      Stop voting for far-right Tory loons and this may change.

  3. Avatar FinestFibre says:

    I’m sure the civil company is commex 2000!

  4. Avatar Dean Robinson says:

    Hi Mark. It’s Comex 2000. Single m

  5. Avatar John Uncle says:

    Can CityFibre connect properties to their network (with symmetrical speeds) and head end that have just been given FTTP on Openreach? As in can a property be on both Openreach and CityFibre’s networks so customers get a choice between 330 on Openreach and symmetrical 1000 on CityFibre?

    1. Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      They already are with their GPON offerings https://www.aquiss.net/business-broadband-gpon/

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      The two don’t influence one another in any way, shape or form.

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