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£24m Cityfibre 1Gb FTTH Broadband Build Progress in Ipswich

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 (8:36 am) - Score 2,630
cityfibre_looking_up_ftth_street_blue_barriers_SHAUN

Full fibre developer Cityfibre appears to have recently started the build phase of their new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) based broadband ISP network in the Suffolk (England) town of Ipswich, which is expected to cost the operator around £24 million to complete by the autumn of 2022.

Yesterday we reported that another Suffolk town – Bury St Edmunds – had recently started its FTTH build under Cityfibre’s commercial investment (here). Similarly Ipswich’s new network will also be underpinned by the same 114km long Dark Fibre network, which was constructed as part of an earlier (separate) agreement to connect public sector sites across 10 of the county’s towns with the support of public funding (here).

NOTE: Cityfibre tends to target 85%+ coverage of every UK city or town they enter, but so far they haven’t said exactly how many premises will benefit in Ipswich.

As usual all of this forms part of the operator’s wider £4bn UK investment project, which aims to cover around 1 million homes and businesses by the end of 2021 and then 8 million in the future (expected to be largely completed by the end of 2025). At present some 62 UK cities and towns have been identified for their roll-out plan (here) and we expect this to hit 100+ in the future, once the FibreNation plan has been fully integrated.

The £24m FTTH build in Ipswich is being supported by civil engineering partner VolkerSmart Technologies, which only secured the contract at the end of February 2020. Meanwhile reports from local residents have now helped us to confirm that local construction work has recently begun, which initially seems to focus on the central north western half of the town (pictured top).

cityfibre pavement telegraph pole fibre

Cityfibre also appears to be making some use of Openreach’s (BT) existing telegraph poles (PIA / DPA), as can be seen in the adjacent picture. Otherwise the main works are expected to include excavating 300,000m of new trenches and installing ducting, before blowing, splicing and finally testing the new fibre optic cables.

In terms of local competition, Virgin Media’s soon-to-be 1Gbps capable broadband network already covers the vast majority of the town, while Openreach’s rival FTTP network only exists in a few tiny patches but they do have a sizeable level of hybrid fibre G.fast coverage (330Mbps capable for some but real speeds are often much slower).

As usual Cityfibre’s new network will be sold to local homes via Vodafone’s comparatively cheap UK ISP Gigafast Broadband packages (set to be joined by TalkTalk in the future).

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Ryan says:

    Very Jealous.

    Whole place has Virgin, G Fast and some but limited FTTP.

    Meanwhile, a town of 20K houses has just FTTC.

    I’ve mentioned this before but I don’t know why some alt nets target the areas they would have no competition in, they would clear up and keep hold of the market with relative ease.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Depends on a lot of factors, not least whether or not Cityfibre can find a way to establish their Dark Fibre network in an area first (even if it initially only connects public sector and biz sites). Not all towns or local authorities are created equal and the challenges vary like the wind.

      In fairness there are quite a few altnets around targeting smaller towns and Cityfibre are doing a few of those too, but there are a lot of towns in the UK.

    2. Avatar Rich says:

      Not much has g.fast, I certainly can’t get it. There is some but it is very patchy.

      We do have virgin, but no idea when 1gb is coming from them. I would love cityfibre to be an option but I imagine we will get missed out again, ip2 area.

  2. Avatar Matthew says:

    It was very obvious when Cityfibre started getting these contracts what was going to happen.

  3. Avatar Rich says:

    Is Vodafone the only ISP on CityFibre still? Are there any business ISPs offering multi gig packages on it?

  4. Avatar CJ says:

    I live in Kesgrave, which is basically joined to Ipswich. We have no Virgin, only FTTC and the coverage of that is patchy. I live over a kilometre from my cabinet and as a result of that and aluminum wiring I get barely 20 Mbps.

    I don’t know if the CityFibre install includes where I live but I doubt it. The fact that CityFibre are probably going to target areas which either already have VM or good FTTC coverage just goes to show what a joke the whole ultrafast project is.

    According to Better Broadband for Suffolk, my address is in phase 3 of their upgrade plans but there is no information on what that means or when anything will happen. It’s very frustrating.

  5. Avatar Des says:

    @CJ

    Don’t know if you’ll read this so late, but openreach are out in Grange farm laying FTTP now. A quick chat with the engineer suggests it’ll be a couple of months, but they’re starting with houses that have been built in the last 15-20 years and then going for the older houses from there.

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