» ISP News » 

Cityfibre Nears 300,000 UK Full Fibre Premises Build Milestone UPDATE

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 (11:00 am) - Score 3,097

The latest independent data has estimated that Cityfibre’s £4bn programme, which aims to roll-out a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband ISP network to cover 8 million UK premises (hopes to be substantially completed by the end of 2025), has now reached a total of 279,801 premises passed.

At present Phase One of Cityfibre’s deployment has already committed upwards of £500m to cover a “minimum” of 1 million homes and businesses by the end of 2021 (here). The rollout for this started very gradually at the end of 2018 and is currently still ramping-up, albeit likely to be slowed by the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in 2020.

Since then there’s been a big change because Cityfibre recently completed the acquisition of TalkTalk’s rival FibreNation project (here), which at the time had already covered most of York and a big chunk of Dewsbury with their own Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network.

Sadly Cityfibre won’t tell us how many premises passed they’ve covered so far due to “commercial reasons” (other operators don’t seem to have this problem), only that they’re currently active in 20 out of the 62 UK cities and towns currently being targeted for the project (the build is eventually expected to reach 100 cities and towns, once FibreNation’s plan is fully integrated).

Thankfully Andrew over at Thinkbroadband was able to help fill in some of the blanks via his latest independent modelling, which reveals that Cityfibre has now delivered an estimated 279,801 premises passed. The figure splits down as 84,953 from the FibreNation (FN) side and 194,848 from Cityfibre.

The TBB data only includes areas where they can confirm Cityfibre’s network as being live for service, thus it’s plausible that the operator’s own internal figures may have already hit the 300,000 mark.

Cityfibre’s £4bn Project – Build Progress
February 2019 – 25,445 Premises
August 2019 – 70,748 Premises
October 2019 – 100,692 Premises
April 2020 – 279,801 Premises (194,848 excluding FN)

At the last update we estimated that, between February and August 2019, the operator had achieved a build rate of roughly 7,550 premises per month over a period of six months, which increased to approximately 15,000 premises passed per month (double the prior rate) between August and the end of October 2019.

NOTE: At present we can’t examine FN’s impact on the build pace as not enough is known about their integration into CF or recent build performance.

Excluding FN, if we only look at the build through November 2019 to April 2020 – roughly reflecting a period of five and a half months – then Cityfibre by itself has added about 94,000 premises or a build rate of c.17,000 per month (NOTE: COVID-19 may well have impacted the past four weeks).

Last October 2019 we estimated that, assuming they’d been able to start at a full build rate in 2019, then over 3 years Cityfibre would have needed to deliver c.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 now need to reach an even faster deployment rate in the near future and we’re still a long way from that.

The addition of FN should help to mitigate this, at least in the short term, but every operator is likely to feel some impact from the COVID-19 crisis. The Government has allowed full fibre builds to continue, but that’s less relevant if other parts of your supply and administration chain are still being slowed or have ground to a halt.

Likewise the workforce will be impacted to some degree by the lockdown (i.e. some people will be ill and need to self-isolate for longer than usual, while others will have children to monitor etc.). The looming economic crisis is another factor that could be hard to gauge, with investors likely to become more cautious. But on the upside full fibre projects remain attractive and well supported by the Government.


Please note that since writing this article it’s become clear that TBB made a mistake and double mapped FibreNation’s primary coverage in York, thus the figure is perhaps closer to 40k than 84k.

Share with Twitter
Share with Linkedin
Share with Facebook
Share with Reddit
Share with Pinterest
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.
Leave a Comment
18 Responses
  1. A_Builder says:

    That is 300k lucky people/businesses then with a gold standard connection.

    1. joe says:

      Mostly still PS/biz connections aren’t they

    2. joe says:

      Is that just inc FibreNation which did bring a lot of domestic.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      No, since late 2018 most of the Cityfibre build has been to homes and that accounts for the majority above.

  2. Andrew Ferguson says:

    The CityFibre Metro Network footprint does not count in the figures. Worth pointing that out.

    Hence why can say this is predominately residential premises

    1. joe says:

      Ah well that makes a lot of sense now.

  3. TR-69 says:

    Thanks Andrew for the figures, I thought they were at millions of prems passed already… clearly not, shows all the marketing works. Long way to go for next year – gl.

  4. SimonHayterUK says:

    Well, for the past 2 months they have been laying it down in the area I live. They currently seem to be ignoring our road for now but there’s at least 6 rounds around my area where I know the cable is in the ground and can even see the purple cable attached to telephone poles, but not a single person can order it… why?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      The part of the network you see being built is just that, only part of the network. It can take several weeks, months and up to a year before some FTTP deployments go live. So many factors play into this. For example, in new areas the street works might begin before the necessary local data centre is fully established or backhaul capacity arrangements connected. In other cases there may be unexpected complications, such as with power supplies or blocked ducts further along the route etc.

    2. MR SIMON HAYTER says:

      Hi Mark, Vodafone had a PR team on Winton highstreet claiming it was active as soon as it passed ones house. I even got a promo code, and a free easter egg.

  5. Jamie Simms says:

    City Fibre announced nearly two years ago that they would be doing FTTH in Leicester making it a Gigabit city and covering a good section but so far only seem to have laid fibre into city centre apartments and seems very slow at doing anything.

    To me it seems very strange as Openreach have got no public plans to do FTTP in Leicester other than new builds and Virgin Gig1 is not due until late 2020 so to me commercially CityFibre could have capitalised on this and got a lot of the market signed up into contracts . Now it appears that they are doing nothing the others will catch up and even possibly get their service Live

  6. Rob says:

    Andrew Ferguson – could you expand on how the estimates have been produced please? Or point to material describing please. Particularly how know a premise live and how infer for surrounding premises.

    CFH did state at end of march that FN network was “nearly 60,000” rather than the ~85000 estimated. Not sure why they would downplay.

    I know this is really tough to estimate !

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I can’t speak for Andrew here, but we have seen many occasions where Cityfibre’s service went live in an area but they didn’t then officially confirm that until a couple of months later.

      Likewise it’s not clear if the 60,000 figure was taken at the start of the year (i.e. based on when the FN deal was first agreed) and just got repeated last month, or the most recent one (FN have been building quite rapidly in Dewsbury etc.).

      Sadly checking this is problematic as Cityfibre don’t really provide many official updates on actual deployment progress, beyond saying when a build has started. TBB’s modelling also tends to be more cautious, so I doubt there’d be a big overestimate, it’s usually the opposite.

    2. Andrew Ferguson says:

      Use of the word modelling is probably confusing in this case, since for many it means we are taking one thing and extrapolating it.

      For the coverage figures it is as simple as looking at where the providers say you can order a service or not. So nothing to do with speed tests which is what lots of people think when they contact me, or inference e.g. because postcode A has it and postcode B is nearby then its properties can order.

      There has been activity in York and Dewsbury since the FN deal.

    3. Rob says:

      Thanks for explanation Andrew.

      Just looking at TB site article this morning on CFH which says
      “With this latest bit of live network added to the other areas the live CityFibre FTTP footprint that we have been able to find is 197,418 premises in size. ”
      (which is more in line with my expectation)

      I guess finger trouble in either the ISP review article or the TB article?

    4. Andrew Ferguson says:

      CityFibre selling via Gigafast 197,417
      CityFibre selling TalkTalk under FibreNation 85,076

      What is the finger problem?

    5. Rob says:

      sorry I misunderstood the TB quote on CFH live network as meaning the combined CFH footprint including FN – rather than just the network offered through Vodafone.

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Vodafone £19.50 (*22.50)
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £20.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*25.00)
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPERFALL21
  • Shell Energy £21.99 (*30.99)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.00 (*38.20)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £70 Reward Card
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Gigaclear £24.00 (*49.00)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £24.00 (*27.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Community Fibre £25.00 (*27.50)
    Speed: 200Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £25.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo Code: HYPERFALL21
  • Virgin Media £28.00 (*52.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3570)
  2. BT (3023)
  3. Politics (1941)
  4. Building Digital UK (1929)
  5. FTTC (1888)
  6. Openreach (1837)
  7. Business (1693)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1480)
  9. Statistics (1410)
  10. FTTH (1365)
  11. 4G (1277)
  12. Fibre Optic (1174)
  13. Virgin Media (1173)
  14. Wireless Internet (1163)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1149)
  16. Vodafone (846)
  17. EE (835)
  18. 5G (772)
  19. TalkTalk (769)
  20. Sky Broadband (747)
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact