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Cityfibre’s 1Gbps FTTH Broadband Goes Live in Northampton UK

Monday, April 20th, 2020 (8:51 am) - Score 4,899
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After starting the roll-out in September 2019, it now looks as if Cityfibre’s new £40m and 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband ISP network in the East Midlands (England) town of Northampton, which is initially being supported by Vodafone (and TalkTalk to follow), has finally gone live for their first customers.

Previously the company operated a 45km long Dark Fibre network in the area, which was used to serve public sector sites and businesses with bespoke connectivity, but it’s now helping to form the backbone for their new FTTH network. The new service aims to reach “almost every home and business in the town” (they usually target 85%+ coverage) and should be “largely complete” by the end of 2022.

Street works began last year around the town’s southern half – including Brackmills, Hardingstone and Wootton (with Grange Park, Collingtree and East Hunsbury to follow) – and, according to Thinkbroadband, the network now appears to be live in parts of the Hardingstone and Wootton areas. A little bit of overlap exists with Openreach’s (BT) new FTTP network, while they’ve yet to really enter areas controlled by Virgin Media’s cable.

Some reports have previously predicted that Cityfibre’s deployment could boost the wider Northampton economy by approximately £160m, although accurately estimating the economic impact of faster broadband speeds is notoriously difficult and should be taken with a pinch of salt; particularly then they have to overbuild rival gigabit networks.

As usual all of this forms part of the operator’s £4bn investment programme, which aims to cover around 1 million premises 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 related Gigafast Broadband packages from Vodafone currently cost from £28 per month for an unlimited 200Mbps (symmetric speed) service on an 18 month contract, including free installation (you also get a good wireless router), which rises to £48 per month for their top 900Mbps (Gigabit) tier (in the middle is a 500Mbps option for £38).

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18 Responses
  1. Avatar joe

    Live but can they do any connection with covid?

    • Yes it does seem so, albeit with certain restrictions. Telecoms folk are Key Workers and so the decision is up to the operators.

      https://www.cityfibre.com/coronavirus-response/

    • Avatar Badem

      I believe only Openreach have stopped internal home visits at present, FTTP providers utilise their own installation contractors and these are still doing internal visits as far as I can see.

      In fact this is probably the best time to get installed, should be a much shorter installation timescale depending on demand in the area.

  2. Avatar dave

    not live in Wootton Northampton yet still waiting. but hardingstone is live and has it was completed first would think Wootton to follow soon.?

    • Avatar RR

      I heard Wootton was going to go live in May, a few streets top end of village are live as is most of Wootton Fields north of curtlee hill, simpson manor. But this was before Covid lockdown, also first installs were due 1st April, but then order books got pushed back to June and ive not heard of anyone that had a install done (could be wrong there maybe a couple sneaked through).
      Cityfibre stopped work for about 3 weeks, but last week they started up again in anger.

    • Probably suffering from the same glut on essential supplies (e.g. tarmac etc.) and manpower as everybody else, due to COVID-19.

    • Avatar joe

      Do you mean a dearth Mark!

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @Joe

      You are doing very well to find tarmac, plaster and some kinds of cements ATM.

      Elements of the supply chain are totally seized up.

      That is why we shut most things down some weeks ago.

    • Avatar joe

      @A_Builder

      I know perfectly well. But Glut is excess, dearth is lack of something!

  3. Avatar Bonjovi

    Its insane to still be doing internal home installations in the current climate. Openreach should be praised for making the right decision early and showing real leadership in the market. Virgin have continued and rightly come under pressure but smaller ALT-NETs should be holding back on home installations and leaving it at the final point before an internal fit.

    In my opinion they are simply trying to exploit an opportunity by the larger operators taking the morally correct decision. If you have connectivity then right now that is enough. Home installs should be reserved for the vulnerable or key workers to allow them to work safely.

    • Avatar RR

      It would be a good time for them to think up a external only install method. I managed to get Openreach to do my FTTP install after lockdown by drilling my own hole, it consisted of poking a cable through and plugging ONT into a power socket. ONT and cable packages handed over same way a delivery company does it, and a spray/gloves/antibac and wipedown by me.
      I think I was lucky though as neighbour just had their order cancelled regardless, I was fortunate to get a call from the engineer on the day to explain what I can do.

    • Avatar Mot

      @RR – How did they complete the splice or was the hole drilled large enough to allow the terminated fibre through? They usually carry out the splice internally. The pole/remote end is pre-terminated in my experience. Just asking out of interest.

    • Avatar RR

      Mine was a 30ft cable with the green ONT optical connector on the end so I all I did was poke the cable through from inside out, so a normal size hole is all that was needed, it so happens that the only super long drill bit I had was quite thick so it would have been big enough to go plug through first if need be! Engineer then just cut to length and spliced the 2 week previously fed cable from chamber to front door. All secured in a little grey box on outside.
      My daughter 6 months previously they as you say poked cable straight from street through wall and spliced green connector on end to plug into ONT, I was there for her install and engineer did point out saying that if it stops working it will be that plug thats the problem, so maybe they considered that method a weak point on installs.

    • Avatar RR

      And as if by magic this appeared on thinkbroadband forums.

      https://forums.thinkbroadband.com/fibre/t/4642664-green-ont-connector-was-faulty-fttp.html

      Mine was not like that, factory terminated cable.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      Openreach has changed how it installs now…

      Factory fitted end starts in the house and goes to a splice point on the outside of the property where is it spliced onto the bit of fibre coming in from the street.

      Saves the connector issues and fun of stripping the outdoor black covering off the cable when done the old way.

  4. Avatar mike

    Most people’s walls are white or light coloured. Why would you mount an ugly black box like that? Can’t it come in white?

  5. Avatar dave

    Wootton now live anyone had a gigafast install done in this area.? I gave Vodafone a call and they said installs are been done still. but I really have doubts that they know what gigafast is lol

    • Avatar anon

      interesting yet somewhat demoralising remark. You do realise they have call centres not just in the UK and not all call centres are up-skilled to deal with the gigafast product. You may see the engineers have dug up the road and put the relevant cabling in but then there’s also the need for GPON splitters and the cabinets to be released (and the POP tested) before the infrastructure is in place. Not to mention if you get any debris after install they then may have to blow the fibre which can take another week or 2 after install. You can usually place pre-orders online in this instance though, patience is key.

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