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Cityfibre UK Begins 1Gbps FTTH Broadband Build in Inverness

Sunday, June 14th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 4,616
cityfibre optical fibre in trench

Cityfibre’s civil engineering teams have now started to build a new £20m 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) based broadband ISP network in the city of Inverness (Scotland). Some of the first to benefit are expected to be in the Balloch, Culloden, Smithton, Resaurie, Westhill, Raigmore and Crown areas.

The new network will no doubt benefit from Cityfibre and Capita’s state aid supported £9.5m contract under the UK Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme, which has been separately tasked with building a new Dark Fibre network to connect 152 public sector sites (schools, council etc.) across the challenging areas of Inverness, Fort William, Thurso and Wick (here).

However the latest deployment, which focuses on connecting local homes and businesses, represents a significant commercial extension and forms part of their wider £4bn investment (here). Under this project Cityfibre aims to cover around 1 million premises by the end of 2021 and then 8 million across 100+ cities and towns (c.30% of the UK), which is expected to be “substantially completed” by the end of 2025.

The local plans for Inverness suggest that civil engineering, which is being delivered by contractor GCU UK Limited, will be taking place on a massive scale over the next few months and the bulk of that then looks likely to complete by October 2021. However a formal completion date has not yet been announced.

The city looks to be a good target for Cityfibre because their gigabit-capable rival, Virgin Media, has zero presence in that area (not unlike the situation in Stirling) and Openreach (BT) similarly only has a limited deployment of FTTP services. As such the network operator should be able to scoop a strong first-mover advantage if they can build fast enough (it certainly looks as if this will be a relatively rapid deployment).

At present Cityfibre has two residential ISPs on their FTTH network, Vodafone and TalkTalk, although the latter has yet to go live outside of their limited FibreNation patch. Meanwhile the only cities where Vodafone has an agreement to sell Gigafast Broadband are in the following locations: Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Aberdeen, Stirling, Coventry, Huddersfield, Leeds, Cambridge, Southend, Bournemouth, Northampton and Edinburgh (no mention of Inverness, yet).

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26 Responses
  1. Avatar Pete says:

    Yep its GCU doing the Civils, they started construction in April. For those wanting to know when their street/road will be cabled up, send your details to: streetworks-scotland@cityfibre.com Mine is apparenly being done in the “next few weeks” (I Live in Westhill).

    1. Avatar Pete says:

      I should also add they will be using existing Openreach ducts where possible, though on the main roads they appear to be installing new ducts, eg Tower Road, Westhill. So you may be lucky enough not to get your front drive/garden dug up!

    2. Avatar Max says:

      I’m up in Dingwall, got a room for rent when gigabit arrives!? 🙂

    3. Avatar Max says:

      I forgot to add as well, will this be a rollout to the ENTIRE of Inverness or only select areas?

    4. Avatar Pete says:

      Pretty sure CityFibre will be covering the whole of Inverness, not just certain areas. Huge CityFibre activity in many areas right now: Raigmore, Inshes, Westhill, Culloden, Smithton, Balloch, City Centre, Crown etc

    5. Avatar Max says:

      Thank god, I thought we’d be stuck with terrible FTTC until 2025. I was already actively considering a move from where I am now but Inverness has just been added to the list!

    6. Avatar Connor Milligan says:

      @Pete

      That’s certainly not been the case in Aberdeen

      CityFibre have been using all of their own ducts and cabinets. Not a single openreach duct has been used.

    7. Avatar John says:

      CityFibre won’t do EVERY street in Inverness

      They typically do around 85% of a City they are rolling out in.

    8. Avatar Jack says:

      Will CityFibre generally install fibre to a second floor apartment?

    9. Avatar Connor Milligan says:

      @jack in Aberdeen they have installed to second floor flats with no issues.

    10. Avatar Jack says:

      Cheers Connor, I live in the Inverness City Centre on Chapel Street, there’s a quite big path infront of my flat and I’m on the second floor. Hoping I’ll be able to sign up soon, have sent an email to the one provided above.

    11. Avatar ex-alusufferer says:

      @jack if anyone in the building orders, they bring a junction box up to the middle of the building at the front and have connections for all flats ready. then bring them in from there as individual flats order

  2. Avatar Love Broadband says:

    In the picture those fibres are only 2 inches under the pavement!

    Next time Gas/Water (etc) roadworks happen they are surely going to be dug up by accident?

    What protections are in place to stop massive outages happening?

    1. Avatar Gary says:

      The same protections that are already there for the water and gas services you mentioned I would expect. They don’t generally just start digging and hope there’s nothing buried there.

    2. Avatar Love Broadband says:

      @Gary,

      Thanks for replying.

      You are assuming roadworks people have common sense!

      Roadworks often make tons of mistakes and will often wreck other utilities unintentionally.

      I know nobody cares on here, but I cannot help think all these shallow fibres are going to end up being dug up accidentally and huge outages will happen when we all depend on it.

      Are these fibre rollouts being conducted in protected loops or single feed?

      Traditional telecoms is 2 feet deep and “expected” to be there, whereas 2 inch under the pavement is a pretty lazy rollout and is waiting for a disaster.

    3. Avatar John says:

      The savings from digging a couple inches down compared to digging 600mm deep massively outweighs the small amount spent on repairing the few breaks that occur.

      Telecoms are installed that deep on new builds but I’ve never seen operator come along and dig up the pavement and install fibre 2 feet deep, for the cost reason above.

      Breaks don’t happen as often as you think.

      The fact there’s an obvious scar in a pavement from 1 end of the street to the other, with off shoots to every property with a plastic Toby in the ground, should be a giveaway to anyone digging up the pavement later on that there’s something buried there.

    4. Avatar FibreBubble says:

      Yes very shoddy build.

      Unprotected and very shallow. Not detected by normal cable tracing kit.

      Will be cut and worse, damaged and backfilled. Tubes will fill up with silt.

      Directly buried unprotected telecom plant is not a new idea but it is always a mistake in the long run.

    5. Avatar Gary says:

      @love Broadband, don’t get me wrong i don’t disagree with you, It’s not very deep at all, and you don’t have the usual scope for error that depth and marker tapes provide.

      On the flip side trenching at such a shallow depth reduces the risks of damage to existing services.

    6. Avatar CarlT says:

      ‘Traditional’ telecoms is 350 mm deep. That stuff should have 250 mm of cover.

      The fibre will be on maps and companies expect to find the stuff between 250 and 350 mm. Telecoms duct of all varieties are supposed to be in that coverage range.

      I’m not aware of a large uptick in fibre cuts where these have been deployed. There’s 5 km of it in a straight run between Middleton and Rothwell in West Yorkshire that’s narrow trenched microduct as this is and has been fine.

      I’m kinda more interested in what that green duct that looks like CATV is doing so shallow – it’s barely under the surface full stop.

      As far as faults, etc, go the best people to ask about this would be VM. They have more of it than anyone else in the UK and it seems to have been fine.

      There do seem to be more blockages immediately after build with the microducting than with larger ducting which have had to be sorted, however this seems to have been specific in Leeds at least to the CityFibre build. The VM FTTP build has had no more issues immediately post-install than the VM HFC build.

  3. Avatar Dug says:

    @Pete, They started in November, I live in Cradlehall and my street was done then. They are not using BT ducting, they have dug trenches and installed their own fibre ducting running back to a new building on the UHI campus.

    1. Avatar Max says:

      Have you already been able to order service through Vodafone? If so, chuck a speedtest!!

  4. Avatar Stuart Harvey says:

    what about Nairn it a big town as well

  5. Avatar Dug says:

    @Max, no service yet, I’ve been religiously checking Vodafone and google on a daily basis but I’m not seeing any job adverts for installers either from CF or Vodafone. Think the article must be right, wish they would hurry up and arrange a service provider.

  6. Avatar Brian macpherson says:

    We live in 7 dovecote park, culloden, Inverness. After day one of the work, I have to complain about the mess in the way they have treated my garden flower border as it’s full of stones created by the drilling of the adjoining pavement, plus sand, concrete etc. Etc. Before the workmen went home for the day, a senior guy inspected the work, but he clearly thought the mess was acceptable. We have spent months working on the flower beds . One workman even knelt down on top of the flowers crushing them. What are going to do about this . I intend to report this via the media. Brian macpherson. Photos are available.

  7. Avatar Steve says:

    I’m not fussed about fttp to be fair in just hoping this is going to speed up 5g in Inverness, I’ve got a 5g phone on three with unlimited data and I know that cityfibre is providing the backhaul to three, speeds should hopefully be good enough not as fast as fttp but at least I won’t have to pay more lol

  8. Avatar Gordie says:

    Cables installed a couple of weeks ago now. Been in touch with my ISP TalkTalk who state they don’t offer a gigabit connection. If you go into their support forum, they do have one called UFO (Ultra Fibre Optic) so even their own staff aren’t aware of what they offer. Question is though, who will be supplying gigabit connection in Inverness and when does it start to go live? Also what will be included in the connection?

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