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Cityfibre Working to Replace Existing UK FibreNation FTTP Kit

Sunday, September 27th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 4,608
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Cityfibre have recently begun replacing some fairly modern Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based gigabit broadband equipment in areas (e.g. York) that were originally built out by FibreNation (FN), back when the company was still owned by UK ISP TalkTalk.

Just to recap. Cityfibre purchased FibreNation from TalkTalk for £206m earlier this year and then promptly increased their own rollout strategy (here). At the time FN was either already deploying, or planning to deploy, their 1Gbps “Ultra Fibre Optic” network across various locations, such as York, Bolton, Dewsbury, Harrogate, Batley, Heckmondwike, Knaresborough and Ripon (York was their most mature deployment).

As part of that sale TalkTalk agreed to a new wholesale arrangement, which would see them maintain their current access to FibreNation’s network and also gain access to Cityfibre’s wider national FTTP network. Since then Cityfibre has largely kept the two networks separate (running in parallel), but that recently started to change.

The change was spotted after one of TalkTalk’s customers on TBB’s Forum, who was living in an area of York that had recently been covered by the UFO service, suddenly found that their order for the related full fibre package had been disrupted. A spokesperson for Cityfibre told ISPreview.co.uk: “[We’re] working to fully integrate the FibreNation footprint, making it available to all our customers as part of a single national network.”

We also queried whether this had anything to do with the fact that some of FN’s infrastructure contained kit from Huawei, which is classified as a “high risk” vendor by the Government. The spokesperson said, “CityFibre does not use Huawei equipment in our network. We have selected a number of other strategic equipment providers to help power our national rollout. We recently acquired a network containing a small amount of Huawei equipment, but it has always been our plan to remove this as we integrate the networks.”

The move to replace FN’s kit will probably, as above, create some limited disruption in affected areas (e.g. stalling new orders). However, Cityfibre said they expect to complete the replacement over the next 12 months, which also means that they’ll be able to fully integrate FN’s areas into their commercial, technical and operational footprint (i.e. it’ll be made available to serve “all” of Cityfibre’s customer verticals).

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Why retain legacy kit? Makes perfect sense to simply things and integrate them on a single platform.

    Costs a fortune to train people on different systems and keep spares and have support contracts in place.

    Also the wider the estate of hardware the harder it is to rollout software updates and predeploy testing them thoroughly.

    We will see more of this as things start to aggregate in the next 18 months or so.

    1. Avatar A_Builder says:

      *simplify

  2. Avatar Tempest3K says:

    Any chance they’ll take the opportunity to infill as they do this? Would be nice to get off the Openreach string and really annoying that fibre is available just metres away!

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      They aren’t replacing anything involving digging. It’ll all be in buildings I believe, though correction welcome if they have powered equipment in cabinets too.

      Either way no reason this would involve serving new properties.

      Not impossible they’ll infill anyway, just nothing to do with this.

  3. Avatar Stuart says:

    I have talk talk UFO down my street installed by fibrenation my telegraph pole needs cherry picker as telegraph pole can not be climbed but says there cherry picker is broken but when I contact city fibre they say nothing to do with them ….surely it does if they have bought fibrenation (Dewsbury area )

    1. Avatar cdh1981 says:

      Well, the cherry picker will not be anything to do with CityFibre per se, as they contract out that kind of thing to other companies such as Kelly Communications. It’ll be down to the contractor to fix/replace the cherry picker so that the work can be done.

  4. Avatar DaveF says:

    New installs are still getting Huawei ONT and router. I can see a replacement scheme getting started soon if CF want full integration.

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