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Cityfibre Begin £24m 1Gbps FTTP Broadband Rollout in Slough

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 (4:59 pm) - Score 2,784
cityfibre_fttp_cabinet_engineer

Cityfibre UK has today announced that they’ve commenced build on their £24 million project to deploy a new gigabit broadband capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTH) network across the Berkshire town of Slough, which is being supported by civil engineering firm VolkerSmart Technologies.

The first place in the town to see some activity will be Slough’s Trading Estate area, although it’s not known precisely how many premises Cityfibre will aim to cover or how long their build will last. The operator already has a Dark Fibre network in the town and this will form the foundation as they extend out toward local homes and businesses.

NOTE: Cityfibre tends to target “nearly every home” (85%+) in the areas they enter.

As usual this project forms part of the operator’s wider £4bn investment plan (here), which currently 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) – the latter target is expected to be “substantially completed” by the end of 2025. The network is usually supported by their residential ISP partners, such as Vodafone and / or TalkTalk.

Stacey King, CityFibre’s City Manager for Slough, said:

“Slough’s residents’ digital future is just around the corner. Work is now underway and that is something to be celebrated. Full Fibre broadband will help households access all the latest entertainment at lightning speed, but the benefits are far deeper than that – from enabling smart home technology to giving people the freedom to work from home with ease.

The investment also comes at a critical time for Slough’s forward-thinking business community. Next generation Full Fibre connectivity can drive innovation and productivity, ultimately giving businesses the platform they need to realise their growth ambitions. And it won’t just improve business locally – it will also help businesses take their products or services to an international audience.”

One catch here is that Cityfibre will face some strong local competition for gigabit-class home broadband connectivity. At present most of the local premises are already covered by Virgin Media’s 1Gbps capable cable network and Openreach is also working to rollout FTTP across the town. On top of that there’s a little bit of MDU (apartment blocks) coverage via Hyperoptic.

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11 Responses
  1. JamesW says:

    What’s the point in doing a town where there is already FTTP being rolled out but yet areas which are crying out for it are ignored?

    Do the managers just have a dart board in the office and go, ok lets do that area next….

    Surely ROI won’t be great if many other ISP’s are available in the area….

    1. NE555 says:

      There isn’t a huge pent-up demand for ultrafast, but there *is* huge demand for cheap. (Also reliable and fast – but only if it’s cheap).

      Vodafone are currently offering 35M/35M for £23 – which is 50p cheaper than Talktalk’s FTTC offering – or 100M/100M for £28.

      Vodafone’s strategy appears to be to undercut Openreach-based ISPs and Virgin, and I’m guessing Cityfibre’s wholesale pricing undercuts Openreach’s by sufficient margin to allow this.

      This strategy requires building in urban areas where the cost per property passed is low. Whether Cityfibre and/or Vodafone can sustain this in the long term remains to be seen.

      In rural communities, the cost per property passed is much higher, but also the take-up is much higher when the only alternative is slow ADSL. This gives a different business model for the likes of Gigaclear.

    2. GNewton says:

      This illustrates the problem that market competition for the last mile fibre infrastructures, with its cherry-picking approach, isn’t suitable for this backwards country. You don’t build multpile gas pipes, or water pipes, or power lines going into the same premise. It’s time to change things for fibre infrastructures, it has to be treated like a utility, decades of wrong policies now showing this mess!

    3. Fight for FTTC in Farnham Royal says:

      We are not a rural community – we are over 600 relatively densely packed houses crying out for FTTC!!!…

      We border slough immediately to the North in Farnham Royal yet we have been badgering Openreach since 2012 to get FTTC but they say they have “no plans to upgrade our cabinet”. Yet, Slough has 3 competing providers building out FTTP + VM. What is going on?

      There appear to be over 600 premises connected to our cabinet (#6), with the majority getting <5Mbps speed. We are 1 mile from the fibre enabled exchange in Farnham Common with I believe ducting going all the way from the exchange to within a few metres of our cabinet. Can anyone explain what Openreach (and DCMS?) is playing at prioritising upgrading existing FTTC homes to FTTP when they have 600 households desperate for FTTC next door?

  2. Essa Moshiri says:

    @GNewton does have a very good point, Like with roads and airport etc, the fiber should be driven and owned by the state, it cost ineffective if you have multiple Water supplier who put in their own pipes for the same service, or multiple Electricity suppliers who each dig up the roads to put in the cables to provide their services to an area.

    It is far better for the Government / Local council have the ownership of the dark fiber and individual organisation can use this Dark Fiber to provide services to households and business in different towns and cites.

    There is an alternative, and that is go full wireless! I.E the local council ensure every inch of the county is covered in 5G connection, and on the back of that negotiate a compelling deal which provide unlimited access to the Internet via 5G network.

    1. NE555 says:

      > It is far better for the Government / Local council have the ownership of the dark fiber and individual organisation can use this Dark Fiber to provide services to households and business in different towns and cites.

      I think instead the question should be asked: *why* do altnets choose to build from scratch, rather than use Openreach’s existing FTTP infrastructure?

      Essentially, the market is saying that the Openreach FTTP wholesale service is overpriced. If it were priced at a level that reflected realistic capital and operational costs of FTTP then there would be no incentive to dig up the roads again.

      One possible explanation is that the Openreach FTTP service is overpriced because of the way the organization is run (i.e. Cityfibre and friends can do the job much more efficiently).

      Another is that Openreach are exploiting a de-facto monopoly, compounded by OFCOM regulation which sets a floor price on Openreach FTTP – done *explicitly* to incentivise other operators to build (or to avoid Openreach squashing the competition, whichever way you look at it).

      Another is that companies installing narrow trenches with microducting are doing the job “on the cheap”. It works initially, but in the long term may turn out to be less maintainable or expandable than traditional ducting which is more expensive up-front.

      Yet another is that the altnets are selling below cost today in order to gain market share in the hope of future profits. Everyone who invested in railways knew that they would be critical to the economy. However almost everyone underestimated the costs and overestimated the returns (and in the end lost their money).

  3. Regorimabitbackward says:

    I have a question? In an ideal situation in a large residential area say, how many multiple connections could one 5G mast support and sustain those connections to the same level as fixed broad band under all weather conditions and how far would the signal travel even with external aerials and local terrain my guess is that for 5G to be an alternative for every home business etc would be huge if not close to fttp costs.

  4. MR S R Jackson says:

    Im waiting to see if cityfibre cover my street in inverness they are currently laying cables in other parts of the city. But I’m also interested to see if three launch 5g in inverness cos they use cityfibre for backhaul and it might be cheaper to use 5g rather than fttp. Does anyone know do they have to finish laying cables all over the city before they switch it on or do they switch bits of the fibre on at certain times.

  5. Harold McGiffen says:

    Well these are interesting times. There appears to be three different FTTP providers rolling out services in the town.

    1) BT Openreach
    2) CityFibre
    3) CloudHQ Didcot Fibre Ltd

    For example,

    Highway Authority:
    Slough Borough Council

    Location:
    From Junction of Buckingham Avenue to Junction of Royston Way

    Description:
    Excavation works to install duct and build associated chambers for fibre optic cable installation

    Permit status:
    Granted

    Works ref:
    F7007CHQRED000004

    Current status:
    Planned work about to start

    Work info last updated:
    27/10/2020 00:00

    Last updated on one.network:
    04/11/2020 07:31

    Data source:
    CloudHQ Didcot Fibre GP Ltd

    Although there is information out there about 1) and 2), there is nothing around about 3). CloudHQ appear to be a company specialising in data centres and they don’t mention anything about fibre broadband services.

    Does anyone know more?

    Unbelievable so much is happening all of a sudden. Previously it was a case of choosing between BT and VM, now it looks like there will be four different providers with their own infrastructure.

  6. Snail says:

    CloudHQ Didcot Fibre GP Ltd

    Appear to be for traffic lights, signals, and other services not domestic broadband

  7. Fight for FTTC in Farnham Royal says:

    We border slough to the North in Farnham Royal yet we have been badgering Openreach since 2012 to get FTTC but they say they have “no plans to upgrade our cabinet”. Yet, Slough has 3 competing providers offering FTTP. What is going on?
    There appear to be 600 premises connected to our cabinet (#6), with the majority getting <5Mbps speed. We are 1 mile from the fibre enabled exchange with I believe ducting going all the way from the exchange to within a few metres of our cabinet. Can anyone explain what Openreach (and DCMS?) is playing at prioritising upgrading existing FTTC homes to FTTP when they have 600 households desperate for FTTC next door?

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