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Cityfibre to Start FTTP Rollout for Reading, Plymouth and Gloucester

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 (12:18 pm) - Score 2,472
cityfibre engineer over reel of purple fibre

Cityfibre has announced that their plan to rollout a new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP network across the large UK town of Reading (Berkshire), the city of Gloucester (Gloucestershire) and Plymouth (Devon), costing £58m, £31m and £52m respectively, is due to begin in January 2021.

The project forms part of Cityfibre’s wider £4bn investment programme (here and 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 operator usually aims to cover 85%+ of premises in each location they target.

NOTE: Cityfibre’s network is supported by various ISPs, such as Vodafone (Gigafast Broadband), TalkTalk and Zen Internet etc., although they aren’t all live or available in every covered town/city.

The Kier Group has been contracted to handle the civil engineering work in Gloucester, while Instalcom Ltd will do the same for Reading and Oakway Ltd is handling Plymouth. As usual Cityfibre will use their existing Dark Fibre infrastructure as a foundation for the new networks, as well as working closely with the local authority.

In terms of Reading, Cityfibre’s biggest gigabit-capable competitor will be Virgin Media, although Openreach, Hyperoptic, Glide and OFNL also have FTTP deployments in some parts of the town. The story in Gloucester is almost identical, except for the absence of Hyperoptic’s service in local MDUs. Similarly, Plymouth is currently dominated by Virgin Media, with Openreach having a few small patches of FTTP.

UPDATE 3rd Dec 2020

Added Plymouth too as many details are similar and they were only announced a day later.

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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.
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12 Responses
  1. Jay says:

    Great news!
    Could it be that Cityfibre end up being the new Openreach come end of the 2030..ish, albeit with no incentive to share ducts/resell.

    What will the market look like when there are circa 3 major players with their own ducts/infra and only OR being forced to resell?

    Interesting time and regardless of how is pans out, a good news for Reading and Glous residents

    1. A_Builder says:

      OR will already have ducts in most places?

      Are City building all their own or are they using PIA?

      There will almost certainly be some form of wholesaling forced on the industry if it becomes fragmented but only if they don’t do it of their own volition. As a lot of players are making noises about wholesale then I suspect this will largely solve itself.

      At least someone is building something! We could be back to the bad old days of arguing wether GFast should be DP or PCP deployed as that was the “great white hope” happily in a different place now.

    2. Meadmodj says:

      Still too many uncertainties compounded by the Government reneging on their 2025 promise. OR FF appear (at least in the first few phases) to be avoiding high VM coverage/take-up. Cityfibre’s competition in these two towns is VM so much will depend on VM’s approach regarding pricing and wholesale access.

      OR will continue to support New Build and will probably reassess these towns once the dust has settled. OR do not have 100% of New Builds and I reckon they realistically know they will end up with only a percentage of the country’s premises, especially if there are two wholesale Ultra/Giga suppliers established by the time they get there. So their focus will be what is profitable.

      In high competition areas they may choose to simply cover the 15%ish Cityfibre are not committed to cover in their chosen locations and then work back in at OR’s own pace or if competition is very high introduce a low cost high ratio base product in areas where there is heavy competition (to meet low data/telephony).

      Nothing is off the table, BT, Sky etc may make agreements with Cityfibre and others. ZEN has already kicked this off.

      It can go so many ways.

    3. cdh1981 says:

      CF are already sharing ducts and poles with Openreach in certain areas (Coventry being one) via PIA, so it would be pretty spiteful of them not to do the same in areas where they have installed their own residential ducts, and another company would like access.

  2. Optical says:

    Would be great if Sky/BT made agreements with Cityfibre.
    And I also wish Cityfibre would start work in Bath..

    1. idk says:

      Sky? Maybe, but BT? No way on Earth will that ever happen. BT owns Openreach and to backstab their own Network that they own and operate will just never happen.

      I’m actually hoping that Sky signs a contract with CityFibre though.

  3. idk says:

    CityFibre is getting closer and closer to my area
    Oh yea

    1. Jude says:

      I literally live a 15 minute drive from Gloucester but I doubt we will ever get it. Shame as 5k people live in this town and we are all stuck on 60mbps BT lines.

  4. fibreless says:

    In Reading and wondering if City Fibre’s build plan will be shared, what areas of Reading will they cover? I’ve checked their online tool but no info and read elsewhere that it isn’t that accurate.

    1. Jay says:

      Hi Fibreless,

      Long shot but perhaps this might help. Does using the online postcode tool tell you:
      a) We are planning a build in your area OR
      b) Some malarkey about not in your area, contact us later etc etc

      If it is a) then there is a sliver of hope

  5. Mark Whamond-Cornelius says:

    Mine for address in Plymouth has changed from B to A this week

  6. Mark Whamond-Cornelius says:

    Strangely they have announced start of build in my area of Plymouth in the last few weeks and now also Openreach are also planning full fibre in my street shortly. We could have Openreach, Cityfibre and Virgin soon. Anu ideas how long from when Openreach state we are starting build full fibre 8n your area before it is actually ready to order?

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