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Four New ISPs join CityFibre’s UK Gigabit Broadband Network

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 (9:57 am) - Score 3,744
cityfibre logo in office building space

Cityfibre has today announced that four new UK ISPs – Air Broadband, Highnet, Triangle Networks and Trunk Networks – have joined their growing national 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to launch consumer services, which complements existing deals with Vodafone, TalkTalk, Giganet and Zen Internet etc.

As most people know Cityfibre has a major £4bn investment programme (here and here), which currently aims to cover around 1 million premises by the end of 2021 with their gigabit-capable “full fibre” network 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 new network has already won significant ISP (wholesale) support from several major residential focused providers (above) and today they’ve added four smaller providers. On top of that there’s also a slew of ISPs that sell their business connectivity solutions, but those represent a different side of the market.

As we’ve said before, the ability to attract support from established ISPs is a key element of any alternative network’s future success, especially those with large-scale ambitions. At the same time those ISPs will, at least in some locations, no longer feel beholden to using Openreach’s rival products. On the other hand, it can be a slow and costly process for ISPs to fully adapt to a new network platform.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

“CityFibre has always set out to be the spark that will drive competition in the market – at both the infrastructure and retail layer. As we welcome four more partners to our growing full fibre networks, we are seeing that competition brought to life. In just over two years, we have created a competitive ecosystem for ISPs that will result in greater choice for ISPs, better services for consumers and a better outcome for the entire country.”

However, one issue that may crop up for consumers is the patch-work approach to availability, which could create confusion (i.e. just because Cityfibre’s FTTP exists in an area, doesn’t mean to say all of their supporting ISPs will be able to offer it). Some of this can’t be helped as it takes time to adapt to new networks, while existing agreements may prevent all ISPs being able to gain immediate access into certain areas.

For example, Air Broadband will initially only offer services in Cambridge, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft. In Scotland, HighNet will launch consumer services in Inverness before expansion across other Scottish markets. In the South of England, Triangle Networks will be offering its services in Milton Keynes, while Trunk Networks will begin marketing services in Eastbourne and Worthing before adding new locations across the South.

We look forward to seeing what kind of new packages will soon become available.

Leave a Comment
19 Responses
  1. Avatar Jake says:

    This is fabulous to see! BT OpenReach should be getting seriously worried now?

    CityFibre is providing a far superior symmetrical product for a lot less money.

    OpenReach insist on rolling with their slow upload design which will come back to haunt them in the near future. Maybe they should redesign their network to compete with CityFibre?

    1. Avatar NE555 says:

      The networks use identical technology: GPON, 2.4G down/1.2G up.

      One reason for not offering symmetric services is revenue protection. I would happily switch from 300/50 to a cheaper 100/100 if it were available.

      It’s also about protecting quality of service. If they were to sell 900/900 FTTP, people would start using it to replace leased lines, and the contention on the upstream bandwidth would quickly become intolerable. CF/Vodafone are just taking the risk.

      When Openreach do start selling symmetric FTTP, reports say it will be using 10 gigabit XGS-PON:
      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/02/openreach-test-xgs-pon-ahead-of-symmetric-fttp-speed-trial.html

      However, those plans seem to have been put on hold thanks to Covid.

    2. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      Both use GPON and will have similar ratios. The difference is how each utilises their kit. OR will be able to change out early kit and alter the settings on the new if required. Equally Cityfibre may need to differentiate symmetrical and asymmetrical as usage increases. My view is we are in an implementation and establishment stage and therefore does not reflect long term pricing.

      OR are hampered mainly by legacy overheads.

      Residential use of Cityfibre will be via ISPs going forward (lead by Vodafone), end user prices will vary depending on the product/services chosen from the ISP. It will be up to the ISP whether they have consistent products/pricing or not over the different networks.

  2. Avatar Optical says:

    Brilliant news,we just need Sky to join…

  3. Avatar j karna says:

    Reviewing Cityfibre’s website presents no plans for London.

    1. Avatar Badem says:

      London is a complex beast thanks to the amount of councils you have to work with to cover London, plus it would be overbuild.

      To be honest its nice for the rest of the UK north of the M25 to get something cutting edge before London

  4. Avatar Jason Smith says:

    What happens in Stoke when we both have cityfibre and Lilaconnect installed that both work with airbroadband? Might be a little confusing for the customer

    1. Avatar Gordon - Air Broadband says:

      Jason – that will be my job to sort out! The last thing potential customers need is confusion – it bad enough giving clarity to what is FTTC and what is FTTH/P. Air Broadband itself is very proud to be an ISP with both the great networks.

    2. Avatar Jason Smith says:

      Good luck with that. The most important for me would be the lowest latency, fastest speed along with a single bill.

  5. Avatar Neb says:

    Mark does it say on the release if the new ISPs who have these certain areas – are exclusive for a 12 months exclusive or more before others pile in?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      They aren’t really big enough to hold exclusivity like Vodafone or TalkTalk, so I highly doubt it. But such things would not normally be stated in a press release.

  6. Avatar James™ says:

    I’d like to make a guess and say eventually all these providers will have access to the entire City Fibre network?

    1. Avatar Andrew - AIr Broadband says:

      We aren’t restricted on which cities we go to, it is just a case of being realistic of which we do first. We are also aware, and happy, with more ISPs coming on board within each city.

    2. Avatar James™ says:

      Thank you for your reply, That’s great to know.

      I’m in a town on the outskirts of Edinburgh so hoping City Fibre expand out this way.

  7. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Things are moving very fast now.

    In terms of OR’s and Alt Net’s rollout(s)

    But also in terms of wholesale competition to OR – which is good as it applies both price and technology pressure to OR.

    Liberty are going to have to respond fast. If OR and the Alt Nets get much more momentum then VM will become and irrelevance.

  8. Avatar FibreAddict says:

    Still no ISPs for Derby, Nottingham or Leicester.

    I have the purple wire sticking out the telegraph pole, just waiting for ISP to come on board to connect me and everyone else in Derby that’s already covered.

    1. Avatar n/a says:

      Nottingham is already in progress for city fibre, should be completed by end of 2021

  9. Avatar James Band says:

    It seems at this rate that even BT will sign up to provide services via Cityfibre before the other “big” ISPs decide to provide FTTP via Openreach.

  10. Avatar James Robertson says:

    Which ISPs other than Vodafone are going to be available in Milton Keynes? I’ve spoken to three separate Cityfibre engineers whilst they’ve been working and they have named TalkTalk as being imminent or taking orders now. TalkTalk and Cityfibre not making any comment yet on the phone and not showing online. What timeline are we expecting to hear an announcement and when will they (and/or other ISPs) officially be live?

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