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CityFibre Begins FTTP Broadband Rollout to Homes in Chester

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 (10:45 am) - Score 2,136
CF-Garden-Install-blown-fibre-tube

CityFibre UK has today announced that construction has started on their new £23 million project to deploy a gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network across the Cathedral City of Chester in Cheshire (England), which is home to around 80,000 people.

As usual the “city-wide” rollout forms part of their wider £4bn investment programme (here and here), which currently aims to cover around 1 million premises by the end of 2021 (they’ve already done 500,000 premises) 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.

NOTE: CityFibre is being supported by various ISPs, such as Vodafone (Gigafast Broadband), TalkTalk, Zen Internet, Giganet and others, but they aren’t all live or available in every location yet. The operator usually aims to reach 85%+ of premises in each town or city they target.

Construction of the new network, which has just commenced in the Upton area, is being handled by civil engineering firm Telent. The same company has also been contracted by CityFibre to help deliver a number of their other builds (e.g. Blackpool and Preston).

Julie Derbyshire, CityFibre’s City Manager for Chester, said:

“This past year has really demonstrated the remarkable versatility of the internet and how much we depend upon all things digital for work, education and social connectivity with our family and friends. At CityFibre we want to ensure that as many homes as possible in Chester are linked to Full Fibre – the fastest and most resilient digital infrastructure available – to make our digital experience as seamless and effective as possible.

We look forward to working with Chester West and Chester Council, residents, businesses and the wider community to harness the power of Full Fibre. Chester is a city of amazing history, culture and heritage and next generation Full Fibre will help ensure the city continues to have a resilient and dynamic economy for the future. In addition, it will provide growth opportunities and a platform to support businesses to take their products or services to a national and international audience”.

Cllr Richard Beacham added:

“CityFibre’s new investment in Chester is testament to the city’s role as a driving force in our Borough’s economy. It comes at a time when the Council is particularly focused on economic recovery and connectivity has never been more important, both for businesses and residents.”

The city itself is quite a patch work of different networks at present, with CityFibre’s gigabit-capable rivals tending to operate in different sections from one another. For example, Virgin Media covers the northern area around Saughall and Blacon, while Openreach’s FTTP build is found across much of the city’s southern half.

Meanwhile, Hyperoptic has also hooked up a few apartment blocks in the centre to their FTTB/P network. Suffice to say that the local market isn’t currently being dominated by any single operator, at least not in terms of gigabit connectivity (Openreach does have a fair bit of ultrafast G.fast in their non-FTTP areas though).

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Carl O says:

    This is great to see. I’m fortunate to live in an area of Chester already covered by openreach but its about time. We don’t get Virgin Media in the city.

    Hopefully this brings the high tech connectivity the city needs.

    1. Archie says:

      Trust me, you wouldn’t want VM and this is coming from a customer who’s overall happy with their service.

    2. Jon says:

      I’m with Archie on this one.

      A Virgin Media customer since the Telewest days, they’ve always provided what they promised for our household.

      That said, the tech is outdated now, they are in no way innovative (just look at their IPv6 rollout), and as a company are pretty awful to deal with (long hold times, useless call centre agents, technical teams who refuse to acknowledge issues such as the Hub3/PumaGate or 6in4 tunnel problems).

      Their main advantage is that they often offer the fastest speeds in areas not covered by FTTP (or in the past FTTP), and they have a reasonably decent selection of TV channels for those who want that. In this regard, they had a monopoly, which is about to come to an abrupt end.

      As Openreach and CityFibre continue to rapidly build out FTTP networks (along with many smaller alt-nets), Virgin Media need to be worried. Add 5G and the potential it offers into the mix, and they need to be very worried.

  2. Peter S says:

    Great news for Chester, but this investment will only act to further widen the digital divide in Cheshire. Despite all the rhetoric from the local authorities there appears to be very limited ambition to support rural communities. Unlike neighbouring Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire there is no local authority BDUK top up funding available in Cheshire to help support communities with demand led projects.

    1. Badem says:

      The previous DCMS scheme for Rural was utilised by B4RN in Ellesmere Port (Capenhurst) to build the network to their rural areas, its not Cheshire West who are causing the issue here but the network providers need a return on the investment to build to these locations.

      Just annoying the shortly after CityFibre announced Chester that Openreach earmarked nearby Ellesmere Port for their FTTP rollout but no timescales as when they will do this work. I actually work on the FTTP builds and getting it into my own home is an annoying wait.

  3. Mark, Question says:

    What’s happening in the (I presume) handout picture? Pictures are nothing without meaningful captions! Why does the cable appear to being cut? What’s the other cable? Why the kinky gloves?

    1. 125us says:

      The yellow tool strips the sheath. The gloves are to prevent Weil’s disease.

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