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Vodafone Push CityFibre FTTP Broadband Availability Nationwide UPDATE

Thursday, November 11th, 2021 (8:52 am) - Score 6,504
vodafone ftth 900mbps gigafast broadband

Mobile and broadband ISP Vodafone UK (Gigafast Broadband) has today announced that their full fibre packages will now become available to order across CityFibre’s entire Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, which is a marked improvement from the 12 cities and towns that they initially launched with.

Just to recap. Vodafone was the original anchor tenant ISP for the first phase of CityFibre’s gigabit-capable broadband rollout programme, which started in 2018. But after a change to that exclusivity agreement, many more ISPs have now begun to offer services over the same platform (e.g. TalkTalk (Future Fibre), Zen Internet, Giganet and others), albeit often only in certain locations.

The sporadic nature of such coverage can be very confusing for consumers, but the good news is that Vodafone’s related Gigafast Broadband packages (these also support Openreach’s FTTP network) are now about to become available across CityFibre’s entire nationwide network – currently claimed to cover 1 million premises.

The agreement will help to give CityFibre some long-term assurance, while Vodafone will ultimately benefit from being able to take advantage of the operator’s entire £4bn deployment. This aims to have 8 million premises “substantially completed” – across 285 cities, towns and villages (c.30% of the UK) – by the end of 2025 (here)

Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone UK, said:

“We want to see a competitive market that brings the benefits of full fibre to more people. We’ve had a very successful partnership with CityFibre since 2017, and we look forward to continuing working together to connect more of the UK to Full Fibre. Through our partnership with wholesale providers, we’re going to be bringing Full Fibre to more homes than any other retail provider.”

However, Vodafone won’t be the only ISP to go down this route, and we expect others, such as TalkTalk and Zen Internet, to follow suit. Anchored by the increased commitment from Vodafone, CityFibre is now making a big investment into a new National Access Network, connecting its rapidly growing footprint of local Full Fibre networks. “The new network will make it far easier, faster and more cost effective for Vodafone and other wholesale partners to bring services to market across its nationwide footprint,” said the operator.

Using the new National Access network, Vodafone and other wholesale partners will ultimately be able to provide Full Fibre services to any premises on CityFibre’s networks. Each new customer ordering a service from a partner will be offered an installation date within just 5 working days of placing their order.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

“Through our strategic partnership, Vodafone has made a powerful decision to back CityFibre and help establish wholesale infrastructure competition for the UK. Thanks in large part to its continued support, CityFibre has now emerged as the nation’s leading independent Full Fibre platform, with the best wholesale products, attractive economics and a network scaling rapidly across the UK. We’re delighted that Vodafone continues to have full confidence in our network and is now anchoring our entire Full Fibre rollout nationwide.”

All of this bodes well for the future, although a big question mark still remains over how Sky Broadband will respond. At present Sky only sells services via Openreach’s network, although they’ve long expressed a desire to work with alternative networks too, but have yet to make good on that.

Sky had previously been expected to hop on to CityFibre’s network too, although the recent reports of a possible co-investment deal to support Virgin Media’s (VMO2) future wholesale product and network expansion might well put pay to that idea. Time will tell.

UPDATE 3:51pm

We’ve added a comment from Zen Internet.

Paul Stobart, CEO of Zen Internet, said:

“Deemed the gold rush decade, full fibre will be the last major infrastructure rollout we see in our lifetime, proving an absolutely pivotal moment for everyone and especially the broadband industry. The announcement of Vodafone’s partnership with CityFibre today will allow customers and businesses across the UK that rely heavily on their broadband connection more choice, and this sort of competition can only be a good thing, especially if delivered with an exceptional customer journey.

The full fibre rollout continues to move steadily and with the investment of alt providers such as CityFibre, it will really continue to gain traction over the next few months and years. At Zen, we’re delighted ourselves to be also involved with CityFibre and witness the already great demand and interest from consumers in our pilot cities. This is a step change in the way people perceive the internet; but with only 28% of the UK currently able to access full fibre, we need the infrastructure providers such as Openreach and CityFibre to move faster, and the government to continue to drive the full fibre agenda for it to really take hold.”

UPDATE 12th Nov 2021

Take note that this change won’t happen immediately. Vodafone has initially added Bradford, Derby, Glasgow, Leicester, Paisley, Nottingham, Reading, Slough and Swindon to their side of CityFibre’s coverage. After that they’ll also go live across parts of Barnsley, Batley/Dewsbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Maidenhead, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Solihull, Wolverhampton and Worthing over the coming months.

However, Vodafone won’t be completely available across all of CityFibre’s existing footprint until April 2022.

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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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33 Responses
  1. nabs says:

    Yet they still can’t properly offer FTTP over the Openreach network

    1. JamesBand says:

      Agreed. It is bizarre. They initially didn’t offer Openreach FTTP nationwide. Then their website showed most Openreach addresses as FTTP available though at a steep price. Then randomly removed said availability. For several months, those same new addresses no longer show up as available. Or show only up to 200Mbps packages.

      When will Vodafone and others reflect the Openreach Equinox pricing?

    2. nabs says:

      @jamesband Vodafone cant even supply to an OR enabled FTTP address at any price at the moment, despite BT,Sky, TalkTalk all offering connectivity for 6+ months now!

    3. JamesBand says:

      @nabs

      I agree. It’s bizarre. Vodafone should be offering Openreach FTTP nationwide and gain real customers rather than theoretical ones.

      Their checker showed 900Mbps as available for Openreach addresses at a crazy price for a few months, and has since reverted to not available.

  2. Ex Telecom Engineer says:

    “Sky had previously been expected to hop on to CityFibre’s network too, although the recent reports of a possible co-investment deal to support Virgin Media’s (VMO2) future wholesale product and network expansion might well put pay to that idea. Time will tell.”

    Really low odds of that occurring, in my opinion, all the recent signals from Sky indicate otherwise.

    Vodafone’s move to support CityFibre might signal a future takeover of the company, and possibly other Altnets. Vodafone are quite shrewd, as well as being quite ruthless. What Vodafone UK lacks is an access network; They took over Cable & Wireless Worldwide in 2012, giving them an Enterprise business in the UK, as well as terrestrial Backbone and Subsea cable capability. I suspect Vodafone will bide their time, and await the competitive strains Altnets will inevitably come under, then swoop in and become an aggregator.
    The problem for CityFibre, having Vodafone as its most important anchor tenant, is that VOD could nail down CityFibre under threat of moving its Business to Openreach, thereby straining CityFibre profits.
    Ten years from now, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the big three as BT/Openreach, Vodafone, and VMO2, with the Altnets hoovered up probably by Vodafone. Time will tell.

    1. Steven Brown says:

      I think you’re spot on.

    2. James says:

      I agree, the potential for Vodafone to take over CityFibre or merger with them is pretty high.

    3. JamesBand says:

      Why are Vodafone not offering FTTP at all Openreach addresses up to 900Mbps (where it is available at BT, or Zen for instance)?

      And would Vodafone and others reflect the lower Equinox pricing?

  3. James B says:

    Is there any sign that Vodafone is going to expand its use of Openreach FTTP to more areas now too? (presumably not any covered by CityFibre)

  4. occasionally factual says:

    To push this news, Vodafone is offering a half-price deal on its fastest full fibre 900Mbps Pro package, reduced from £60 to just £30.
    Source:-
    https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk/press-release/new-cityfibre-deal-become-britains-new-full-fibre-broadband-leader/

    1. Light Less says:

      Is that a permanent price reduction? I couldn’t see the small print. Don’t Zen do 900 Cityfibre for £40. Or was that in some places for a short while?

    2. occasionally factual says:

      The press release doesn’t clarify how long the price is that low. The pricing isn’t live as of earlier today when I posted but is did mention other special offers starting Friday 12th so assume the details will be available then.
      Zen do offer 900Mbps for £40 per month but aren’t available on the whole of the CityFibre network. Vodafone are.

    3. JamesBand says:

      If it’s £30 a month for 24 months, that would be phenomenal. They initially started out at £48, then went up to £60.

      Would Vodafone have taken up the Openreach Eqinox offer (started back in October 2021) and offer 900Mbps to ALL Openreach lines nationwide? And if do, at £30 a month?

    4. occasionally factual says:

      James

      No idea if Vodafone are enlarging their Openreach FTTP connections but I would assume that they would want to get any Openreach pricing as cheap as possible so the Eqinox offer would be good business sense. The press release is all about Vodafone being the biggest FTTP ISP as it uses both networks.
      However I doubt that £30 via Openreach for 900Mbps would be on as the Eqinox price is £22 + VAT per month rental to Openreach (and annual increase CPI -1.25%)so no margin in it for Vodafone’s own costs.

    5. JamesBand says:

      Yes good point. It would make good business sense. Even their forums show people saying the obvious – that Vodafone will lose (let alone gain) customers by not offering speeds up to 900Mbps on nationwide Openreach lines as customers would have to seek other providers.

      The Equinox pricing suggests they could maybe offer Openreach 900 for maybe the £40 a month they started (albeit on CityFibre lines) with? At least if they were interested in truly being the largest broadband provider with actual customers rather than theoretical ones!

      It would be great if £30 became the new norm. £60 (both Vodafone and BT) seems excessive (especially given that price is subject to increases during the long contract).

    6. Squid Game says:

      @Light Less

      Zen’s pricing £40/m for 900 Mbps on Cityfibre was on a trial basis only, they’re now charging £47.99/m as the official price.

  5. JamesBand says:

    Interesting. Have Vodafone also agreed to increase coverage to all Openreach FTTP lines as well? I saw a BBC article which mentioned a deal with both CityFibre and Openreach.

    Great if there’s more choice for consumers. Baffling though if they aren’t offering their 900Mbps service at ALL premises with Openreach FTTP nationwide?

    1. occasionally factual says:

      They don’t offer Openreach FTTP where there is a CityFibre link already there. I wonder if they look at CityFibre’s plans and also block out other areas that will shortly be served by them. They don’t want to be servicing 2 different networks in the same locations as that just confuses support teams, processes and increase costs (as CityFibre is wholesaled cheaper than Openreach).

    2. JamesBand says:

      Occasionally,

      I can understand not offering Openreach FTTP if a cheaper wholesaler could supply that address. But it’s crazy that they don’t seem to be offering Openreach in the absence of CityFibre at nationwide addresses.

      It would be like not offering CityFibre at addresses where there is no other provider other than CityFibre! What’s the CityFibre wholesale price if Openreach is £27ish?

      Would just be great if they offered the full 900Mbps at all Openreach addresses. All their support teams always promise it’s just round the corner and have been for the last 18 months. Not sure what’s taking BT, Vodafone, Sky etc so long to reflect the new Openreach wholesale price (lower) other than greed, incompetence or zero interest in gaining new FTTP customers?!

    3. anonymous says:

      They’re in the process of upgrading their network.

      Connecting gigabit customers to a gigabit link out of an exchange doesn’t work so well.

    4. JamesBand says:

      @anonymous

      The thing is Vodafone were showing availability of their 900Mbps product for “Openreach ready” addresses for a few months. Now their checker no longer shows that product for the SAME addresses.

      So the question was when will they offer 900Mbps again on Openreach and at what price? £30 per month (or £35-40 to account for the supposed Openreach Eqinox price) would be fantastic.

    5. anonymous says:

      Shouldn’t have been advertised. Lots going on behind the scenes ready for those products I’m informed.

  6. Anon says:

    Remember that Vodafone have to interconnect to every single Openreach exchange with the appropriate capacity infrastructure. This will take some time and so is likely a factor in their Openreach availability. Its not as simple as switching it on.

    1. JamesBand says:

      1. Vodafone were showing Openreach availability (up to 900 Mbps) at Openreach addresses for a few months. Now their checker only shows products up to 100, or 200 Mbps for the same addresses. Many people on their forums are asking when it will be offered properly.

      2. When will that happen and at what price?

  7. occasionally factual says:

    Vodafone have released their new pricing today and it is

    “Pro gigafast 900 – 24 months / Half Price – £30 per month (Save £3 per month if current Customer)”

    However there is an April CPI+3.9% price rise even during this £30 per month offer so not quite £30 per month for all 24 months and the normal price after 24 months will be £60(plus the inflation price rises)

    1. occasionally factual says:

      Of course this pricing is only in the CityFibre supplied areas.

    2. JamesBand says:

      So £27 a month for existing customers for 900/900? That sounds pretty decent for those on Cityfibre lines.

      What would the Openreach price be for the 900 asymmetrical product with Vodafone though? It’s crazy that the “big name ISPs” don’t seems to be trying to entice customers for the 900 product via Openreach, especially since the Equinox price came into effect!

    3. occasionally factual says:

      Openreach supplied FTTP from Vodafone is still at the £60 mark which is also the Vodafone “standard” price for CityFibre too hence the half price offer for a few weeks.

    4. JamesBand says:

      £60 is crazy (same as BT). And the Vodafone checker was showing openreach addresses with 900Mbps available and has since removed it for some?!

      They need to offer 900Mbps to all Openreach lines just like their nationwide offering for Cityfibre addresses.

      Any chance of Vodafone doing £35-40 a month for Openreach 900?

  8. rich says:

    misleading from vodafone. btw checker say no fttp.

    1. anonymous says:

      If the BT Wholesale checker were listing CityFibre network that’d be really interesting.

      Think the announcement made clear they don’t have national coverage yet and it’s a work in progress.

      They also said that they were using wholesale partners. Nationally available doesn’t mean every single property.

  9. PixelUK says:

    The half price offer is also on the Pro Gigafast 900 Xtra package which doesn’t have the CPI+3.9% hike each April – in the latter half of the contract there’s a high likely hood you’d be paying more per month on the non Xtra package!

    I’d imagine City Fibre’s other ISP partners are hacked off with this aggressive move by Vodafone – presumably Vodafone are taking a hit on each connection rather than getting a wholesale discount from City Fibre?

    Big question I have is, I’m in Solihull and the Vodafone Press Release doesn’t make it clear if residents here will get the same half price offer especially if the network goes live after the offer has ended (December?)

    1. occasionally factual says:

      Just checked the pricing and the Pro Gigafast 900 Xtra is only £4 per month more and you get a “Free” Apple 4K TV box and Unlimited Anytime calls to UK landlines & mobiles as well as no price increases within the 24 months. So for an extra £92 over 2 years for an £169 Apple TV, free calls and for £34 per month fixed.

      CPI in September was 3.1% so assuming it doesn’t go down that is at least a 7% increase in April 22 so £30 becomes £32.10. And repeat in April 2023.

      Choices eh?

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