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CityFibre Extends FTTP Broadband Rollout in City of Aberdeen

Monday, January 17th, 2022 (11:47 am) - Score 2,232
cityfibre trench optical fibre cables

CityFibre has today announced that they intend to commit a further £19 million in order to extend their existing £40m rollout of a new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network in the city of Aberdeen (Scotland), which was one of their very first gigabit city builds.

The “city-wideAberdeen project was originally unveiled in February 2018 (here) and formed part of the operator’s original aim to cover a “minimum” of 1 million homes in up to 12 UK cities or towns, although the first construction work didn’t get underway until July of that same year (here).

NOTE: Cityfibre is supported by various ISPs, such as Vodafone (Gigafast Broadband), TalkTalk (Future Fibre), Zen Internet, Giganet and others, but they aren’t all live or available in every location.. yet.

By comparison, the extra £19m being announced today aims to “enable thousands more homes beyond the original build footprint.” But it’s difficult to put this into context because CF never set a clear target for how many premises would be reached by their original build, or how long it would take to achieve completion and how many premises have already been completed. As such, some may view today’s news as CF needing to invest more money than they originally planned in order to reach completion.

In October 2021, CityFibre, supported by their existing civil engineering contractor GCU, hit a big milestone when it passed 500km of fibre cabling laid across the Granite City. Homes in Woodside, Garthdee, Ruthrieston, Mannofield, Kincorth, Broomhill, Cove, Kaimhill, Ferryhill, Northfield, Tillydrone, Rosehill, Hazlehead, Airyhall, Mannofield, Hilton, Seaton and Torry have already been completed (Ready for Service).

Other areas yet to go live, but set to benefit from the rollout, include Bridge of Don, Bucksburn, Stoneywood, Dyce, Rosemount, Mastrick, Sheddocksley, and some areas of the city centre, with the extended project now expected to be largely complete by the end of 2022.

MSP Kate Forbes, Scottish Government Economy Secretary, said:

“This is a welcome boost for thousands of householders and was enabled by £2 million of funding from the Scottish Government, as part of our £10 million commitment to digital projects in the region. This is in addition to our commitments to fund digital infrastructure via the Aberdeen City Deal, delivering inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the North East.

Accessing fast and reliable broadband has never been so important as we build a sustainable recovery from the pandemic. That is why the Scottish Government is making substantial investments in digital infrastructure to ensure all of Scotland has access to high-speed internet.”

Allan McEwan, CityFibre’s City Manager for Aberdeen, said:

“We’re making huge strides in delivering full fibre to homes and businesses across Aberdeen, and we’re thrilled to be able to bring our best-in-class network to even more of the city.

At CityFibre, we pride ourselves on being agile and flexible. There is clear demand right across Aberdeen for full fibre services and we continue to build at pace to ensure as many people benefit from our network as soon as possible.”

The rollout forms part of CityFibre’s wider £4bn investment programme, which has already covered 1 million UK premises with FTTP and aims to have 8 million “substantially completed” – across 285 cities, towns and villages (c.30% of the UK) – by the end of 2025 (here).

We should point out that CityFibre aren’t the only gigabit-capable broadband network in the city, with Openreach also having a fairly significant presence across various parts of the city, and rival AltNet Grain looking to expand in the area. OFNL also has a small presence, but they don’t appear to have any major expansion plans, beyond a pocket of new build home developments.

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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.
Leave a Comment
13 Responses
  1. Anonymous says:

    I know it’s a stock picture .. but do they really bury them direct in the ground like that without any trunking? I know there are direct burial cables, but seems dodgy to me.

    1. David says:

      These are microdicts, not cable.

    2. Anonymous says:

      oh wow. thanks. they looked like cables to me.

    3. anonymous says:

      Yeah those are microducts that’ll have fibre blown down them when it’s ordered. Those ‘straws’ will go to individual premises.

    4. Alex A says:

      Does seem a bit off to me they don’t put the microducts in a bigger duct, it adds cost but makes it a lot easier in the future.

    5. FibreBubble says:

      To be fair, the directly buried unprotected fibre tubes are at spec depth in the picture. In the real world, they are far shallower than that.

    6. anonymous says:

      Haven’t seen any evidence that microduct is getting damaged more than regular of the same depth. Virgin Media have tons of both, Openreach have some. Both continue to use and deploy it.

      Only time I’ve heard of issues is where cables weren’t laid to the correct depth or records were incorrect, in which case 3 mm thick PVC isn’t going to do much to stop most things, much as 2-4 mm thick plastic in each microduct isn’t going to do much.

    7. anonymous says:

      While I’m thinking about it evidence for this widespread failure to build to depth please?

      You know as well as I do local authorities core drill reinstatement to test for depth. CityFibre have been paying for an inspector in their build areas.

      There will definitely be some issues. Much as there are during any big infrastructure build. There were issues during the original cable builds and I’m sure there were with BT build too.

  2. Stephen says:

    Cults is one area that is not mentioned on the current rollout but has had a lot of work done in the area. This is probably the most out of town area that Cityfibre are providing a service for.

    I wonder if Westhill will feature in their future plans. They ran fibre out along the dual carriageway last year as far as the Tesco roundabout, but nothing more has happened since.

    1. michty says:

      I’ve also been wondering the same. We did see quite a bit of activity from Kingswells to Westhill last year but it seems to have stopped.
      According to the Openreach website, Kingswells and Westhill is penciled in to be completed by the end of 2026. I’m unsure what CityFibres rollout plan is though.

  3. GaryH says:

    Have to love the self aggrandising MSP Kate Forbes, ‘was enabled by £2 million of funding from the Scottish Government’, Sure Kate, lets not mention Cityfibres £59 million of investment in the project, lets focus on the Scottish governments ‘substantial investment’

  4. coco says:

    This is great! Would love to see them expand into the larger towns in Aberdeenshire too, like Inverurie, Huntly and Turriff.

    1. GaryH says:

      Wouldn’t it 🙂 rather than packing up and leaving for the next random location just leave a team building out, unfortunately is a poor business plan I guess, better to skip the less dense areas in between and just hop to the next biggest target same as with FTTC really which is why we’re going to end up with the same situation we have now except this time the divide will be even greater.

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