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Zen Internet Delay Nationwide UK CityFibre FTTP Availability to 2023

Friday, Dec 9th, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 5,464

UK ISP Zen Internet has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that their work to make their gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband packages available – nationwide – across Cityfibre’s entire network will take longer than originally announced, with completion now expected by the “end of 2023“.

Just to recap. Cityfibre currently aims to cover up to 8 million premises (funded by c.£2.4bn in equity and c.£4.9bn debt) – across around 285 cities, towns and villages (c.30% of the UK) – by the end of 2025 (here). So far, the operator has already covered 2 million UK premises – with 1.8m Ready For Service (RFS) via UK ISPs (here). The network will also pass around 800k businesses, 400k local authority sites and 250k 5G access points.

NOTE: Cityfibre’s network is supported by ISPs like Vodafone, TalkTalk (Future Fibre), Zen Internet, Giganet and more, but they aren’t all live or available in every location yet.

Back in March 2022 we reported that Zen Internet had decided to expand their relationship with the operator by making an exclusive long-term volume commitment across Cityfibre’s entire network (here). As part of that, the ISP said they expected their services would be “available to all homes across the entire CityFibre footprint by late 2022.”

Naturally, we’ve been keeping an eye on this and some recent checking showed that Zen still wasn’t live across all of Cityfibre’s RFS areas, which seemed unlikely to be something they could resolve before Christmas.

A Zen spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“Our nationwide rollout of FTTP over the CityFibre network is continuing apace in a phased approach, with 48 out of 59 phase 1 cities already live. Based on the current speed of rollout, it is expected that connectivity to a further 34 cities as part of our phase 2 plans will be delivered by the end of 2023.”

At the time of writing it remains unclear why it will take longer to complete than originally planned, but better late than never.

List of Zen’s 48 Live Cityfibre Locations
Brighton and Hove
Bury St Edmunds
Cheltenham, Charlton Kings
Milton Keynes
North Tyneside

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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18 Responses
  1. Avatar photo N says:

    You have to wonder if zen unbundling these locations is actually a own goal. Sure it gives them a differentiator but cityfibre will be able to provide the backhaul at a much better cost as they own a national dark fibre network and in locations they don’t will be able to access greater economies of scale. Zen have added nearly 2 years time to market taking this approach and thier backhaul network is actually much worse than the big 3 in my experience

    1. Avatar photo Steve says:

      When Zen started offering Cityfibre services, the only way to hand over customer connections was at the local Cityfibre FEX. Cityfibre had no way of handing over centrally.

      Unbundling exchanges also allows Zen to offer other services locally.

    2. Avatar photo N says:

      Yes but the national product has been available almost 2 years hence mentioning that

    3. Avatar photo Alan says:

      I thought Cityfibre only provided fibre connectivity from their PoP/FEx/Exchange to user premises, ala Openreach FTTP? In other words doesn’t the backhaul network run on CF connections run on TalkTalk Wholesale, Zen, Vodafone/C&W etc?

    4. Avatar photo Steve says:

      @N – Its was only announced in November last year. Who knows when it was actually available to order. Is it even available in all CF towns right now?

      @Alan – that was originally how it was, but last year they released their national access product (https://cityfibre.com/news/cityfibre-launches-national-access-product-to-enable-partners-across-its-nationwide-footprint)

    5. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Steve & N, the National Access product isn’t available anywhere in Scotland, according to A&A. It’s unclear if Cityfibre intends for it to be “UK” wide, by which I mean England and Scotland.

    6. Avatar photo Anon says:

      CityFibre’s national product launched Nov 2021 and Vodafone stated they had live customers on it that month.

      Not sure why A&A are saying it is not available in Scotland as there are other ISPs selling CityFibre National there, Vodafone had Glasgow last year I think. I think you do have to take a handover in Scotland at the moment, so more accurate might be A&A have decided to wait until they can get the customers backhauled to England?

    7. Avatar photo Iain says:

      Thanks Anon, that sounds very plausible. I was curious what the explanation was. Especially because the National Access product advertises there is a handover location in Edinburgh!

    8. Avatar photo John says:

      Cityfibre national access is definitely available in Scotland.

      They can handover in Edinburgh/Glasgow FEX’s.


      That pdf pre dates A&A launching their Cityfibre products so no idea why they excluded Scotland.

    9. Avatar photo G says:

      A&A only have network in 2 docklands facilities , so I’d imagine it’s because they can’t take a handoff in Scotland

    10. Avatar photo John says:

      CityFibre can carry traffic nationally and handover in London.

      Edinburgh/Glasgow are just additional choices of handover points.

  2. Avatar photo 5G_Infinity says:

    Mark, 250K 5G access points, what are these? There are 48,000 towers/rooftops in UK, if we assume 3 sectors per site that’s only 144,000 sectors and of those the majority are not 5G?

    1. Avatar photo G says:

      That excludes cells strapped to lamp posts and so on.

  3. Avatar photo Dave says:

    If it’s relevant I think my connection with IDNet may be over the national access product. I asked IDNet if there were other ISPs/networks between me and their network other than CityFibre and they said the connection was via CityFibre directly in to their network in London.

  4. Avatar photo Matt says:

    Given that Zen can’t seem to run their own network (well), no shock that they will pause adding yet more complexity.

    Maybe focus on that so that your retail and wholesale customers get the service and quality thereof they expect.

  5. Avatar photo topsy says:

    CF are going psst my house right now – started today.. still won’t be getting it

    1. Avatar photo Saddened says:

      I feel your pain. They have a cable in the street that passes my block. The owner of the block won’t let them pull the cable to our building. I hate it. It’s so close, yet so far. I’ll never get fibre because some greedy landlord won’t let them fit it (I think he wants them to pay him).

  6. Avatar photo FingerlessGloves says:

    Do Zen publish a list of local access FEx locations? This would be very useful in making a informed decision on what ISP to use when CF comes to an area. Or do CF not have any national access setup that uses CF back haul?

Comments are closed

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