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CityFibre’s FTTP Broadband Network Covers 3.37 Million UK Premises

Saturday, Dec 16th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 4,920
Cityfibre-Purle-Optical-Fibre-Cable-and-Engineer

Network operator CityFibre has informed ISPreview that their new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network has just passed 3.37 million UK premises (3m of which are ‘Ready for Service’ by an ISP), which is up from 3 million (2.6m RFS) at the end of August 2023.

The latest figures suggest that the operator has been adding around 100,000 premises per month to their coverage since the end of August 2023, which is an improvement after they dropped to c.80k in the prior period. All of this supports their wider ambition to cover up to 8 million UK premises (funded by c.£2.4bn in equity and c.£4.9bn debt) – across over 285 cities, towns and villages (c.30% of the UK) – by the end of 2025 (here). 

NOTE: CityFibre is owned by Antin Infrastructure Partners, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Mubadala Investment Company and Interogo Holding. The network is also supported by multiple ISPs, such as Vodafone, TalkTalk, Zen Internet and others, but they aren’t all live or available in every location yet.

In addition, the operator was also kind enough to furnish us with a progress update on their rollout of 10Gbps capable XGS-PON technology, which began in the Spring of 2023 (here). CityFibre told ISPreview that the rollout is on track with 122 of their 131 fibre exchanges (FEX) now upgraded, over 90%.

UK ISP Yayzi Broadband has already launched a 2Gbps+ product using the newly upgraded network, while Vodafone and others are due to follow in early 2023.

A spokesperson for CityFibre told ISPreview:

“The 10Gbps-capable platform will support a new generation of affordable, multi-gigabit broadband services for millions of UK homes and businesses.

This XGS-PON upgrade enables us to offer our ISP partners access to the UK’s fastest wholesale broadband services. These are currently available to approximately 15% of the over 3m premises that are Ready For Service on our network today.

We are expecting several ISP partners to launch 2.5Gbps symmetrical services early next year and are planning to have completed our full XGS-PON network upgrade by early 2026.”

However, over the past few months CityFibre have also put a good number of their build locations on pause (example), which occurred after they took the decision to exit a number of their contracts with different build partners (Kier, Lanes-i etc.) due to a variety of reasons (current market strains and rising costs are a factor). Separately, the odd other contractor also ran into difficulties, such as with Makehappen (here) and Telec (here).

Sadly, re-appointing new contractors to those locations can be a lengthy process, which may take up to around a year. The result is that while CityFibre’s pace of build seems to have improved, this could change next year when the long-tail impacts of recent build pauses start to hit – time will tell. But even if the current pace of build were maintained, it would still only get them to c.5.4 million premises by the end of 2025, which is incredible for an alternative network, albeit well short of their ambition.

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Mark-Jackson
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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Comments
28 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    No mention of how many live connections they currently have?

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Sadly, only very few alternative networks reveal that sort of data, although CityFibre did publish some limited info. in their annual accounts to the end of 2022.

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2023/07/cityfibre-targets-uk-altnet-acquisitions-despite-big-losses.html

    2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      According to those figures they had 8% take up them. I seem to remember that it was reported as beeing up to 10% in the summer so maybe if they’ve managed to improve that further (perhaps 12%) I would guess perhaps 300-360K. The messages coming out seem to be somewhat mixed.

    3. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Usual caveats with take-up figures apply, since 2022 and 2023 have been two years with relatively rapid build, which tends to suppress percentage based take-up figures. As usual, we can only really judge by looking back at areas where they’ve been live for 2-3 years already, since consumers upgrade slowly and organically for various reasons.

    4. Avatar photo the builder says:

      I think take up rate should only be calculated for premises which has been RFSed for at least one/two year to get a meaningful take up rate.

      Take up rate in areas where premises are already with other operator for a minimum 12 to 24 months contracts, doesn’t make sense. Only exception would be if it is a new build area with you are the sole operator :).

  2. Avatar photo Peach says:

    Whilst impressive for an Altnet to reach 3 million RFS, their ambition to reach 8 million by the end of 2025 means they would need to hit 2.5 million per year for the next 2 years and as mentioned above pausing builds is likely to hit that. The only way I can see Cityfibre getting anywhere near their target is by acquiring other Altnets, Toob would probably be the first target given the networks already have an agreement in certain areas, plus their access networks are built very much the same. Meanwhile Openreach are aiming for 4 million a year which means they could very well have a network of 21 million RFS at the end of 2025. These next couple of years surely will see a lot of consolation in the market with altnets if they are to survive.

  3. Avatar photo D says:

    Passing premises is one thing, getting customers to sign up to use the network and start making a profit is another.

    You never hear Cityfibre shouting about take-up rates, I wonder why?

  4. Avatar photo Duncan says:

    I’m included in one of the paused builds and my street was cabled but nothing has happened since September.

    Occasionally little bits of work materialises on BID in terms of reinstatement jobs, but nothing in terms of bringing finished areas live.

  5. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Does that 3.3m number include their partners that allow city fibre partners to order over?

    1. Avatar photo Gary says:

      No. It’s likely well under 3m since they over report most of the times

      With so many paused and “finished” builds as well as layoffs, there’s no way they’ll hit their build goal

    2. Avatar photo Facts says:

      The answer is in the article! 3.3m built of which 3M are available to order through ISPs today

    3. Avatar photo Chris says:

      Not sure you understand my question

      As per:
      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2022/11/cityfibre-and-toob-sign-mutual-uk-full-fibre-network-access-deal.html

      Toob, as a partner of cityfibre, signed a mutual deal that permits cityfibre ISP’s to offer service over toobs network.

      In theory you could get Vodafone broadband via cityfibre over toobs physical connection.

      The question is, are city fibre including toobs’ and other mutual partners footprint in the city fibre 3.3m number.

      The article didn’t say if the 3.3m was just cityfibre owned footprint of included their mutuals too.

    4. Avatar photo Facts says:

      The numbers are for Cityfibre owned footprint only.

  6. Avatar photo Johnroysingleton267@gmail.com says:

    Hey.

    Im still awaiting installation from UW in regards to FullFibre100. Two missed appointments without any uodate.

  7. Avatar photo Bathuser says:

    Our street was cabled in the summer. Still not live so can’t order. No indication from CF when it will be available.

    1. Avatar photo nicknack says:

      The go live generally is when the whole of the area connected to an exchange has been built and ready (from experience). My street was cabled up and a junction box placed next to my driveway back in January 2023 but was not able to order it until early November when the whole town had finished. I used roadworks/one.network to see when the town would be finished and that gave me a rough indication as to when it would go live. From ordering to digging and being connected was 2 weeks. Shoddy workmanship though from cityFibre but they did come back and rectify.

  8. Avatar photo Jamie says:

    A quote from the website:

    “Join our brand new full fibre network for speeds up to 2.5Gbps”

    Please tell me which one will provide 2.5gb because none of the ones i’m seeing are.

    1. Avatar photo A Stevens says:

      A&A are already trialling it – should be launching quite soon. Not that anybody could possibly need such a thing, except for bragging rights….

    2. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      will the A&A 2.5Gbps service still have data caps? lol

    3. Avatar photo Jamie says:

      To be fair when I first joined AAISP I thought 10TB on 1gb connection wouldn’t last me but my internet use would appear to be far lower than I originally thought around 2TB a month. I now have nearly 21TB of rolled over data allowance now so don’t think I’ll ever be getting through that. Would be interested to know if when they do release 2.5gb package if my bandwidth from my current tier will move over to the new tier.

    4. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      Do a search on your postcode. One I saw said Yazzi or someone like that wanted £50 a month for 2.3Gbps both ways

    5. Avatar photo Cognizant says:

      A Stevens, please, please stop pushing this rhetoric. It’s harmful to the development of this industry. For years we’ve been lamenting about slow internet speeds yet still we have people sneering that we don’t need any faster. We will over the next 5-10 years. Just like we needed to go from 16Mbps ADSL and 24Mbps VDSL before…

  9. Avatar photo A Stevens says:

    Wherefore art thou, CityFibre? We’re in one of the ‘abandoned build’ areas, so I suppose we’ll get nothing more than those colourful street markings, which had already appeared. Openreach has left us in the cold as well. So there we are, a large and relatively affluent chunk of the city left with zero fibre options for yet another year, while some other nearby places get several to choose from!

  10. Avatar photo Matt says:

    In the last couple of days, is anyone else getting “unknown” come back as a result from BID? Hands up from someone else in a street cabled but abandoned.

    1. Avatar photo Bathuser says:

      Ours just shows “planned”. Seems we have been abandoned. Installed cables months ago buy nothing since that day.

  11. Avatar photo Grumpy Cat (6) says:

    Passing properties they are, but they are not connecting them. I know of multiple towns with abandoned equipment littered all over and no live deployment in the areas.

  12. Avatar photo Resonate says:

    I call BS on them xgs-pon figures.

Comments are closed

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