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CityFibre Warns £100m to Boost UK Urban Broadband is Nowhere Near Enough

Posted: 01st Dec, 2011 By: MarkJ
fibre optic cablecityfibre holdings ukCityFibre Holdings, a specialist in the deployment of ultrafast fibre optic broadband ( FTTH ) ISP networks, has warned that the governments £100m commitment to improve broadband services in up to ten UK cities (here) will not be enough and risks wasting taxpayers' money on "sub-standard" technology.

The government made the announcement of a new Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) on Tuesday, during the Chancellor's (George Osborne) 2011 Autumn Statement. As part of the effort both BT and Virgin Media have pledged to strengthen their urban networks, although how the money itself will be allocated has yet to be announced.

Mark Collins, CCO of CityFibre, said:

"This country is still a long way behind the rest of the Europe when it comes to the provision of digital infrastructure, therefore improvements to our broadband networks are essential if we are to compete and succeed in a service-driven digital economy.

Though it is clearly great news that £100m has been earmarked to create 10 super connected cities, this is not enough to fund truly future-proofed Fibre-to-the-Premises infrastructure and there is a real danger that taxpayers’ money will be ploughed into sub-standard Fibre-to-the-Cabinet technology. It’s important to remember that although the copper networks have served us well, they were never designed to cope with the bandwidth requirements of today, let alone those of tomorrow.

This type of incremental approach would put the UK at a huge disadvantage for years to come as well as creating the need for another wave of significant investment to future proof the infrastructure."

It goes without saying that CityFibre, and others that specialise in truly fibre optic services (e.g. Hyperoptic , Geo Networks etc.), will be watching developments very closely to see whether or not their respective markets could be impacted by the UBF.

Some smaller rural ISPs already feel that public funding has damaged the market by affording an advantage to larger operators and shunning alternatives. Meanwhile others have questioned why urban areas, most of which already benefit from private sector investment, should even need public money.

CityFibre claims that the only way for the UK to have the best broadband network in Europe by 2015 is via healthy market competition and additional funding from a fair allocation of public and private sources.
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