CityFibre announces a £2.5bn investment to unlock the UK’s next generation broadband
Five million homes are to benefit from full fibre broadband, delivered by CityFibre, meeting a third of the Government’s 2025 target.
CityFibre’s full fibre infrastructure investment plan is underpinned by significant existing network assets and operations in 37 towns and cities across the UK*, with further locations to be named in due course. It provides the infrastructure needed to underpin the UK’s digital future, stimulating growth in regional towns and cities, bringing £85bn in associated economic benefits and creating 5,000 construction jobs.
CityFibre’s full fibre network is designed to serve all businesses and public sector sites, as well as providing a superior backbone for mobile operators’ existing locations, enabling the rollout of 5G and Internet-of-Things technology.
Following the company’s acquisition in June 2018 by Antin Infrastructure Partners and West Street Infrastructure Partners (a fund managed by Goldman Sachs), CityFibre has today announced a new £2.5bn full fibre investment plan, identifying 37 towns and cities where it already has critical fibre spine assets as primed for expansion for fibre-to-the-home.
The investment plan responds to the Government’s strategic direction for nationwide full fibre connectivity and its desire for this to be delivered by multiple providers. CityFibre’s rollout will deliver five million homes and corresponds to one third of the Government’s 2025 target of 15 million homes. The scale of its plan means it will be awarding city and town-wide construction contracts across the country for several years to come.
CityFibre’s whole-city build approach ensures that, once completed, nearly every home and business in its footprint will have access to transformational full fibre connectivity, putting each of these 37 towns and cities on a new footing as they join the Gigabit City Club. The investment plan will deliver a large-scale open-access platform reaching a fifth of the UK’s consumer market, providing choice for internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile network operators, while complementing other national digital infrastructure developments underway. CityFibre’s full fibre networks offer gigabit speed services at lower prices than other networks, while also dramatically improving service levels and network reliability. With Vodafone as its first consumer ISP customer, CityFibre’s fibre-to-the-home builds are currently underway in Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Aberdeen, with construction due to start in Edinburgh, Stirling, Coventry and Huddersfield before the end of this year and Cambridge, Leeds and Southend-on-Sea shortly afterwards.
Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre said: “With a head-start in 37 towns and cities, this full fibre investment plan enables us to further accelerate our rollout, catalysing huge economic growth in regional towns and cities across the country and transforming the UK’s digital future.
“Our rollout will soon bring to scale an innovative wholesale network, providing internet service providers and mobile network operators with greater choice and unrivalled technical capabilities, benefitting all sectors of the market.
“We now need to work together across Government, Ofcom and industry to create a level playing field that continues to encourage investment from multiple network operators, so that full fibre can be delivered as quickly and effectively as possible.”
Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review set out our plans to maximise full fibre coverage. I’m delighted that CityFibre’s investment in 37 towns and cities across the UK will ensure the vast majority of homes and businesses in those areas can access this technology through new fibre networks.
“Significant investment from new network operators is critical to deliver our ambition for nationwide coverage. Through our Industrial Strategy we’re working with businesses and Ofcom to ensure effective network competition that supports investment on this scale.”
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands said: “The Scottish Government welcomes CityFibre’s £2.5bn investment programme which will help contribute towards our vision of a digitally future-proofed Scotland. Commercial investment in digital infrastructure in our cities is an important aspect of meeting our commitment to reaching 100% of premises by the end of 2021, alongside our work in rural Scotland, and this investment in full-fibre will enable our people and businesses to succeed while providing the stepping stone for advances in 5G technology. I am delighted that CityFibre are investing further in Scotland, recognising the important role Scotland plays in driving economic growth across the UK.”
A spokesperson for Vodafone said:
“We welcome CityFibre’s plans to accelerate the provision of full fibre in the UK. Gigabit connectivity is essential in helping to drive forward the digital economy and improve people’s lives. Under our partnership with CityFibre, announced last year, it was always the intention to roll out fibre more widely and we continue to see CityFibre as a strategic partner in delivering this plan. We have been greatly encouraged by the progress both organisations have made together in launching Vodafone Gigafast Broadband in Milton Keynes. We will continue this productive partnership in other cities.”