Next phase in Leeds’ digital transformation as CityFibre breaks ground

Work to transform Leeds into one of the world’s best digitally connected cities kicks off today.

Leeds is celebrating a major milestone in its digital transformation after work began last week to extend its full fibre network to reach almost every home and business in the city.

As part of £120m private investment from CityFibre, Leeds is among the first locations in the UK to benefit from the state-of-the-art full fibre roll-out. Vodafone will be using CityFibre’s network to bring Vodafone Gigafast Broadband services to the city, meaning residents will soon be able to enjoy the fastest, most reliable gigabit-speed connectivity.

Construction work has officially commenced in areas of Beeston, Hunslet and Riverside, Middleton Park, Holbeck, Pudsey, Bramley and Stanningley. The first homes and businesses will be able to connect to the network from early 2020, with works projected to be largely complete by 2025. O’Connor Utilities Ltd is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf with a workforce that has been recruited locally.

The company will use modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly, while working closely with Leeds City Council and local communities to manage disruption and ensure a fast and successful roll-out. Residents will be kept informed by door-to-door teams and also mailings ahead of works in their streets.

Kim Johnston, CityFibre’s City Manager for Leeds, said: “This is an exciting time for both CityFibre and Leeds as we start to roll out full fibre across the city. With work now underway, the first homes will soon be able to access Gigabit capable services, not only helping households access all the latest entertainment at lightning speed, but from enabling smart home technology to giving people the freedom to work from home with ease.

“As well as transforming our home lives, full fibre will lay the foundations for a number of smart city initiatives, such as big data projects and high-definition CCTV, which will cement Leeds’s status as a leading digital destination.”

The roll-out will enhance Leeds’ growing reputation as a digital hub in the UK, with research from economic consultancy Regeneris predicting that full fibre connectivity will have a major impact over the next 15 years. It shows that up to £255m could be added to the value of local homes, while Smart City initiatives could add as much as £213m locally. Access to full fibre could also unlock £192m in business productivity and innovation, while a further £92m in growth could be driven from new business start-ups, with enhanced connectivity making it easier and less expensive to set up base and run efficiently.

Councillor James Lewis at Leeds City Council, said: “We welcome investment by CityFibre into Leeds to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure for residents and businesses alike.
“Leeds City Council continues to work closely with the private sector to facilitate economic growth in the digital age and CityFibre’s full fibre network will play a major role in supporting Leeds’s Inclusive Growth strategy and ensuring a resilient and dynamic economy for years to come.”

Andy Sedman, Contract Manager at O’Connor Utilities Ltd, said: “We are delighted to work alongside Leeds City Council and CityFibre to bring first-class connectivity to Leeds. The roll-out of full fibre across the UK will provide major employment opportunities over the coming years and the build in Leeds will be driven by a local workforce that is genuinely motivated and proud to play a role in such a transformational project.

“We will work tirelessly to reduce disruption during the roll-out, which will be richly compensated by the delivery of high-speed connectivity to homes and businesses across the city.”

Currently, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is only available to less than 7 per cent of premises across the UK. It is revered as the best in connectivity for its speed, near unlimited bandwidth and reliability. By using fibre optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or business to the Internet, users will be offered a significantly superior and more reliable broadband service, capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps).

To find out more about Vodafone Gigafast Broadband and register your interest visit: www.vodafone.co.uk/gigafast/register

Stay up to date with CityFibre’s Gigabit City vision for Leeds by visiting: www.cityfibre.com/leeds and following @GigabitLeeds on Twitter.

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