The implementation of a mammoth £2.5bn investment plan to expand CityFibre's full fibre network will meet a third of the Government’s 2025 target, claims the altnet.
CityFibre has identified 37 towns and cities where it already has fibre spine assets as key expansion areas, bringing fibre directly to five million businesses and homes.
The investment follows CityFibre's acquisition in June 2018 by Antin Infrastructure Partners and West Street Infrastructure Partners (a fund managed by Goldman Sachs), and is expected to generate £85bn in associated economic benefits and create 5,000 construction jobs.
CityFibre will be awarding city and town-wide construction contracts across the country for several years to come.
CityFibre’s full fibre network is designed to serve all businesses and public sector sites, and provide a backbone for mobile operators’ existing locations, enabling the roll out of 5G and IoT technology.
The investment plan will deliver a large-scale open-access platform reaching a fifth of the UK’s consumer market, providing choice for ISPs and mobile network operators while complementing other national digital infrastructure developments underway.
CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch (pictured) said: “With a head-start in 37 towns and cities this full fibre investment plan enables us to further accelerate our roll out, catalysing huge economic growth in regional towns and cities across the country and transforming the UK’s digital future.
“Our roll out will soon bring to scale an innovative wholesale network, providing ISPs and mobile network operators with greater choice and 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. 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."
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.
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: "This investment in full-fibre will enable our people and businesses to succeed while providing the stepping stone for advances in 5G technology.”