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CityFibre Full-Fibre Rollout Crosses 1.5m Premises

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Independent broadband infrastructure building CityFibre has announced that its gigabit-capable network has passed 1.5 million premises on its way to eight million by 2025.

The best-financed and most ambitious alt-net in the UK, CityFibre just celebrated meeting its goal of reaching one million homes and businesses by the end of 2021 in November. But it didn’t rest on its laurels and connected an additional 500,000 premises in just five months.

CityFibre currently has a presence in 60 cities and towns. By the end of this year, it hopes to have builds underway in more than 150 cities, towns, and villages. 

By the time its £4 billion build is complete, it hopes to have installed full-fibre broadband in 285 locations and to be available to 30% of the country. That includes covering 800,000 businesses, 4000,000 public sector sites, and 250,000 5G access points.

Initially focused on urban areas, CityFibre has also announced its intention of competing for rural deployment contracts under the government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit scheme. 

Homes already reached by CityFibre’s network can order gigabit-capable symmetrical service from 30 retail partners, including TalkTalk, Vodafone Broadband, and Zen Internet, and be connected in as little as five working days.

However, CityFibre acknowledges that not all of the 1.5 million premises it has announced are truly Ready for Service (RFS). Of that figure, 200,000 are technically completed but don’t have a retail ISP assigned yet so customers can’t currently order a live service.

CityFibre also announced a new £300 million investment boost. The cash is coming from the UAE’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, which has already contributed £500 million to the rollout.

CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch said: “With Mubadala’s continued support, we are well funded to deliver the UK’s finest Full Fibre network and help to level-up the UK.”

The UK’s full-fibre space is crowded, with dozens of builds underway from telecoms giants BT (Openreach) and Virgin Media, and a host of smaller players including Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, Gigaclear, KCOM, and G.Network.

But if builds go according to plan, CityFibre will have the third-largest full-fibre network (8 million premises), after BT’s Openreach (25 million premises) and Virgin Media (23 million premises) by the mid-late 2020s.

The government has the ambition of pushing gigabit coverage to 85% by 2025, although it’s written that target loosely enough to include other technologies besides fixed broadband, including 5G mobile networks and fixed wireless services.

To see if your home is one of the 1.5 million addresses CityFibre has reached, use its online availability checker.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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