CityFibre and Up-Connect Tackle Challenges in Full Fibre Network Expansion

As CityFibre advances its mission to deploy full fibre infrastructure across the UK, the intricacies of securing and establishing Fibre Exchange (FEX) sites come into sharp focus. These vital exchanges, fundamental to powering and managing CityFibre’s broadband and business Ethernet connections, underscore the critical role of collaboration between CityFibre and specialist property consultants, Up-Connect.

Navigating the complex landscape of site acquisition, Up-Connect assumes the mantle of ‘FEX hunters,’ spearheading the search for suitable locations in alignment with CityFibre’s network design and connectivity prerequisites. The process entails meticulous planning, proactivity, and local expertise to identify optimal sites, often not actively marketed by commercial agents.

Phil Johnson, CityFibre’s FEX Acquisition Manager, elucidates the challenges inherent in securing FEX locations. Beyond technical considerations, the negotiation of lease terms and wayleaves with landlords emerges as a pivotal determinant of project timelines, with efficient agreements potentially shaving off significant delays.

In parallel, Up-Connect undertakes a multifaceted approach to validate potential sites, scrutinizing factors ranging from planning consent to ecological impacts and community concerns. By engaging with landlords upfront, Up-Connect aims to streamline the negotiation process, preempting potential complications during the legal phase.

The expansion into rural landscapes presents unique logistical hurdles, necessitating adaptability and resourcefulness in site selection. Up-Connect rises to the occasion, sourcing sites in semi-rural industrial areas and even farmyards, all while mitigating challenges such as narrow roads and limited access.

Despite the complexities, Up-Connect’s expertise shines through, with successful acquisitions across various landscapes, including historically significant sites like Bath’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. The partnership underscores a shared commitment to expeditiously delivering the benefits of reliable, high-speed internet connectivity to communities nationwide.

Max Walker

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