Project Gigabit Contract Unleashes Major Expansion of CityFibre’s Networks Across Cambridgeshire

CityFibre has secured a substantial £69 million contract under the UK government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit initiative, aimed at supporting the rollout of ‘gigabit capable’ infrastructure to rural areas that wouldn’t otherwise receive commercial broadband expansions. The contract will subsidize a £122 million rollout of CityFibre’s wholesale full fibre platform, benefitting up to 45,000 rural homes and businesses in Cambridgeshire. An additional £53 million will be provided through private investment from CityFibre.

This contract marks a significant evolution of CityFibre’s strategy, as it will not only provide for the initial 45,000 premises but will also extend the rollout to an additional 170,000 homes across Cambridgeshire. This extension is part of CityFibre’s broader nationwide rollout program and reflects the company’s commitment to optimizing its network coverage alongside Project Gigabit.

Cambridgeshire already features extensive CityFibre coverage, with completed rollouts in Peterborough and March and ongoing deployment in Cambridge. Approximately £100 million has already been committed to serving 150,000 homes in the county. When combined with the new commitments, CityFibre’s network will ultimately serve more than 365,000 homes, establishing one of the densest full fibre footprints in the region.

Given that the ‘Project Gigabit’ subsidized premises have no commercial build plans in place, CityFibre’s network will become the sole ‘gigabit-capable’ infrastructure in the target area, making it highly attractive to Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

As a well-established wholesale operator, CityFibre will provide all ISPs with access to the new network through its platform. This will enable ISPs to deliver significantly faster and more reliable broadband services compared to slow and unreliable copper-based networks.

Detailed planning for the Cambridgeshire expansion has already commenced, with the first Project Gigabit connections expected in early 2024. CityFibre’s nationwide rollout is making steady progress, with more than 2.5 million homes already covered by its networks.

CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch expressed delight at being selected as a government partner in Project Gigabit, emphasizing the strategic importance of participating in this initiative.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez noted that this landmark agreement with CityFibre will ensure that rural homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire can benefit from top-of-the-range gigabit broadband, supporting the growth of the county’s science and tech industries.

Contract Highlights:

– Contract Value:

  – £69 million Project Gigabit investment

  – £53 million CityFibre investment

– Coverage:

  – Initial rollout to up to 45,000 rural homes and businesses

  – Extended rollout to an additional 170,000 homes across Cambridgeshire

– Availability:

  – Detailed planning underway, with first Project Gigabit connections expected in early 2024

– Total Coverage:

  – CityFibre’s network to ultimately serve more than 365,000 homes in Cambridgeshire

– Significance:

  – Sole ‘gigabit-capable’ network in the area, presenting a compelling opportunity for ISPs.

Jonny Rae

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