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21 March 2023: CityFibre has been awarded a major contract under government’s £5bn Project Gigabit programme to subsidise rollout of ‘gigabit capable’ infrastructure to rural properties that would otherwise be excluded from commercial rollouts.
The £69m contract awarded will subsidise a £122m rollout of CityFibre’s wholesale full fibre platform to up to 45,000 rural homes and business in Cambridgeshire. The remaining £53m will be funded by an additional private investment from CityFibre.
The award triggers an evolution of CityFibre’s strategy, expanding and densifying its existing footprint alongside the Project Gigabit programme. This will see CityFibre now extend its rollout to an additional 170,000 homes across Cambridgeshire within its 8m home rollout programme.
CityFibre already has extensive coverage within the county where it has completed rollouts in Peterborough and March, and has deployment underway across Cambridge. It has already committed approximately £100m to reach 150,000 homes in the county and combined with its new commitments, CityFibre will ultimately serve more than 365,000 homes. with by far the densest full fibre footprint in the county.
As the ‘Project Gigabit’ subsidised premises are not addressed by any commercial build plans, CityFibre’s rollout will be the only ‘gigabit-capable’ network built in the target area, providing a highly attractive footprint to its Internet Service Provider customers (ISPs).
As an established wholesale operator, all ISPs will be able to access the new network by joining the CityFibre platform. Doing so will enable them to serve customers with far faster and more reliable broadband services than from slow and unreliable copper-based networks.
Detailed planning in Cambridgeshire has already begun and the first Project Gigabit connections are expected in early 2024. CityFibre’s nationwide rollout is progressing well with more than 2.5m homes already passed by its networks.
CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch, said:
“We’re delighted that CityFibre has been selected by the government as a delivery partner in its Project Gigabit programme. Participation in the programme is core to our strategy and to our ISP customers, and we are already optimising our organisation and supply chain to maximise the opportunity.
“We look forward to a long and effective partnership in this exciting programme which supports not only rural connectivity, but a healthy competitive market for the long-term, benefiting consumers and business nationwide.”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez, said:
“Thanks to our record-breaking roll out Project Gigabit, rural homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire can be confident they won’t be left behind in the upgrade to top-of-the-range gigabit broadband.
“This landmark deal with CityFibre will help deliver the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy by ensuring the county’s pioneering science and tech industries can unleash their full potential with lightning-quick connectivity, whether in the city or the countryside.”
Issued on behalf of CityFibre by Weber Shandwick. For further information, interviews or images, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Gigabit is the government’s flagship £5 billion programme to enable hard-to-reach communities to access lightning-fast gigabit-capable broadband. It targets homes and businesses that are not included in broadband suppliers’ plans, reaching parts of the UK that might otherwise miss out on getting the digital connectivity they need.
By the end of 2025, the government is targeting 85% of the UK to have gigabit-capable connectivity, and then nationwide coverage by 2030.
As the drive to deliver gigabit-capable connections intensifies, over recent months several multi-million pound local and regional Project Gigabit contracts have been awarded covering locations including Cornwall, Cumbria, North Dorset, Teesdale and North Northumberland.
Areas including Hampshire, Shropshire, Norfolk and Suffolk are all in line for contract awards by summer 2023.