Sheffield, Middlesbrough, and Barnsley among towns and cities to benefit from a new full fibre network Rollout unlocks thousands of construction jobs in the North this year Announcement brings the total number of UK premises identified to 5 million across 62 towns and cities Mobilisation accelerated with £1.5bn in network construction contracts to be awarded by July
CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, has revealed nine additional cities in the North are set to become Gigabit Cities benefiting from a full fibre network as part of its up to £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme, targeting up to 8 million premises. In parallel, CityFibre has also accelerated the mobilisation of its network build capabilities, with a process underway to award £1.5bn in construction contracts by the summer and network build brought forward in areas such as Preston and Gateshead, along with 27 other areas in the UK by the end of the year.
Amongst the locations announced in the North are Halifax, Stoke-on-Trent and Chester, as well other areas in the UK such as Glasgow, Solihull and Nottingham. Each will benefit from a future-proof network that will support the digital needs of homes, businesses, next generation mobile networks and public services for generations. Underpinned by a full fibre infrastructure platform, these towns and cities will spur economic growth, helping to level-up the UK and support the Government’s target of nationwide coverage by 2025.
In an acceleration of its plans, CityFibre will shortly be awarding more than £1.5bn in network construction contracts for the newly announced full city builds. Awards will be granted by July, enabling the selected partners to secure and mobilise their workforce in preparation for network construction to begin in nearly all the announced cities by the end of 2020. The 5 million home rollout will create more than 5,000 construction jobs across the UK and stimulate local economic growth in the region of £85bn.
Today’s announcement follows news that TalkTalk has committed to join CityFibre’s network to market both consumer and business services. They will join Vodafone and over 1,500 business and public sector ISPs as customers on the growing network. Most recently, mobile operator Three has committed to leverage CityFibre’s growing network to support its nationwide rollout of 5G services, further accelerating CityFibre’s network deployment plans.
The announcement has been welcomed by the Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, for its contribution towards the Government’s target of nationwide full fibre coverage by 2025.
Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP said “We want to make sure every corner of the country benefits from world-class, gigabit speed broadband, so it is great to see CityFibre expanding out into 36 more towns and cities.
"We are working closely with industry to push ahead with nationwide rollout and investing £5 billion so the hardest-to-reach areas aren’t left behind."
Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Many Northern Powerhouse towns and cities are set to benefit from this significant investment unlocking fibre to the premises. This digital progress, driven by competition, is a significant step to opening up opportunities for those growing up across the North as well as businesses here already or considering relocating or starting here. Ensuring that unlike the challenges we experience in wider infrastructure like transport, adopting the next industrial revolution will be a transition we can lead to help level up Britain, closing the North – South divide for good.”
Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said: Britain’s, and in particular the North’s, need for a world-class digital infrastructure has never been greater. This is why we stand firmly behind the Government’s plan for nationwide coverage by 2025 and we are doing our part in the North to help achieve that target. Full fibre will play a critical role in levelling-up the North and so today we are accelerating our plans, bringing full fibre to more towns and cities even faster.”