Dense full-fibre networks will deliver growth in the UK’s digital economy by empowering SMEs in business parks across CityFibre’s 40 city footprint.

CityFibre today announces that it has begun a roll-out of dense full-fibre networks in business parks across its 40 city UK footprint to reach more than 500 business parks. Over 22,000 SMEs will benefit from low-cost access to world-class, gigabit-speed internet services delivered over the new infrastructure in or near CityFibre’s existing networks. The first parks targeted for upgrade are in the Company’s Gigabit City projects Coventry, Bristol and Peterborough.

The full-fibre networks will be made available to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and resellers on a wholesale basis, enabling CityFibre’s partners to market a new generation of affordable, ultra-fast internet services. These will provide a major digital advantage to local businesses, dramatically increasing their productivity. An entry level, ultra-fast, symmetrical service will be available at an expected retail price of £120 per month.

CityFibre has already proven the demand for full-fibre connectivity in business parks in several of its Gigabit City projects. Pre-registration rates of over 60% have been recorded in many of the business parks surveyed on the current footprint. CityFibre will leverage its learnings of local market engagement, demand aggregation and product pricing to accelerate penetration rates.

The announcement marks a major new phase in the growing competition that CityFibre is providing to BT Openreach across the UK. CityFibre’s aim is to expand to 100 cities by 2025, which would equate to fibre access for 60% of the UK’s businesses and 40% of the UK’s homes outside of London. The roll-outs will also serve as a full-fibre backbone to support the economic development of key development areas such as the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive of CityFibre, commented: “After decades of underinvestment, Openreach’s antiquated network infrastructure is strangling our nation’s businesses. It is up to CityFibre to provide them with a viable and fit for purpose alternative, delivering a new generation of connectivity for our SMEs, the lifeblood of the UK economy.

“Access to full-fibre connectivity is the only long term solution, and this is currently either unavailable or so cost-prohibitive that it has remained out of reach for most. By extending our Fibre to the Premises roll-out to business parks across our national network, we are bringing affordable, world-class connectivity to the doorsteps of thousands of businesses for the first time. This is preparing our cities for an inevitable future upgrade to Fibre to the Home.”

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “In last week’s Autumn Statement we committed to investing another £1billion in the UK’s digital infrastructure and to support the delivery of full-fibre broadband.

“Fibre is the future, so today’s announcement by CityFibre is another boost to help achieve our ambitious goals. It will give small businesses across the country access to fast and reliable broadband and encourage other emerging providers to scale up so we remain a world-leading economy.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Below are independent statistics proving the need for competitive infrastructure and ultra-fast internet services for SMEs and business parks:

  • 94% of small business owners consider a reliable internet connection critical to the success of their business.1
  • Approximately 45,000 small businesses (1% of Britain’s 4.5 million small businesses) still have to rely on a dial-up connection.1
  • 25% of small firms say they are fairly or very dissatisfied with their broadband provision.1
  • 40% of small businesses said improved digital infrastructure in their area would encourage them to invest in new technology.1
  • 50% SMEs (around 130,000) in certain business areas are unable to receive speeds above 10Mbps 2
  • Estimated that as of August 2015, 46% of premises in SME only postcodes had broadband connections with a maximum speeds of less than 10mbit, 24% has maximum speeds of less than 5mbit and 12% had maximum speeds of less than 2Mbit. 2
  • 18% of SMEs are still unlikely to have access to superfast broadband beyond 2017. 2

 

1  Federation of Small Businesses report – The Fourth Utility: Delivering universal broadband connectivity for small businesses across the UK
Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report

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