Work to transform Sheffield into one of the world’s best digitally connected cities kicks off today.

Sheffield is celebrating a major milestone in its digital transformation today as work begins to extend its full fibre network to reach almost every home and business locally.

As part of a £115m private investment from CityFibre, Sheffield will benefit from the citywide full fibre network roll-out, meaning its residents and businesses will soon be able to enjoy the fastest, most reliable gigabit-speed connectivity.

According to research from economic consultancy Regeneris, full fibre connectivity will have a major impact in Sheffield over the next 15 years. It shows that up to £162m could be added to the value of local homes, while Smart City initiatives could add as much as £113m locally. Access to full fibre could also unlock £78m in business productivity and innovation, while a further £43m in growth could be driven from new business start-ups, with enhanced connectivity making it easier and less expensive to set up base and run efficiently.

Construction work has officially commenced in Darnall and Wybourn, with the rest of the city set to follow over the next four years. O’Connor Utilities Ltd is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf, using modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly. The team is also working closely with CityFibre, Sheffield City Council and local communities to manage disruption and ensure a fast and successful roll-out.  Residents are being kept informed by mailings ahead of works in their streets.

Natalie Ward has been appointed by CityFibre to spearhead the Sheffield project. As City Manager, she will provide a key point of liaison between the wider community and the CityFibre team, while ensuring the project is implemented with minimal disruption. She will also work to raise awareness of full fibre technology and the many benefits it will bring to the city.

Natalie Ward, CityFibre’s City Manager for Sheffield, said: This past year has really demonstrated the remarkable versatility of the internet and how much we depend upon all things digital. We want to ensure that as many homes as possible in Sheffield are linked to Full Fibre – the fastest and most resilient digital infrastructure available – to make our digital experience as seamless as possible.

“The investment will also have a transformative impact on Sheffield’s forward-thinking business community. Next generation Full Fibre connectivity can drive innovation and productivity, ultimately giving businesses the platform they need to realise their growth ambitions.”

Cllr Bob Johnson, Sheffield City Council Leader, said: “We welcome this private investment by CityFibre into Sheffield to deliver a modern, state of the art digital infrastructure that will futureproof connectivity for residents and businesses.

“Sheffield’s new digital infrastructure will play an important part in our recovery plan, with a resilient and dynamic economy this will boost productivity and restart growth after Covid-19.

“Sheffield City Council works closely with the private sector to facilitate economic growth. CityFibre’s full fibre network will be pivotal, supporting economic growth and boosting the high growth digital companies Sheffield is home to.

Currently, fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) is available to less than 20 per cent of premises across the UK. It is revered as the best in connectivity for its speed, near unlimited bandwidth and reliability. By using fibre optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or business to the Internet, users will be offered a significantly superior and more reliable broadband service, capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps).

The network is not yet live, but once activated, services will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers. Across the UK, CityFibre is already working with launch partner, Vodafone to deliver next generation broadband services, and TalkTalk is expected to join the network soon. Residents interested in connecting to full fibre broadband can pre-register their interest at cityfibre.com/residential and will receive information when services are available.

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