Fibre optic network builder Cityfibre has today officially unveiled their plan to build, operate and own a 114km Dark Fibre spine network across 10 towns in Suffolk, which is being supported by UK business ISP partner MLL Telecom and an award of £5.9m from the Gov’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) project.
Details of the new network leaked out at the end of last year (here) and so we knew an announcement was coming. Under the final plan Cityfibre expects to connect over 300 public sector sites (council offices, NHS clinics, fire stations etc.) to their “future-proof network,” which they say is capable of delivering Gigabit broadband speeds (1Gbps+) as standard.
At the same time MLL has been awarded with a related 20-year contract by Suffolk County Council to extend the county’s existing Wide Area Network (WAN) to connect over 600 key public sector sites and provide them with ultra-fast and next generation services. This will naturally harness the new network infrastructure.
The network itself is expected to take up to 18 months to complete and the first street works began last month. The 10 towns include Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Haverhill, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Sudbury, Stowmarket, Mildenhall and Newmarket.
Rob Hamlin, Commercial Director of CityFibre, said:
“This represents yet another major public sector fibre infrastructure deployment for CityFibre. We have worked closely with MLL to refine a unique proposition in the market that harnesses the potential for the public sector to drive the wider digital transformation agenda.”
Neil Woolerton, MLL Telecom’s Director of Client Management, said:
“Our focus is on enabling the public sector in Suffolk to work anywhere, anytime, with connectivity that is up to ten times faster than any other region in the UK as standard. We are absolutely thrilled to support Suffolk County Council – which has been an MLL Telecom customer since 2012 – to fulfil its digital ambition.
The future will be made possible by connectivity, and we are proud to provide the infrastructure and network to allow the public sector in Suffolk and surrounding areas to take full advantage.”
Once completed it’s expected that Cityfibre will grow the network to offer leased line and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) style connections to local businesses. Today’s announcement also confirmed that the new network would position Suffolk as a “candidate for significant private investment in full fibre roll-outs to homes.”
The approach being taken above is the same as we’ve seen the operator adopt in lots of other cities across the UK. Many of their networks, which started out with a limited focus on public sector and business connectivity, are now being expanded alongside Vodafone to deploy 1Gbps FTTH broadband to cover 5 million homes by the end of 2024 (here).
A previous meeting predicted that the new network could potentially be worth as much as £40m to £75m in wider economic benefits to the county over the next 20 years.