Cityfibre has announced that the first homes on their new £60m and 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network in the West Midlands city of Coventry have now gone live via UK ISP partner Vodafone. The aim is to cover “almost every home” in the city by the end of 2021.
The Coventry project forms part of Cityfibre’s wider £2.5bn investment (details) to deploy their Gigabit capable “full fibre” broadband infrastructure to cover around 1 million premises in 10 UK cities by the end of 2021 (phase one – costing c.£500m), before rising to 5 million premises across 37 cities and towns by the end of 2024.
Work on the new digital infrastructure only began in November 2018 (here) and is based around a significant extension to the operator’s existing 180km Dark Fibre network in the city, which was initially launched in 2014 to serve public sector and business sites. The network is now being extended to local homes and the first ones have just gone live around Old Church Road and Gayer Street.
Apparently the next areas to benefit will be on Longford and Bell Green. The Gigafast Broadband packages from Vodafone currently cost from £28 per month for an unlimited 100Mbps (symmetric speed) service on an 18 month contract, including free installation (you also get a good wireless router), which rises to £48 per month for their top 900Mbps (Gigabit) tier.
Leigh Hunt, CityFibre’s Local City Development Manager, said:
“Coventry is among the first UK cities announced in our national rollout of full fibre broadband to five million UK homes and businesses. We’ve made huge progress and it is tremendous to see the first homes now reaping the benefits of full fibre.
This state-of-the-art digital connectivity will have a huge economic impact on the city, increasing productivity and innovation within businesses and allowing households to embrace smart tech while giving people the opportunity to work at home with ease.
Coventry City Council has been extremely supportive of the project, and really understand the benefits of excellent city-wide connectivity, so it was fantastic to meet with Councillor O’Boyle and Councillor Brown to give them a closer look at the progress which has been made so far.”
Richard Brown, Coventry City Councillor, said:
“A better and faster digital infrastructure will make a massive difference to local people and businesses. I’ve been really impressed with what I have seen, and CityFibre appear to be letting customers know why the improvement work is happening. This project is really positive for the city.”
Coventry joins Milton Keynes, Aberdeen and Peterborough as being among the first cities to start connecting consumers to the new FTTH network, although Cityfibre’s competitors aren’t standing still. Much of the city can already access Virgin Media’s soon to be 500Mbps+ capable DOCSIS (cable) network and Openreach are also targeting the city for their Gigabit FTTP roll-out (here).
However Cityfibre’s network is significantly cheaper for consumers than Openreach’s offering and Virgin Media won’t be able to match their Gigabit speeds until their DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade goes live (roll-out due to start sometime this year – here). Even then both Openreach and Virgin Media’s future services will be hobbled by significantly slow upload speeds, while Vodafone are offering symmetrical performance.