Cityfibre Bringing FTTH Broadband to Social Housing in Scotland

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Fibre optic network builder Cityfibre has reached a new access agreement (wayleave) with several housing associations in Scotland, which means that residents of social homes in two Scottish cities – Aberdeen and Stirling – may soon be able to access a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband ISP network.

In Stirling, Cityfibre has secured wayleaves for the Forth Housing Association and Stirling Council. Aberdeen City Council is also in full support of the project and excellent progress has been made with the citywide roll-out. Agreements are already in place with Grampian Housing Association, Langstane Housing Association and Castlehill Housing Association in Aberdeen.

All of this will no doubt support their £2.5bn investment, which aims to cover around 1 million homes across 12 UK cities and towns with Gigabit capable “full fibre” broadband by the end of 2021 (Phase One) and then 5 million premises across 37 cities and towns by the end of 2025 (here). Vodafone are their main ISP for related residential services.

The new network could also be used to help underpin SmartCity infrastructure, such temperature sensors, moisture meters and alarms. Such sensors can capture environmental data and identify issues before they become apparent, although they’ve also triggered the odd quirky privacy concern (here).

Rob Hamlin, CCO of CityFibre, said:

“Digital access is a major issue facing communities throughout Scotland and we are committed to addressing the problem. This approach will make a genuine difference to thousands of people living in social housing, giving them access to transformative technology and ensuring they are not left behind when it comes to the digital revolution.

We are proud to have agreed a number of partnerships with housing associations and local housing providers and believe this model is something which can be repeated on a much larger scale across Scotland and the rest of the UK.”

We don’t know exactly how many premises will benefit overall from this agreement, although the Forth Housing Association did confirm that they expected the deal to help cover almost 700 properties.

Grahame Cairns, Director – Forth Housing Association, said:

“Digital connectivity is not just a nice to have, which is why it’s absolutely essential that access is widened. Forth Housing Association is thrilled to be partnering with CityFibre to give our tenants the opportunity to connect to next-generation full fibre. By granting blanket wayleave agreements we can allow CityFibre to get to work as quickly as possible.”

A number of providers like Hyperoptic and Community Fibre have reached similar agreements with local authorities and housing associations in other parts of the UK. Some cities, like Aberdeen, also have quite a high proportion of flats and thus such agreements are essential for the rollout to progress.

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