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Community Fibre upgrades to 3Gbps FTTH in London

Community Fibre van and London bus.jpg

London-based telco Community Fibre is to start offering symmetric 3Gbps direct connections to customers’ homes across most of its network.

The company, which is backed by private equity investor Warburg Pincus to the tune of £400 million, will charge customers £99 a month for the 3Gbps fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service.

That price is twice the £49 a month Community Fibre charges for 1Gbps. “We can upgrade existing customers on a software basis, with no visit required,” CEO Graeme Oxby told Capacity yesterday.

The company, which is building networks in 16 of London’s 33 boroughs and is planning to cover more, also offers 10Gbps to business users. “There are not many consumer devices that can handle that,” said Oxby.

The company is also thinking of offering wholesale services to independent retail telecoms companies. “We see wholesale as an interesting opportunity. We are a dense network and [companies] are looking for scale. Wholesale is something we talk about.”

Community Fibre, whose executive chairman is Olaf Swantee, former CEO of Swiss mobile operator Sunrise, will bundle a Wifi 6 router from Zyxel with every consumer subscription. “It has four ports at 1Gbps each,” said Oxby. “It means you can share the service between three people in the house and each will get a gig.”

Only half of Community Fibre’s network is able to handle the upgrade, Oxby confirmed: the more recently built infrastructure that uses XGS-PON passive optical network technology. (According to the IEEE, the XG in that abbreviation means 10G and the S means symmetrical.) But all newly built infrastructure will also use XGS-PON, he said. 

Community Fibre is already available to “well above 100,000” homes in London, said Oxby, mostly flats in social housing blocks. The company aims to pass a million homes by the end of 2023. Oxby would not say how many households have actually taken up the service. “We’re not going to give monthly figures.”

The company is connected to two data centres in east London, Telehouse North and Equinix London LD8, and its network runs though 80 of its own cabinets as well as “a few BT exchanges”.

 

 

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