Vodafone to get exclusive access to new CityFibre FTTP network in Milton Keynes
18 January 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Residents of the city of Milton Keynes in the English Midlands are to get direct gigabit fibre connections in a project by Vodafone and the independent carrier CityFibre.
The project will see a private investment from CityFibre of at least £40 million into the digital infrastructure, which will extend an existing 160km fibre network.
CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: “The partnership between Vodafone and CityFibre aims to tackle the huge problem the UK faces in terms of digital inadequacy and will help fulfil our vision of a Gigabit Britain.”
CityFibre says it will use modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly and minimise disruption. Once completed, nearly every business and home in Milton Keynes will have fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) access.
The deal follows an announcement in November 2017 that Vodafone and CityFibre would spend £500 million to bring FTTP to five million homes across the UK by 2025.
Under that agreement – of which this is part – Vodafone has the right to a period of exclusivity that will allow it to market consumer broadband services on the network for about three years.
Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said: “We believe that residents deserve a digital communications service to match their ambitions. This is why we are providing gigabit-capable connections to transform the way we live and work.”
CityFibre is a wholesale player without its own business or consumer customers. It has launched fibre networks in a number of cities, from Aberdeen in the north of Scotland to Southend-on-Sea in the south-east of England, sometimes with a preferred partner. In 2016 it signed a master services agreement with Level 3, now part of CenturyLink and in 2017 it said it was raising £200 million in a share placing to build a 50-city fibre network.
Milton Keynes was founded as a new city in 1967 and its population is now around 270,000. It is halfway between the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, which are now being connected by a new rail line.
“Milton Keynes is fast becoming a UK leader for productivity and growth, with its economic prospects only likely to improve following the opening of the East West Rail project,” said Jeffery.
Peter Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “As a modern city that prides itself on its smart city ambitions and projects, we are perfectly positioned to make the most of this major private investment in our digital infrastructure.”