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CityFibre Teams Up With Gigaclear For Rural Ultrafast Broadband

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Gigaclear and CityFibre partner up to push ultrafast broadband deployments for rural areas

Two connectivity providers have teamed up to challenge BT Openreach with the deployment of ultrafast broadband for rural consumers and businesses.

CityFibre and Gigaclear said their partnership will dramatically accelerate the roll-out of next-generation ultrafast internet access. They also predict that hundreds of thousands will be connected to the FTTP solution.

Backhaul Provision

The partnership will utilise CityFibre’s extensive metro fibre network in over 37 towns and cities outside of London. Indeed, CityFibre has made no secret of the fact that it intends to build a fibre to the premise (FTTP) network capable of competing with Openreach.

Last December CityFibre purchased KCOM’s national network outside of Hull and East Yorkshire for £90 million. It said that deal would accelerate its model by 5 to 7 years and also revealed that it had the finance to reach 50 cities.

With this particular CityFibre said its national footprint will be used to facilitate and accelerate Gigaclear’s deployment of rural pure fibre networks.

“CityFibre’s long distance network will provide a new backhaul option for future Gigaclear deployments while its metro networks and POP facilities will facilitate connectivity to nearby rural areas,” it said.

Both firms have reportedly recently raised “substantial new investment” to fund the exercise.

“We are delighted to formalise a partnership with Gigaclear which shares such a complementary agenda,” said Greg Mesch, chief executive of CityFibre. “We have long been aware of the huge levels of demand for better internet connectivity in rural areas surrounding our urban network projects.”

broadband next exitRural Focus

Mesch then took the opportunity to have a pop at BT Openreach.

“It is a national embarrassment that residents and businesses in rural areas, and indeed many of those in towns and cities, have been left in the digital dark ages,” said Mesch. “Pure fibre infrastructure is the 21st century utility and is an essential component to everyday life.”

Gigaclear meanwhile has made its name by focusing mostly on rural FTTP projects, for example in West Berkshire and the Cotswolds.

It also offers a 5Gbps service to its consumer and business customers, and has previously told TechweekEurope that demand in rural areas for ultrafast broadband would justify expensive FTTP deployments.

“Bringing brilliant broadband to rural Britain has its challenges,” explained Matthew Hare, chief executive at Gigaclear. “This partnership with CityFibre gives Gigaclear access to more capacity, faster delivery and more flexible bandwidth across the country.”

“It helps us build Gigabit networks where other operators do not reach, to meet the demand for better broadband from homes and businesses,” he added.

Both firms have previously called for BT to create a database of its ducts and poles so other providers can lay their own fibre cables. This would allow alternative network providers such as CityFibre and Gigaclear to better plan their networks.

BT of course inherited its national telecoms network from the General Post Office in the past and questions remain over whether it has a detailed plan of its network.

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