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1Gbps FTTP Broadband Services Go Live In Leeds And Bradford

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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CityFibre says its networks in northern cities can help develop the region as an economic powerhouse

Gigabit broadband services are now available in Leeds and Bradford from providers using CityFibre’s fibre to the premise (FTTP) networks in the two cities.

The company has teamed up with Leeds-based business broadband provider Diva Telecom and Bradford-focused Exa Networks, which has strengths in both education and business, delivering speeds of up to 1Gbps – significantly faster than those afford by fibre to the cabinet (FTTC).

CityFibre says the commercialisation of nearly 200km of fibre infrastructure makes Leeds and Bradford two of the most connected cities in the world and builds on its other investments in Yorkshire, including in Huddersfield and York.

CityFibre Bradford and Leeds

Leeds night city metro wi-fi © PMACD|PHOTOGRAPHY Shutterstock“As thirst for greater internet speeds continues to grow in all sectors, it’s fantastic to be able to offer cities the world-class digital infrastructure they need to meet the demand. As Gigabit Cities, Leeds and Bradford will be on the digital front foot, able to compete and succeed in a digital world,” claimed CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch.

“We have already invested over £70m in next generation digital infrastructure across the North, and now businesses in Leeds and Bradford will be able to capitalise on this to build better-connected, more innovative, companies.”

“This announcement is great news for Bradford. Reliable, ultrafast gigabit speed connectivity is crucial for businesses across the city to compete on the national and international stage,” added David Cawthray at Bradford Council. “The CityFibre network will support the growth of Bradford’s thriving entrepreneurial business community as well as other bandwidth hungry organisations allowing them to transform the way they operate.”

The network expansion is the latest to benefit Leeds, which is one of the first areas to be covered by Virgin Media’s £3bn Project Lightning. Up to 80,000 premises in the city will be connected to Virgin’s cable network at a cost of £40m. Virgin Media has also installed free Wi-Fi in both cities.

Nationwide rival

CityFibre has a presence in 37 towns and cities outside London and recently purchased KCOM’s national network outside of Hull and East Yorkshire for £90 million. It says the deal can accelerate its model by 5 to 7 years and has the finance to reach 50 cities.

Overall, the company has 2,150km of metro fibre either constructed or under construction, and 1,100 kilometres of national backbone fibre acquired from KCOM. Its infrastructure covers 26,000 public sector sites, 7,400 cell sites for mobile operators, 260,000 businesses and 3.7 million homes.

At present it has 41 communications providers (CPs) using its networks, including Vodafone, EE and Three, and SSE Enterprise Telecoms. SSE is the first customer to use the KCOM network and signed up within 90 days of acquisition, something CityFibre says shows the potential of its new asset.

Revenues rose 67 percent to £6.4m during 2015, while pre-tax profits reached £5.5m and losses after tax narrowed from £7m to £6.8m.

The company has told TechWeekEurope it believes it can become a genuine alternative to BT’s Openreach network, which is used to power broadband services from the likes of Sky and TalkTalk.

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