CityFibre: SSE Telecoms Deal Shows Potential Of £90m National Fibre Network

Fibre optic quantum cryptography light © asharkyu Shutterstock

CityFibre says the ease at which it has attracted its first customer after KCOM national network acquisition shows it can compete with Openreach

CityFibre has signed up SSE Enterprise Telecoms as the first new customer for the national network it acquired from KCOM last December for £90 million.

SSE has agreed a 15-year deal for additional capacity along a 48 kilometre stretch between Reading and Slough in order to boost its communication services for businesses.

“It is encouraging to see the breadth of fibre assets available both regionally and nationally from CityFibre,” said Colin Sempill, managing director of SSE Enterprise Telecoms. “We look forward to a long term, mutually rewarding relationship as each of our businesses continues to grow rapidly.”

CityFibre goes national

Fibre Optic Cable LandscapeThe addition of KCOM’s fibre network increased CityFibre’s national footprint by 300 percent, comprising 1,100km of network in 24 UK cities and another 1,100 connecting cities to major data centres and Internet peering points in London.

CityFibre now has a presence in 37 towns and cities, the most recent of which is Southend, and there are plans to increase this to 50 by the end of the decade. In total, the network covers 7,000 mobile sites, 24,500 public sector locations and 245,000 businesses.

The company claims that by securing such a “major” customer so shortly after the deal has been concluded demonstrates the commercial possibilities afforded by the ‘long distance network’ (LDN).

“As the UK’s leading national alternative digital infrastructure providers, CityFibre is able to deliver end-to-end wholesale dark fibre connectivity to service providers, data centres and mobile operators,” claimed commercial director Rob Hamlin.

“This agreement with SSE Enterprise Telecoms marks our first LDN transaction and the beginning of a key trading relationship with a major national service provider. CityFibre now represents a compelling proposition on the long-haul UK fibre market and we look forward to more national service providers making use of our LDN.”

CityFibre, which offers wholesale services to other communications providers, hopes the KCOM network will help it create a national infrastructure to rival that of BT Openreach. The company is also exploring the possibility of deploying fibre in BT’s ducts and poles, a measure which Ofcom believes can boost competition at a network level in the UK broadband market.

“CityFibre’s ambition has always been to build a pure fibre open infrastructure that competes with Openreach,” Mark Collins, CityFibre director of policy told TechWeekEurope. “The opportunity to create a large scale, modern, pure fibre alternative to Openreach is a business opportunity that we want to take advantage of.”

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