CityFibre to begin £110m FTTP Sheffield rollout

CityFibre will this week begin a £110 million project to roll out its new 1 Gbps FTTP network across the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The project is scheduled to take five years to complete. Currently, CityFibre has an existing Dark Fibre network in the city, followings its acquisition of KCOM’s UK network assets in 2015.

The Sheffield rollout is part of CityFibre’s wider £4 billion plan to cover 1 million premises by the end of this year and 8 million premises across over 100 towns and cities (around 30 per cent of the UK) by the end of 2025. The operator currently covers around 500,000 premises.

CityFibre is partnering with civil engineering firm O’Connor’s on the rollout, which is due to start this week in Darnall and Manor and Castle. Up to 40 per cent of cables for the project will be underground, with the rest to be overhead, but CityFibre says it will explore “every other possibility” before excavating roads and pavements.

Upon the project’s planned completion in 2026, CityFibre says all premises in Sheffield will be able to access a dedicated full fibre connection. Currently, the city of Sheffield is home to around 600,000 people, with operators including Virgin Media, Openreach and Pine Media having a strong presence.

CityFibre said that COVID-19 lockdown, which forced people to work and learn from home, had prompted a huge increase of complaints to ISPs. The provider says the Sheffield rollout will offer broadband customers both speed and stability.

CityFibre’s Charlotte Hewitt said: “People are fixated on speed but once you reach a certain speed stability is more important. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of stability, it’s also made people realise the need connectivity like any other utility.”

Hewitt added: “We are on a mission to bring the UK up to where it needs to be in terms of digital technology.”