Digital & IT

Published: March 13, 2020 | Updated: March 13, 2020

CityFibre to roll out gigafast full fibre to Poole and Christchurch as well as Bournemouth

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer, CityFibre (fourth left) and Lucy Cooper, City Manager Bournemouth (second left) with VIP stakeholders in January including BCP Council Leader Cllr Vikki Slade (fifth left) and Graham Farrant, Chief Executive, BCP Council (third left). Picture: Samantha Cook.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Poole and Christchurch are to join Bournemouth in benefiting from gigafast full fibre – and work could start later this year.

Both are included in a list of 36 additional locations announced by CityFibre as part of its (up to) £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme, targeting up to 8m premises.

In parallel, CityFibre has also accelerated the awarding of more than £1.5bn in network construction contracts.

The contracts will be awarded by July, allowing selected partners to secure and mobilise workforces in preparation for work to begin in nearly all the announced locations by the end of this year.

The rollout is expected to unlock 5,000 construction jobs and £85bn in local economic growth across the country.

The inclusion of Poole and Christchurch has been welcomed by Lucy Cooper, CityFibre’s City Manager Bournemouth.

She said: “It gives me great pleasure to be able to start planning our expansion into Poole and Christchurch, aligning us with BCP Council’s newly merged footprint.

“The construction of our full fibre network will help support the local area in many ways, from creating long term employment, to providing world-class digital infrastructure to businesses and residents, in addition to the environmental benefits that come with better connections over a passive full fibre network.

“Our Gigabit City Investment Programme expansion of 36 additional locations is evidence of the commitment CityFibre has made to the region, as well as the rest of the UK.”

CityFibre is the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform.

The company is currently spending around £38m on bringing gigabit speed internet connectivity within reach of nearly every home and business in Bournemouth as part of its Gigabit City initiative.

Bournemouth is one of the first towns in the south to receive gigafast full fibre broadband.

It is part of CityFibre’s national fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) roll-out in partnership with Vodafone.

Currently its contractor, Verevo CCN, has crews across Bournemouth installing the network which will provide broadband services capable of gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps).

Work underway on installing the full fibre network in Bournemouth town centre.

CityFibre says it will revolutionise the online world at home, unlocking new forms of entertainment and making flexible home working a reality.

It is also expected to provide a step change in internet speed and quality for the whole community, attracting and fostering new businesses as well as retaining and growing those already based in the resort.

Bournemouth was chosen because of its strong tech sector, BCP Council’s commitment to Smart City initiatives and the strength of its support for the project.

The announcement of the 36 new locations follows news that TalkTalk has committed to join CityFibre’s network to market both consumer and business services.

It will join Vodafone and over 1,500 business and public sector ISPs as customers on the growing network.

Most recently, mobile operator Three has committed to leverage CityFibre’s growing network to support its nationwide rollout of 5G services, further accelerating CityFibre’s network deployment plans.

Greg Mesch, CityFibre’s Chief Executive Officer, pictured with Lucy Cooper, City Manager Bournemouth, in January.

As reported on Dorset Biz News, Greg Mesch, CityFibre’s Chief Executive Officer, visited Bournemouth in January.

Addressing an audience of VIP stakeholders, Mr Mesch said the arrival of full fibre would equip Bournemouth for the next 100 years with the potential to create up to 1,000 jobs.

He added: ”This is the most important thing for the UK to get right. A high quality infrastructure is vital. We’re taking out the old one and giving you a new one.

“What we’re doing is bringing a competitive force.”

At the time of Mr Mesch’s visit, Poole and Christchurch – now also covered by the unitary BCP Council – did not feature in the initial roll-out of FTTP to towns and cities across the UK.

But Mr Mesch said his company’s Board could ‘re-sequence’ the list.

Mr Mesch founded CityFibre in January 2011.

The company is now privately owned by a consortium of Antin Infrastructure Partners and West Street Infrastructure Partners.