Digital & IT

Published: February 3, 2020 | Updated: February 3, 2020

Superfast full fibre will bring ‘competitive force’ to Bournemouth says CityFibre boss

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer, CityFibre, with Lucy Cooper, City Manager, Bournemouth. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

CityFibre boss Greg Mesch says next generation full fibre broadband will bring a ‘competitive force’ to Bournemouth and a massive economic boost.

Currently CityFibre is spending around £38m on bringing gigabit speed internet connectivity within reach of nearly every home and business in the resort as part of its Gigabit City initiative.

Bournemouth is one of the first towns in the south to receive superfast 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 eight 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.

Addressing an audience of VIP stakeholders – including BCP Council Leader Cllr Vikki Slade and Graham Farrant, BCP Council’s Chief Executive – Mr Mesch, CityFibre’s Chief Executive Officer, 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.”

A study commissioned by CityFibre, and carried out by Regeneris, on the economic impact of full fibre on Bournemouth over 15 years has revealed it could deliver a £181m boost including:

  • £100m to private households from an increase in house prices and household wealth.
  • £15m from increased business productivity.
  • £13m from new business start-ups.
  • £10m from healthcare technologies.
  • £43m from smart city infrastructure.

Christchurch and Poole – now also covered by the unitary BCP Council – don’t 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.

As a result, Christchurch and Poole might join the Gigabit City roll-out earlier than originally planned.

He told Dorset Biz News: “I’m aware things have changed with the creation of BCP Council.

“It’s a Board decision but if there’s a strong local demand then it’s quite possible the existing list could be re-sequenced.

“I can’t make any commitment as it’s down to the Board but it’s certainly something we could, and would, look at.”

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.

CityFibre is investing £4bn in bringing Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to 8m homes and businesses by 2025.

Vodafone is CityFibre’s partner for consumer broadband during the initial build and launch phase of the network.

It started connecting the first homes in Bournemouth to full fibre at the end of last year.

Businesses can connect via a range of specialist providers. Click here for more details.

The VIP stakeholders were taken to see one of CityFibre’s live build sites in Bournemouth town centre before visiting Centre VR where they received a virtual reality experience, explaining the benefits of full fibre.