Fast broadband boost for Inverness

CityFibre, the fibre optic ­telecoms firm behind ultra-fast broadband networks in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling, has today announced plans to launch its services in Inverness.
Work has already started on design of the ultra-fast fibre network to launch in Inverness.Work has already started on design of the ultra-fast fibre network to launch in Inverness.
Work has already started on design of the ultra-fast fibre network to launch in Inverness.

The Highlands city is one of 14 locations chosen for the ­second phase of CityFibre’s rollout of its “Gigabit City” ­programme.

The investment is part of the firm’s £2.5 billion spending plan to bring full fibre infrastructure to at least five ­million homes, more than 20 per cent of the UK market.

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The company, which was taken private in a £538 million takeover by a Goldman Sachs-backed consortium last year, said it had already begun network design in the latest locations – which also include Newcastle and Bradford.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, leader of Highland Council, welcomed the move.

“Digital infrastructure, fit for the 21st century, is critical to the future of Inverness– a city-wide roll-out of full fibre from CityFibre will ensure we have the best possible platform in place,” she said. “The full roll-out builds on work led by the council on an ultrafast network for the public sector.

“Full fibre delivers the potential to transform how we ­communicate, the way we live and work – it will drive economic growth and innovation and help our communities and businesses thrive in a rapidly changing world.”

The total economic impact of full fibre in the new locations could exceed £16.3bn, creating more than 115,000 ­indirect jobs.

CityFibre’s chief executive Greg Mesch said: “With a new prime minister set to increase government’s ambitions for the pace of full fibre rollout, we are delighted to welcome another 14 towns and cities to our Gigabit City Club.

“These cities will not only gain new full fibre networks that will spark their digital transformation, but also unleash the benefits that only competitive infrastructure investment can bring.

“Our rollout to five million homes is gathering momentum. We have now confirmed 26 locations and over two million homes in our ­programme.”

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The latest announcement adds more than one million homes and businesses to the million already covered by the 12 gigabit cities previously announced by the company.

Construction is now under way in ten of those cities, and in five of them gigabit-capable broadband services are live and on sale to customers.

Under a deal struck with Glasgow City Council 18 months ago, CityFibre’s ­network is being extended to reach in excess of 500 council sites under its largest-ever public sector deal.

The move will see the firm expand its existing network in the city to 506 Glasgow City Council-owned sites in an agreement valued at £15.7m.

Key sites to benefit from the investment will include schools, libraries, leisure ­centres, arts venues and council offices.

The seven-year deal has options to extend to a maximum of 19 years, and will be delivered in conjunction with Edinburgh-headquartered ­telecoms provider Commsworld.

In May, the first residents connected to CityFibre’s ­network in Stirling, where it is investing about £10m across the city.