Eighteen months after CityFibre began its £24m project to provide access to gigabit-capable full fibre to every home and business in Slough, significant progress has been made. Large parts of the town are now complete, and residents are busy signing up for gigabit services with ISPs such as TalkTalk, Vodafone, Giganet, Zen and Purefibre. By the time the project is finished in late 2023, a world-class, open-access full fibre network will have been provided for the whole town. CityFibre is also providing the infrastructure necessary to support the rollout of 5G in the town.
It’s a similar story in Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading, where city-wide projects are progressing well. And within the last few weeks, the company has announced High Wycombe as its next project, investing £23m over the next two and a half years to provide a gigabit-capable full fibre network across the town.
By 2024, the CityFibre infrastructure projects in all these locations should be finished and multiple internet service providers (ISPs) will have come onto these new networks to provide residents and businesses with much faster and more reliable broadband services. These are one-time builds that will cater for the digital needs of residents and businesses for decades to come.
In each location, CityFibre is working closely with local authorities and local communities to manage disruption. Where possible, lead contractors such as VolkerSmart and Instalcom are coordinating works with other utilities to avoid overbuild and residents are being kept informed by mailings ahead of works in their streets. Although such works inevitably cause some disruption and inconvenience for residents, this will be a short-term pain for significant long-term gain.
As area manager for the Cotswolds and Thames Valley, Neil Madle is leading the rollout in most of these locations. In Bracknell, Maidenhead and Slough, Madle replaces Stacey King, who has been promoted to Regional Partnership Director for the South. King remains as city manager for the £58m project in Reading.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of gigabit connectivity and the major benefits these locations will reap now and long into the future and can’t wait for all residents and businesses to enjoy the results,” says Neil Madle. “As someone who has lived and worked in the Thames Valley region for many years, I am honoured to be overseeing these ambitious projects, which will future proof the digital needs for these major Thames Valley locations for decades to come.”
Residents interested in connecting to full fibre broadband can pre-register their interest at cityfibre.com/residential and will receive information when services are available.
The importance of gigabit connectivity
As the new hybrid way of working becomes more entrenched in our daily lives, the importance of high-speed connectivity for our homes becomes ever greater. Too many people are saddled with poor bandwidth and unreliable connectivity at a time when we’re all becoming more reliant on fast and consistent connections in our homes.
Full Fibre, generally seen as the best way to deliver such near unlimited bandwidth and greater reliability, enables households to enjoy all the latest entertainment at lightning speed while giving access to smart home technology. CityFibre is currently building full fibre networks across the country, including in many local towns and cities.
By using fibre optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or business to the Internet, users are offered a significantly superior and more reliable broadband service, capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps). Currently, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) is only available to around 20 percent of premises across the UK and the government wants to see this increase to 85 percent by 2025.