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45,000 hard-to-reach Cambridgeshire properties to be connected to fibre

Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and MP for South East Cambridgeshire, visiting CityFibre engineers

Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and MP for South East Cambridgeshire, visited engineers deploying the new network in her constituency (Credit: CityFibre)

UK alternative network provider, CityFibre has begun work to connect almost 45,000 hard to reach premises in Cambridgeshire as part of the government’s £5bn Project Gigabit programme.

Construction has begun following extensive planning and design work, with the first locations in the county to benefit from the new digital infrastructure including Fen Ditton, Grantchester and Milton. CityFibre will also be connecting a further 170,000 homes across Cambridgeshire as it aligns its nationwide rollout with the Project Gigabit programme.

The Cambridgeshire rollout – made possible through £69m government investment – is the first of nine Project Gigabit delivery contracts secured by CityFibre since March 2022 with rollouts spanning Suffolk, Norfolk, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Sussex, Kent, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes. These represent over £782m in government subsidies and unlocks almost £1.2bn in combined public and private investment in rural broadband.

More recently, the altnet was awarded five new contracts under the programme, as part of the allocation of £1bn in Project Gigabit contracts to connect around 677,000 rural homes and businesses to full-fibre. As well as the five CityFibre contracts, a sixth was awarded to Hull-based supplier Connexin to upgrade premises in Nottinghamshire and West Lincolnshire. 

Gigabit connectivity in South East Cambridgeshire

Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and MP for South East Cambridgeshire, recently visited engineers deploying the new network in her constituency. In response to the start of the build she says: “I'm delighted to see that CityFibre have started their full-fibre rollout as part of Project Gigabit here in Cambridgeshire. This future-proof connectivity is critical for our region to drive growth, expand job opportunities and connect our communities. As some of the first in the country to benefit from the Government's £5bn programme of investment in new lightning-fast connectivity, I'm pleased that the first households and businesses in South East Cambridgeshire will shortly be able to access services and reap the benefits of this brand-new network. Gigabit will also be coming very shortly to Milton and Landbeach.” 

The new network will provide residents and businesses with access to a wide range of internet service providers including well-known brands like Vodafone, TalkTalk and Zen, as well as a number of exciting new providers.

XGS-PON technology

Built using XGS-PON technology, capable of supporting speeds of up to 10Gb/s, CityFibre’s full-fibre network is designed to enable its current and future internet service provider (ISP) partners to serve customers with far faster and more reliable broadband services than the legacy copper-based network currently available in the build areas.

Data and Digital Infrastructure Minister, Julia Lopez, says: "Our multi-million pound investment in Project Gigabit is putting an end to buffering and bad connections. We are rolling out gigabit-capable networks faster than any other country in Europe, driving forward growth and new opportunities by providing millions of people across the UK with access to game-changing connectivity. It's fantastic to see that Cambridgeshire will be one of the first places in the UK to see spades in the ground, transforming the way people live and work in these rural communities."

Throughout the build, CityFibre will work closely with local stakeholders to ensure disruption is minimised and that the build is managed safely and efficiently. Typically, teams will only remain in each road for up to three days at a time, and residents will be contacted ahead of any work starting.

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer at CityFibre, says: “Our brand new network will go a long way to addressing the digital divide between our towns and cities and those in the countryside. There are real benefits to be felt from multi-gigabit speeds and unparalleled reliability and these are just as important to people living and working in rural areas. For the first time, underserved communities can choose between an old copper network built for phone calls and a modern full-fibre network designed for the data age.”

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