Fibre optic network gears up for next milestone
Infrastructure which enables super-slick broadband speeds is spreading across Scotland as CityFibre expands
When it comes to high-speed broadband, there are an increasing array of services on offer to consumers. But few have the technology under the hood to match that of CityFibre.
Founded in 2011, the wholesale network infrastructure builder is still a relative newcomer in the home connectivity sector, but with youth comes a bit of derring-do and a lot of innovation. In a competitive market, the UK’s largest independent full fibre network can genuinely lay claim to be disruptive: it is building an entirely new infrastructure based on full fibre technology, end-to-end.
There are no stopgaps, or interruptions to the flow of data to consumers’ doors. This is having a transformative effect in many places across the UK, but according to Jason Legget, one of the company’s five regional partnership directors, the rollout in Scotland has been particularly “special”.
“Our first completed Gigabit City in the UK was Stirling, with 17,500 homes, which we completed in August 2020. We are so proud of that milestone as it was the first city entirely covered with CityFibre fibre optic network. “The build has impressed across Scotland, actually, and so the next step in the journey is where else can we complete.”
That question will be answered in the first half of next year in Inverness, where the company is on schedule to complete another part of its full fibre to the premises (FFTP) offer. The firm is, in fact, currently active in six out of the seven cities in Scotland, so more will come on stream after that.
In total, the company is investing more than £500m in privately-backed capital to install its technology across Scotland with one build – Glasgow and Renfrewshire – accounting for around half of that spend. Once complete, the Glasgow and Renfrew network, Europe’s largest currently under construction, will reach just over 540,000 homes in Glasgow, one of the most densely populated parts of the country.
The firm also wants to play its part in extending the urban builds into rural Scotland and is in discussions with BDUK to explore opportunities to support Project Gigabit. And because of the service levels and high speeds, offered by the range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) using the CityFibre network, consumers are responding, Legget says.
“People have been sharing pictures of their download speeds on social media,” he says. “It’s become a bit of a badge of honour as they are competing with each other for the fastest speeds. We’ve got customers of our ISPs posting images of over 900 megabytes per second.”
In Covid times, fast broadband has become the “third utility”, he adds, citing the “new norm” of remote working and importance of schooling during lockdown periods. But the message the company really wants to amplify is awareness of its quality and service levels.
Legget mentions Intel Inside, the global “quality seal” computer manufacturers use to promote the processing power of laptops and tablets, which has been responsible for giving consumers confidence and trust in devices. The same should also apply for CityFibre, whose full fibre optic network will transform the experience of residents used to standard or even partial fibre broadband.
“We feel we are in a position now where that brand story is really resonating with residents in our build areas. And we’re seeing thousands of people visiting our website each month to check their service availability, using our postcode checker.”
Living in a 200-year-old property, Stirling resident Michael Glass never dreamt that 21st technology would reach his B-listed home. But thanks to the technical nous of a local CityFibre team, who installed a “toby box” on the outside of the building, the data analyst has upgraded his 70mbps connection to 500mbps. He said: “Both my partner and I work from home, and with my job as a data analyst and my wife’s role as an editor we require access to large files that are very data heavy, making a good internet connection vital for us. It’s made a huge difference to my working day.”
Partner Content in association with CityFibre
Why innovation and marketing are the perfect partners to make changes that matter￼
With the rapid evolution of traditional marketing and the appearance of digital marketing, technology and innovation has become part of any marketer’s life without the need of working for a…
Transitioning to a four-day week – CEO’s vow to strike a healthier balance in the workplace
I came to Scotland nearly 20 years ago from Ireland, with no contacts but a lot of determination. While Ireland will always be my home, Scotland has given me amazing…
Women Lead: The female-led company championing intuitive working
Over the last two years, the pandemic forced a shift to more remote and flexible working practices. Whilst we might be seeing a “return to normal”, some companies are choosing…
Women Lead: My passion for young people to consider a career in digital
Twenty years ago, I stumbled across my career in digital marketing almost by accident. It was during my honours degree in marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University. I was on work…
Women Lead: Inclusive Silicon Valley cohort gives hope to entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds
Things are happening on the Scottish tech scene. Big and small initiatives are creating a fantastic ripple effect on the sector, bottom up and top down, thanks to the recommendations…
Women Lead: The story of an entrepreneurial scientist
I first arrived in Scotland over 20 years ago. I had £75 in my wallet and a scholarship offer to do a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Sometimes I…
Please mind the gap… or healthcare may fall
Imagine sharing a lengthy train journey with others. From beginning to end, imagine how often you might hear ‘mind the gap’ messages about embarking and disembarking safely. Picture how navigating…
Women Lead: My journey from Dragons’ Den to Silicon Valley
Following her appearance on Dragons’ Den, Sheila Hogan, serial entrepreneur, founder and chief executive of digital legacy vault, Biscuit Tin, shares her experience of her time in the Den and…