The next city off the CityFibre production line is Aberdeen, where the metro fibre network provider has partnered with local provider IFB to deliver a pure fibre network across the city. The network will increase the competition and hopefully reduce the price of Gigabit connectivity to some 6,000 companies and the hundreds of public sector properties in the city.
"We selected Aberdeen as it represents the perfect opportunity for a Gigabit City project. Its economic power, business makeup and absence of alternative network mean that Aberdeen will be in a position to take full advantage of this transformational digital infrastructure. Alongside IFB, CityFibre is honoured to be able to add to the proud history of this city by building a modern digital infrastructure that will future proof Aberdeen, its businesses and residents for the next 100 years."CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch
The deployment will follow the same template as other cities that is the 'Well Planned City' model, i.e. build core network with high value anchor tenants, then market and deliver to the business community and if all is going well eventually market a FTTP service to the residential and SOHO community. This model can be seen in York, where the residential phase will undergo a key test in 2015 as Sky and TalkTalk roll-out FTTP to some 20,000 homes.
Aberdeen City is no stranger to faster than ADSL2+ based services with a widespread FTTC roll-out, where 30% of the speed tests we see from the city area are superfast (30 Mbps or faster), but the 12% of tests at under 2 Mbps brings the median download speed back down to 14 Mbps (1.7 Mbps). These speeds are double what is seen in the larger Aberdeenshire local authority area. If Openreach complete a roll-out of FTTC to every cabinet in the city, some 85% should manage superfast speeds if they upgrade. Addressing Exchange Only lines (estimate around 9% of lines in the city) would boost this even further.
Aberdeen City is part of the Super Connected cities scheme where £3,000 vouchers are up for grabs for business to improve their broadband connections, so a rapid roll-out of the new network should allow CityFibre to benefit from that.
The initial network roll-out is expected to cover the centre and southern parts of Aberdeen, and if sufficient demand is shown then areas such as Westhill and Kingswell in the western part of the city may get a network built.
CityFibre is not without its critics and our inbox has seen some worried about what one other council is doing, and this is Kirklees in West Yorkshire where the local council has skipped the BDUK gap funded schemes and appears to be pinning the fibre future on what CityFibre will deliver. The concern we are seeing from residents is that there are no firm timescales announced for when the residential benefits will appear from the project.