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CityFibre adds agreement with EE and Three to provide dark fibre services
Thursday 13 November 2014 10:30:11 by Andrew Ferguson

For the broadband consumer CityFibre may be all about what happens in York in 2015, when the venture with Sky and TalkTalk is set to deliver Gigabit capable fibre to 20,000 homes in the city. The signing of a long term agreement with Three and EE to supply the mobile operators with dark fibre services starting in Kingston-Upon-Hull is much more of the bread and butter for CityFibre. Cheaper and faster backhaul is the key to the success of 4G and beyond for mobile operators, particularly as mobile devices are capable of streaming high quality video to a decent sized screen now.

The model that CityFibre has adopted for its roll-outs in the various Gigabit city projects underway is to partner with a key local business and large organisations like Serco that bid on contracts to run services for councils. In a world where the Internet of Things really means getting connectivity to every parking meter, lamppost, traffic light pervasive fibre becomes a prized possession.

In short the income from the local authority and business sector will underpin the roll-outs and deploying FTTP to consumers is almost the icing on the cake.

The partners in the FTTP project are currently Sky and TalkTalk and what they do in terms of retail products is down to them as they will essentially be buying a dark fibre service the same as EE/Three. The joy of dark fibre is that the cost to the buyer does not increase if they send 100 Mbps of traffic or 10 Gbps down a fibre, other than of course you need better hardware to handle faster speeds and if linking to the Internet. Making consumer FTTP as cheap as existing FTTC services is key and Openreach has done this for the limited 160,000 premises that can order its GEA-FTTP products at the 40 and 80 Mbps price points, but the price climbs to £13.15 for 110 Mbps rising £24.61 for 330 Mbps (20 Mbps up). CityFibre we are told is aiming to wholesale connectivity at Openreach type pricing, and if this means £10/month and the provider gets to choose whether that is 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps would make for a very attractive access product.

NOTE The GEA-FTTP pricing mentioned is for areas with native FTTP, the pricing for fibre on demand from Openreach is very different due to its much more custom nature.

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