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Southend may embrace FTTH or just roll-out a dark fibre network
Monday 15 February 2016 16:17:41 by Andrew Ferguson

There has been talk of digging up many roads in Southend to roll-out a Gigabit capable network across the borough and while no operator for the contract has been announced given the tender wording the most likely bidder seems to be CityFibre.

The tender that went out from the Borough Council in 2015 was seeking a dark fibre operator to connect 120 premises across the area, with the council providing the hardware on the end and network services. This fits in with what has happened in the Gigabit Cities where CityFibre already operates, and given the council leader was talking to a Residents Association and the extent of the digging it suggests that a full FTTH roll-out is expected to follow very soon after the main dark fibre contract is complete.

Southend has not been neglected in the roll-outs of superfast broadband as it has 96.7% of premises covered by superfast broadband (59.7% with access to Virgin Media up to 200 Mbps services) and was at 94.2% superfast coverage way back in June 2012. So while the prospect of Gigabit broadband will make some salivate and it should future proof the area for a few decades the questions over when will the roll-out take place and to what level of coverage will it reach are the key questions people will be asking.


Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
A somewhat confusing story. As this doesn't seem to involve public funding (which would have had Virgin & BT up in arms in a commercial area), then what is the tender for? The story seems to only be about digging up main roads for a backbone, which is wildly short of universal coverage.

Nb. Southend is a nightmare to drive round already. Digging up main roads is not popular reading the comments.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 8 months ago
The tender and wording from the councillor is what makes me think this is CityFibre, since they use an anchor tenant such as the council contract, to then allow them to do a wider roll-out creating nodes near to business, with the end game being FTTH.
Posted by WWWombat 8 months ago
The tender is for 5 years of provision of dark fibre circuits to the council, for connecting 120 sites, at up to 1Gbps. Value between £1.8m and £2.7m

That money seems to be entirely public funds, to purchase the service, for "general public services".

The extended thinking seems to be that CityFibre, when taking on tasks like this, digs in the procured fibre, but at the same time just happens to also create a backbone that they can use themselves for future services. Business services at first, but extending to residential later.
Posted by TheEulerID 8 months ago
Thanks.that makes more sense. I can see this providing a way of giving an alternative operator a "leg-up" to establishing an alternative core fibre network to extend into business areas, much in the way there is a choice of fibre providers in much of London for business and so on. It's also obvious that it could be used for new housing developments built near this backbone. However, a pervasive town-wide fibre network for domestic properties in competition with VM and OR would be a much more daunting prospect.
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