Broadband News

Zen Internet to launch services over CityFibre network in January

At the consumer level the CityFibre roll-out has usually been the exclusive domain of the Vodafone Gigafast, then TalkTalk joined but with Zen Internet now signing up to the CityFibre network the competition is increasing.

Zen Internet has announced that the first locations using the CityFibre FTTP service will be Newcastle upon Tyne and Worthing, with Ipswich and Leicester due to launch later in 2021.

Full fibre is set to be the backbone of the UK’s connectivity for years to come, so we’re excited to be able to offer a market-leading gigabit speed service to tens of thousands of new broadband customers over CityFibre’s network. We will also be offering this service through our network of 700 channel partners many of whom are operating in these cities, so they too can make the most of FTTP and the move to ultrafast.

More urgently, UK consumers need a service provider they can trust that offers a reliable and customer-first approach, and we’ve been delivering that for two and a half decades now, introducing industry-first initiatives such as our lifetime price guarantee. We’re eager to show what we can do for customers in these initial cities in a world where households are more dependent than ever before on broadband that connects them to the outside world – including school, work, family and friends. We look forward to further expansion as the partnership develops.

Paul Stobart, Chief Executive Officer at Zen

The services should still be available via the Vodafone Gigafast plans in these new areas, so Zen Internet will be competing with the low prices of Vodafone. If Zen Internet is able to maintain its pro-sumer options of static IP address and good peak time performance using the new network then it will do well even with the competition. Social media for the Vodafone Gigafast seems to have a regular set of people complaining about peak time congestion, slow downs and big increases in latency, which for a new network is unusual, suggesting the low pricing may the result of high levels of contention. No prices yet, and that will be the key to how popular the service will be.

Worthing has been on the CityFibre roadmap for sometime, but is interesting in that there is already a good amount of Openreach FTTP available. CityFibre is rolling out in Milton Keynes and Coventry where there is also a big Openreach FTTP presence, the overlap running at 11% and 8% of premises in the area, so the same happening in Worthing does not put them off. The difference between the two networks is that CityFibre sell symmetric GPON services whereas the consumer grade services on the Openreach network max out at 100 Mbps upload (200 Mbps upload available but much more expensive). 

Word of advice for Zen Internet, make sure that it is clear to site visitors and any communication from sales staff and partners which network people are signing up to. The reason for this advice is that apparently Vodafone had been using some marketing material in Bristol where it offers Gigafast over the Openreach network that talked about download and upload speeds being the same.

A quick update on the CityFibre FTTP roll-out, we have tracked down 332,268 premises (excluding FibreNation area) where people can order a service. While there are some 60 towns and cities with existing networks the ones with live FTTP we can find is 12 but based on roadworks we have been expecting to see the first live connections in others for a while now. Our map of these live areas will update later on Friday with a few hundred more properties in Aberdeen were the service is available, those postcodes already rolled into our checker last night.


Great news. I grudgingly left Zen to go try Vodafone Gigafast, as I could get a symmetrical 100/100 FTTP connection with VF for the same monthly cost of a FTTC connection with Zen getting mid to high 50s Mb. After an initial network issue speed and reliability have been great via VF/CF; though if the price is right Zen will likely tempt me back to use them over the CF network in future.

  • flilot
  • 3 months ago

Zen need to do this in Aberdeen. Many of the Gigafast customers are starting to come to the end of their contract already. I know several friends that would ditch Vodafone in a heart beat.

  • brusuth
  • 3 months ago

Zen need to do this in Aberdeen. Many of the Gigafast customers are starting to come to the end of their contract already. I know several friends that would ditch Vodafone in a heart beat.

  • brusuth
  • 3 months ago

AS avodafone Customer in Aberdeen I'd also be keen to know when this will be available to me.

My contract is now up but I'm reluctant to re-sign in case Zen becomes live in the coming months.

Vodafone have been OK, static IP was easy to get from them but the service definitely suffers from peak time congestion and despite Vodafone having a data centre in Aberdeen (Wellington circle, next to IKEA) they route everything via manchester which pushes ping times higher than they really need to be

  • connormill
  • 3 months ago

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