Thursday, August 4, 2016

News: DarkLight gigabit internet coming to Rotherham

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CityFibre, the fibre optic network infrastructure specialist providing an alternative to BT Openreach, has signed a deal to bring gigabit internet services to Rotherham.

The leading designer, builder, owner, and operator of fibre optic infrastructure in UK towns and cities, has announced the signing of a launch partner agreement with Exa Networks for its acquired networks in the Sheffield city region.

Rothbiz reported in December that CityFibre would be expanding its footprint having arranged a deal to acquire KCOM's national fibre and duct network assets. The AIM-listed firm announced the £90m acquisition at the same time as securing financing of £180m to facilitate the acquisition and fully commercialise its national network.

The latest six-year, £3.3m deal commits Bradford-based ISP, Exa Networks to deliver 250 school and business connections under an existing national framework agreement, focused on the company's network in Sheffield, and also brings the benefits of gigabit (1,000 megabits per second) connectivity to schools and businesses in Doncaster and Rotherham.

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The agreement takes the number of connections sold by CityFibre on the networks acquired from KCOM in January to 1,450, and the value of contracts sold on the assets to £22.1m.

Greg Mesch, chief executive of CityFibre, said: "We're delighted to extend our framework agreement with Exa into Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham. With this latest call-off, we demonstrate our ability to leverage our expanded footprint and drive commercialisation of the acquired assets at pace, bringing ten cities into commercial production within seven months of acquisition close. It also brings us within striking distance of 4,000 connections sold year to date."

CityFibre is the largest independent wholesale provider of fibre infrastructure to mid-sized cities and major towns across the UK, providing gigabit-capable infrastructure for enterprise and public sector organisations, service providers, mobile network operators and businesses.

City-wide pure fibre networks known as "COREs" are being installed in major cities and CityFibre is working in a joint venture with TalkTalk and Sky on Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks and services for homes and businesses. With 15 km of "dark fibre" in Sheffield it partnered with ISP, ASK4.

Exa Networks' internet service for business is called DarkLight and basic connection packages range from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

Fibre connectivity has been improving since BT bagged a contract with the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership for the £28m Superfast South Yorkshire project as part of the government's BDUK initiative. Local and Government match funding should ensure that 97.9% of South Yorkshire will have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017.

With further funding made available by BDUK, more than 30 business parks and Enterprise Zones in South Yorkshire, including Dinnington, Hellaby Industrial Estate, Dearne Valley and Gateway Industrial Park, are set to be upgraded to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology - providing ultrafast broadband speeds of up to 300Mbps.

CityFibre has joined with the likes of Virgin Media and Zayo (who purchased South Yorkshire assets from the failed Digital Region project) to oppose Ofcom's proposals to allow providers to access BT's "dark fibre" lines.

CityFibre website
DarkLight website

Images: CityFibre

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