Wednesday, October 12, 2016

News: CityFibre launching 1,000 Mbps service in Sheffield city region

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CityFibre, the fibre optic network infrastructure specialist providing an alternative to BT Openreach, is launching its Gigabit Cities initiative in the Sheffield city region.

Rothbiz reported in August that the leading designer, builder, owner, and operator of fibre optic infrastructure in UK towns and cities, had signed a launch partner agreement with Exa Networks and that the focus would be on the company's network in Sheffield but would also bring the benefits of gigabit (1,000 megabits per second / Mbps) connectivity to schools and businesses in Doncaster and Rotherham.

The network, which spans 110km, will provide local businesses with some of the fastest download and upload speeds in the world and is set to improve productivity and provide a significant competitive advantage. Fix Britain's Internet Campaign estimated that the SCR's business community currently struggle with slow speeds of only 18.36 Mbps on average. Previous Government-funded projects had to miss out Sheffield city centre after the contracting body, BDUK, identified that it is not eligible for inclusion.

The Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotheram Gigabit City projects are being delivered in partnership with Exa Networks, an established telecoms provider based in Yorkshire who have been delivering high quality internet services to schools and businesses for over a decade. Exa Networks is already delivering ultra-fast connectivity across CityFibre's networks in Bradford and Leeds. Exa Networks' internet service for business is called DarkLight and basic connection packages range from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

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Rob Hamlin, commercial director at CityFibre, said: "We're delighted to be expanding our partnership with Exa Networks to offer world-class digital infrastructure to Sheffield, Doncaster and Rotherham. The region has a rich industrial heritage but has in recent years seen huge growth in the digital sector; these businesses require gigabit speed internet connectivity to compete and succeed in an ever changing digital world."

Mark Cowgill, co-founder of Exa Networks, added: "By using CityFibre's pure fibre infrastructure we are able to offer customers in the Sheffield City Region a world class connectivity service. Having worked with CityFibre across the Leeds and Bradford network, we're really looking forward to expanding our service offering across Yorkshire.

"As a UK leader in providing internet services to the education sector, we understand the crucial importance of ultra-fast connectivity in our schools as well as our businesses and anticipate a huge demand for increased bandwidth in both the education and business communities of Sheffield."

The estimated live date is November/December 2016 and a number of launch events are scheduled to take place in November.

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 (speeds of greater than 24 Mbps) 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 website
DarkLight website

Images: Openreach


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