Features | 10 Nov 2017

How Vodafone’s partnership with CityFibre helps us build the UK’s Gigabit future

Nick Parbutt, UK Strategy & Wholesale Director, Vodafone UK, on how partnering with CityFibre will pave the way to the Gigabit future the UK needs and deserves.

By Nick Parbutt, UK Strategy & Wholesale Director | Vodafone UK

Ultrafast ‘full fibre’ technology has the power to transform our daily lives and supercharge productivity for UK businesses. It is absolutely critical to our nation’s future as a digital leader. We’re proud to announce a long-term strategic partnership with CityFibre, the UK’s largest alternative provider of wholesale fibre network infrastructure, to bring ultrafast Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to up to five million UK homes and businesses by 2025. I believe our partnership is one of the most significant developments in UK telecommunications since the start of broadband in the early 2000s. Here’s why.

Building the UK’s Gigabit future

The work we plan to do in partnership with CityFibre will pave the way to the Gigabit future the UK needs and deserves – a future where Britons enjoy 1 gigabit per second (1,000 Mbps) broadband speeds. This Gigabit future has the potential to revolutionise the way we live and work. Hospitals would be able to download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in 40 seconds, instead of 14 minutes. If you’re a movie buff, you could download a 25 gigabyte Blu-ray movie in eight minutes instead of 2.8 hours. Or if you love video games, you could download a 5 gigabyte VR game in 1.7 minutes, not 34.

Ultrafast ‘full fibre’ makes all these scenarios possible. Working together with CityFibre, we will help households, businesses and public sector organisations – including schools, hospitals and GP surgeries – gain access for the first time to ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises, or FTTP, services. This will be one of the most significant developments in communications in recent years – and will also see us deliver 50% of the UK Government’s target of ‘full fibre’ to 10 million homes and businesses.

FTTP broadband connections are vastly superior to outdated networks that rely on old copper telephone lines to connect to the customer’s premises. FTTP networks use fibre-optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or workplace to the Internet, providing extremely fast and reliable broadband services capable of Gigabit speeds. Advanced fibre networks are also critical for mobile networks, providing the very high-capacity backhaul connections required for 5G mobile services from the early 2020s. This is why it’s so important that the UK invest in this technology now, not later.

Building on Vodafone’s fast-growing broadband business

Our agreement with CityFibre gives us access to a superior product at a lower cost, and with better service conditions, than the regulated wholesale terms offered by the incumbent operator for access to its legacy copper telephone line broadband network. In addition, it reflects Vodafone Group’s capital-smart fixed infrastructure strategy that has positioned Vodafone as the fastest growing broadband provider in Europe, marketing high-speed broadband services to nearly 100 million European homes. With CityFibre, our footprint will be expanded further, enabling us to build on our position as one of the fastest growing Internet service providers in the UK.

If the UK is to thrive in the future, we need to start laying full fibre now, without delay. Only with Gigabit-capable fibre supplied direct to the doors of homes and businesses will the UK be able to compete with other advanced economies that have already invested in modern digital infrastructure. Only with this fibre will the UK be able to lead the way on 5G and retain its position as a leader in the Internet of Things. Of course, Vodafone cannot act alone in delivering this future. We need the right environment: one that actively supports investment in full fibre. If we start now, we can lay the foundation for a Gigabit nation and secure the UK’s future as a digital leader.