In what are clearly challenging times with the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, has today completed its acquisition of FibreNation from TalkTalk Group following shareholder approval, continuing CityFibre’s long-term strategy of investing in critical national infrastructure. The acquisition of the full fibre network builder enables CityFibre to increase its rollout ambition from 5 million to up to 8 million premises, supporting an investment programme of up to £4 billion. It will also help to accelerate the availability of full fibre across the UK, a platform critical to social and economic recovery in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. The completion also triggers TalkTalk’s onboarding as CityFibre’s latest major customer, making long-term commitments of both residential and business customers.
FibreNation was founded in 2018, four years after a joint venture between TalkTalk, Sky and CityFibre was launched to deploy full fibre infrastructure and services across the City of York. The FibreNation brand will remain in market and the company will continue to operate and expand its networks where nearly 60,000 premises can gain access to gigabit speed broadband services from TalkTalk. FibreNation has network construction projects underway in Harrogate and Dewsbury and has most recently announced Bolton as the next town to benefit from full fibre. The company is currently mobilising in both Knaresborough and Ripon, with plans to make full fibre available to up to 3 million homes and businesses.
CityFibre’s increased rollout plan to reach up to 8 million premises is expected to span more than 100 towns and cities, and is estimated to create up to 7,000 construction jobs outside London. To date, CityFibre has identified 62 towns and cities to benefit from its rollout and CityFibre has connected thousands of public sector sites including hospitals, GPs, schools and community venues.
TalkTalk Group will now begin a process of systems integration as part of long-term commitments across CityFibre’s existing and future network rollout, ensuring its customers can benefit from faster, more reliable connectivity at competitive prices. Taking advantage of the open access nature of CityFibre’s growing national network, TalkTalk will begin planning for the future launch of its full fibre services.
Greg Mesch, Chief Executive at CityFibre, said: “In the face of the rapid spread of the Coronavirus and its unprecedented impact on the UK’s society and economy, we believe that the need for world-class digital infrastructure has never been greater.
“Completing our acquisition of FibreNation marks an acceleration in our ability to deploy the critical future-proof digital infrastructure our country needs. By significantly expanding our rollout ambition to up to 8 million premises, CityFibre is helping to answer the call for a full fibre Britain.
“With TalkTalk now joining our networks to offer full fibre services to their residential and business customers, we look forward to working with our new FibreNation colleagues to maximise the benefit of our rollouts.
Tristia Harrison, Chief Executive of TalkTalk, said: “Now more than ever, reliable and affordable connectivity should be available to every single home in Britain, and this agreement shows that a full fibre future can be delivered through competition and investment by many players. CityFibre’s ambitions to take forward our hard work with FibreNation over the last five years, should take us a step closer to that fully connected Britain.
“The sale of FibreNation to CityFibre, in combination with a competitive wholesale agreement, enables us to continue our strategy to accelerate TalkTalk’s fibre growth for our residential and business customers, thereby delivering a superior customer experience at an affordable price.”