Coupled with the operator’s agreement with Openreach, this deal will allow Vodafone to offer its high-speed broadband product to eight million UK homes in 2022
Today, Vodafone has announced that it has expanded its existing partnership with CityFibre to encapsulate the fibre operator’s entire UK network.
According to the operator, the expansion of this partnership will make Vodafone the UK’s largest full fibre broadband provider, able to offer services to over eight million homes by spring 2022, making use of both Openreach and CityFibre’s growing networks.
“Consumers need competition in the broadband space, and we’re committed to delivering that. Our partnership approach allows us to bring full fibre to more homes than any other provider, ensuring families have more choice and more competitive pricing than ever before,” said Vodafone UK’s Consumer Director, Max Taylor.
For CityFibre, meanwhile, the deal should provide some much needed long-term certainty as the company moves to rapidly invest in its National Access Network.
Back in September, CityFibre secured £1.125 billion in its latest capital raise, funds that the company said would help it reach its target of extending full fibre rollout to a third of the UK by 2025. Earlier this month, the company announced that its network now covers over a million UK homes, a milestone that the fibre player had set for itself back in 2018.
The company has long said that it has ambitions of being the UK’s third national network and this latest move by Vodafone will give CityFibre an even more steady base from which to grow. If additional major wholesalers, like TalkTalk, also choose to follow suit and expand on their existing agreements with altnet, CityFibre could soon grow even more confident.
“Through our strategic partnership, Vodafone has made a powerful decision to back CityFibre and help establish wholesale infrastructure competition for the UK,” said CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch. “Thanks in large part to its continued support, CityFibre has now emerged as the nation’s leading independent Full Fibre platform, with the best wholesale products, attractive economics and a network scaling rapidly across the UK. We’re delighted that Vodafone continues to have full confidence in our network and is now anchoring our entire Full Fibre rollout nationwide.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that CityFibre was in “advanced conversations” to potentially merge with other UK altnets with compatible footprints, with Mesch saying that consolidation in the UK fibre market should be expected soon and that CityFibre was the “natural choice” to become the UK’s third national fibre network.
“We are more active on the consolidation level than people may appreciate,” he said.
For now, however, the elephant in the room for the wholesale fibre market is a potential deal with Sky, the only major ISP with which CityFibre does not have any form of partnership.
Currently, Sky offers products to customers using Openreach’s network, but was last month rumoured to be in discussions with newly merged Virgin Media O2 for a potential partnership.
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