On the heels of TalkTalk shareholders approving the deal to sell FibreNation to CityFibre for about $246 million, the wholesale infrastructure provider is now targeting 8 million premises in the U.K.
Prior to the FibreNation deal, CityFibre's fiber rollout was slated to reach 5 million premises as it works to build broadband infrastructure in under-served areas. With FibreNation in hand, CityFibre has increased its network investment to $4.9 million.
CityFibre’s increased rollout is slated to span more than 100 towns and cities, and will create up to 7,000 construction jobs outside London. To date, CityFibre has identified 62 towns and cities for its fiber build-out. To date, CityFibre has connected thousands of public sector sites including hospitals, schools and community venues.
With rural areas largely under-served by broadband, the British government set forth a mandate of having full-fiber to every home in the U.K. That has led to plethora of fiber builds by new service providers such as toob, Gigaclear and Hyperoptic. Liberty Global-owned Virgin Media is also looking to expand its fiber network beyond urban areas in the U.K. via a wholesale fiber network joint venture.
“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," said CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch, in a statement. “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 fiber Britain."
In addition to the fiber newcomers, CityFibre competes against Openreach, which is a division of incumbent BT, in the wholesale sector.
The completion of the deal also included TalkTalk becoming a customer of CityFibre. TalkTalk Group will start a systems integration project as part of long-term commitments to use CityFibre’s existing and future networks. With the open access build of CityFibre’s growing national network, TalkTalk will begin planning for the future launch of its own full fiber services.
FibreNation was founded in 2018, four years after a joint venture between TalkTalk, Sky and CityFibre was launched to deploy full fiber infrastructure and services across the City of York.