Vodafone is teaming up with CityFibre in a bid to offer a true alternative to Openreach and Virgin Media in the fibre broadband arena.

In the UK today, consumers have two major options when it comes to fibre broadband. You can go with an Openreach-leased network — such as BT, Sky, or TalkTalk — or there’s Virgin Media.

CityFibre is hoping to offer an alternative to these broadband giants with its Gigabit-capable fibre network offering faster speeds than any of its current rivals. Unfortunately, the company is yet to reach anywhere near as many homes as Openreach and/or Virgin Media.

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Teaming up with Vodafone offers an opportunity to speed up CityFibre’s rollout to become a viable alternative to more consumers. Vodafone even owns a small amount of backhaul after it bough Cable and Wireless all the way back in 2012.

“This agreement will unlock the UK’s full fibre future and is a major step forward in delivering our vision for a Gigabit Britain,” says Greg Mesch, Chief Executive of CityFibre. “With this commitment from Vodafone, we have a partner with whom we can transform the digital capabilities of millions of homes and businesses and establish an unassailable wholesale infrastructure position across 20% of the UK broadband market.”

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According to a statement, the partnership aims to provide Gigabit fibre to around five million UK homes and business by 2025.

Construction of the first phase of deployment to one million premises is due to start in the first half of 2018 and will be largely complete in 2021. Both parties have the right to extend the commercial terms of this agreement to expand coverage to a further four million homes and businesses by 2025.

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Most existing broadband connections provided by Openreach are currently FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) and use copper for “the last mile” into the house. CityFibre and Vodafone will be rolling out FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises) for a faster and more reliable connection.

Telecoms will be following the rollout closely and will keep you updated with all developments.

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