CityFibre is pleased to announce the signing of a long term national framework agreement with mobile network operators EE and Three UK, along with their infrastructure joint venture, Mobile Broadband Network.
The framework agreement will see CityFibre deploy dark fibre backhaul connections to mobile masts (Fibre-to-the-Tower, or “FTTT”) across both operators’ networks, improving network performance capabilities as well as offering long term cost efficiency. It also marks the expansion of critically needed diversity in the mobile operators’ supply chains.
Whilst already widely established in North America and Continental Europe, dark Fibre-to-the-Tower solutions for mobile network operators have not been deployed previously in the UK. Dark fibre supplies operators with their own fibre infrastructure, a future-proofed platform offering near limitless capacity for the same fixed cost. This is an invaluable asset in the face of operators’ growing bandwidth requirements and increasing backhaul traffic to and from cell sites driven by explosive data demand and the proliferation of connected devices.
The first project of the framework is already underway in Kingston-upon-Hull, where CityFibre is in the process of overhauling MBNL’s network, providing both EE and Three UK with the ability to deploy advanced network technology features and to trial cutting edge technologies. CityFibre, EE, Three UK and MBNL are already examining how the dark fibre solution could be rolled out to further towns and cities in the UK under the national framework agreement and will update the market as appropriate in due course.
CityFibre’s initial 60km build project for the mobile sites in Hull is the first step in an anticipated larger build-out, potentially up to 200km, following CityFibre’s “Well-Planned City” model, under which the Company’s shared fibre infrastructure is also available for use by service providers covering multiple market segments.
Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, commented “We’re delighted to be working alongside EE and Three UK, who together carry about 75% of the data used by UK mobile users. The deployment in Hull is a critical first step in promoting the adoption of dark fibre solutions for FTTT in the UK market, as well as establishing CityFibre as the partner of choice for Mobile Network Operators and wireless infrastructure providers seeking to migrate to dark fibre solutions on a national scale.
“Since our inception, we’ve consistently underlined the importance of the mobile vertical as we look to both grow our UK footprint and market share. Today’s announcement serves as another powerful validation of our vision and reinforces our shared infrastructure approach. CityFibre is now established as an approved supplier to three strong partners with the most significant wireless footprint in the UK through this national framework agreement. It also establishes mobile as a market vertical capable of generating new Gigabit City anchoring opportunities in its own right.
“Our success to date in serving customers across the public sector, business segment and the consumer FTTH market is now further augmented with the addition of mobile customers to our portfolio. We have now achieved a crucial near-term aspiration of being active in all four key market verticals within our first year as a public company, further endorsing our business model and reinforcing the need for gigabit connectivity across the UK.”