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CityFibre Carrier Focus

8th March 2019

CityFibre is an innovative and exciting challenger to the duopoly incumbent providers of BT Plc (t/a Openreach) and Virgin Media.

They are currently in the process of a major build programme that will see them roll out full-fibre connectivity to over 100 towns and cities.

Where CityFibre massively differ from the duopoly, is that they exclusively use full-fibre circuits to deliver connectivity to customers. Both BT and Virgin have extensive hybrid or part-fibre networks where the main medium in their network is copper: Twisted copper wires in the case of BT, and coax cabling in the case of Virgin. Copper has significant drawbacks when it comes to speed, reliability, future-proofing and overall capability. In the case of BT, the copper infrastructure was never designed to be delivering ultrafast speeds and performance fit for the 21cn.

Giganet are proud to be partnering with CityFibre as a “Launch partner” for our home city of Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, they have purchased an existing 34km fibre network, and with Giganet and local customers, we plan to expand this out.

CityFibre joins Giganet’s plethora of network carriers that means that we can provide the best connectivity no matter where our customers are located. Where CityFibre is available, there really is no beating the value!

CityFibre Coventry Fibre Network Map

CityFibre Coventry Fibre Network Map

Who are CityFibre?

CityFibre’s is a relatively new company, having being founded in 2011. Until 2018, it was an AIM-listed small-cap business, but in 2018 it was taken private by Goldman Sachs and  Antim private equity for £538m. It’s stated aim is to provide full-fibre connectivity to over 100 towns and cities by 2020.

  • In December 2014, CityFibre announce an acquisition of KCOMs national fibre network footprint for £90m.
  • In November 2017, CityFibre announced a strategic partnership with Vodafone to roll-out full fibre connectivity to residential customers in over 51 cities/towns.
  • At the start of 2019, it put in place a £1.2bn debt package to help fund the rapid roll-out of full fibre across many cities.

CityFibre Services

Giganet have branded two of the most popular CityFibre services.

  • CityFibre UltraBEAM – GPON FTTP
  • CityFibre ELITE – leased line

We also have access to CityFibre’s alternative products such as:

  • CityFibre ELITE PtP – Point to point circuits within metro areas
  • CityFibre Dark Fibre – dark fibre unlit circuits within metro areas

CityFibre UltraBEAM – GPON FTTP Broadband

CityFibre UltraBEAM is a GPON-based FTTP full-fibre broadband service. As it’s GPON, there is less fibre infrastructure to lay as fibres are passively and optically split at up to an 8:1 ratio. This results in highly affordable full-fibre broadband that’s ideal for SMEs or as a backup connection for larger organisations. By way of comparison, most FTTP broadband networks use GPON, including Openreach (BT).

CityFibre UltraBEAM comes in two speed options, 500Mb/s or 1Gb/s symmetric (same download/upload speeds).

There are no usage limits, and the SLA is a 6hr fix 24x7x365. So this is definitely business-grade.

Our prices start at £199/month for CityFibre UltraBEAM 500 using a DCMS Gigabit voucher.

CityFibre ELITE – Dedicated leased line

CityFibre ELITE is an active Ethernet point-to-point full-fibre leased line service. A dedicated point to point fibre links a customer’s premises to the local CityFibre point of presence (POP). ELITE is the ultimate in connectivity, and is the bets you can get.

CityFibre ELITE comes in a variety of speed options, from 10Mb/s on a 100Mb/s bearer, to 1Gb/s on a 1Gb/s bearer. Speeds are symmetric (same download/upload speeds).

There are no usage limits, and the SLA is a 6hr fix 24x7x365. So this is definitely business-grade as well.

Our prices start at £154/month for CityFibre ELITE 100 using a DCMS Gigabit voucher.

The future; 5G

Arqiva and CityFibre 5G Pilot

Arqiva and CityFibre 5G Pilot Mast

Full-fibre is at the heart of digital Britain, and the next game-changing mobile technology – 5G.

5G promises a considerable jump in capability and overall performance compared to 4G and the generations before that.

However, to get anywhere near delivering the performance 5G markets, the backbone infrastructure needs to be there to support the massive bandwidths possible, and super-low latencies. In fact, 5G wireless needs fixed-fibre to operate at its peak.

Local to me in Fulham, CityFibre have announced an innovative partnership with Arqiva (who own 8,000 active licensed towers, and the only national provider of terrestrial television and radio broadcasting. Here they are collaborating to deliver a new 15km fibre ring, with 90 cabinets across a 6.5sq mi area. The new network will allow mobile network operators (MNO) the ability to quickly and easily deploy their small cells to offer local residents access to the fastest mobile services available.

Unlike Openreach (BT), CityFibre are able to offer dark fibre services, and this is something that the MNOs are particularly interested in. Dark fibre allows MNOs to effectively carve up the fibre as they wish. For instance, they can simply start at 1Gb/s today, before upgrading to 10Gb/s tomorrow. However if they then wish to multiplex the laser light, and fit CWDM/DWDM multiplexes, then they could offer n x 10Gb/s or faster services later. All the while the MNOs are in control of the active fibre equipment rather than the carrier – in this case CityFibre.



Matthew Skipsey, Technical Director