Vodafone and CityFibre have announced a long-term strategic partnership that could bring ultrafast Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to up to five million UK homes and businesses by 2025.
The deal will see CityFibre build a new new Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) network in towns and cities across the UK, with Vodafone having time-limited exclusive wholesale access in each location.
As each exclusivity window expires, CityFibre will offer wholesale access to other telecoms providers.
The new network would provide competition for the BT-owned Openreach which sells wholesale access to its copper and fibre-based network to most of the UK’s ISPs.
Construction of the first phase, which will see one million premises connected to the network, is due to start in the first half of 2018 and is expected to be completed by 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.
Chief Executive of CityFibre Greg Mesch said: “This agreement will unlock the UK’s full fibre future and is a major step forward in delivering our vision for a Gigabit Britain.
“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.”
Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery added: “Vodafone is already playing the leading role in building the Gigabit Society across Europe by providing customers with high-speed, high-quality broadband.
“The UK has fallen far behind the rest of the world, trapped by the limited choice available on legacy networks.
“We look forward to working with CityFibre to build the Gigabit fibre network that the UK needs and deserves.”