Project Gigabit and CityFibre
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS #
The project #
Project Gigabit is the UK government’s £5 billion programme to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband to people across the UK. The government is working with broadband suppliers to achieve 85% gigabit-capable coverage of the UK by 2025, and close to 100% by 2030.
Project Gigabit is levelling up the UK, making sure that people have the same access to fast and reliable connectivity wherever they live, work and study.
While most premises in the UK will be able to access gigabit-capable broadband through suppliers’ commercial plans, a large number will require government subsidy through Project Gigabit.
The majority of Project Gigabit delivery will come through local and regional contracts that provide subsidies to suppliers to extend their plans to build gigabit-capable broadband to premises that will not otherwise be reached by suppliers’ commercial plans.
Project Gigabit is about making sure hard-to-reach homes and businesses struggling with slow speeds don’t miss out on the connectivity needed for the future. Read more on the government’s website.
It will mean no more battling over bandwidth. Entire families will be able stream movies, TV and video games in new high quality 4K and 8K definition onto multiple devices at the same time with no slowdowns in speed.
This national broadband upgrade will create and support thousands of high-paid, high-skilled jobs, while paving the way for revolutionary new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. It will enable more internet-connected smart appliances in the home and the workplace to make lives easier and more productive.
It will also fuel innovators and wealth creators, boosting growth, enabling anyone to start-up and run a business of any size from anywhere in the UK - from the Highlands to the Norfolk Broads, and the Welsh Valleys to the rural West Country.
This funding is aimed at the hard-to-reach premises across the area that suffer with slow speeds right now and are not in line to be upgraded by normal industry rollout.
Hard to reach premises are defined as those that are either exceptionally challenging or prohibitively costly for broadband firms to connect using private investment.
The government is therefore stepping in, working alongside the private sector, to make sure these homes and businesses do not miss out on the faster and more reliable broadband connections needed for the future.
The UK government conducts detailed reviews of suppliers’ existing and future plans to ensure it offers support where it’s needed, and taxpayers’ money is used to level-up communities that would otherwise miss out.
The government uses this supplier information to identify premises within an area requiring intervention. It conducts a transparent, fair, and robust procurement process to identify a broadband supplier that it will subsidise through a local or regional contract to build or extend its broadband network to the premises that would not otherwise be reached by suppliers’ commercial plans.
The government’s website contains a link to the Project Gigabit procurement pipeline which highlights the areas set to benefit from live Project Gigabit contracts. It also shows areas that are subject to live and upcoming procurements and identified as needing government funding support.
The goal of the Superfast Broadband Programme that began over 10 years ago was to deliver speeds of at least 30Mbps to homes across the UK. Connections were typically delivered using Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology (part copper/part fibre). By 2020 the Superfast Broadband Programme together with the expansion of suppliers’ commercial networks meant approximately 97% of urban premises and 80% of rural premises had access to superfast speeds.
Project Gigabit aims to ensure as close to 100% of premises in the UK as possible have access to 1Gbps-capable connections by 2030 (that's circa 1000Mbps download). Full fibre technology, also known as Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), is one of the most widespread ways of delivering this.
The UK government is investing £5 billion to level up hard-to-reach premises and deliver next generation connectivity, making sure that people have the same access to fast and reliable connectivity wherever they live, work and study.
This is exactly what CityFibre has championed since we began building full fibre infrastructure in 2011.
As a company we also have the experience, resources, and passion to deliver these networks brilliantly and, in doing so, make a real difference to communities that have long-since deserved much better broadband.
CityFibre operates the UK’s largest independent full fibre network. We have been building state-of-the-art full fibre networks from scratch since 2011.
Our rollout to serve 8 million UK premises is on track and has already connected millions of homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, council buildings and mobile sites across the nation. Learn more.
We aim to bring the benefits of the very best ‘city-grade’ connectivity wherever we go – whether that’s in cities, towns, villages or harder-to-reach areas. Every smaller network we build is linked to a larger one though. This means when we upgrade the technology for a town or city, any associated villages and rural areas benefit too – rather than being left behind on old technology.
We employ people with first-hand knowledge of the challenges of living and working in rural areas. The construction partners we work with also bring significant rural build expertise.
Wherever we build we work with the local highways authority to minimise any disruption. This is especially important in rural areas, because roads can be narrow, pavements often don’t exist and closing a road in a small village can create long diversions.
Navigating these challenges is worth it though, as it results in some of the historically poorest-served areas, finally getting access to the multi-gigabit, reliable broadband connections they deserve.
Our contracts #
We aim to connect all premises that are in scope of each regional contract we are awarded.
There are however factors that may delay or prevent the connection of some premises once our build is underway. For example, the need to secure wayleaves for private land, flats and unadopted roads. We are familiar with these and other challenges though and will do everything we can to overcome them.
Most premises not within CityFibre’s Project Gigabit regional contracts are most likely to have been recognised by the government as already served by a planned or existing commercial build programme. This could be CityFibre’s existing commercial build programme or that of another network builder. Either way gigabit speed connectivity should be coming.
A small percentage of remaining premises may need additional government funding in order to connect them. To find out more about how the government is helping to support the rollout of gigabit broadband visit the government's website.
Project Gigabit contracts - depending on their size - are likely to take a number of years to be completed. This means some areas covered by a contract will not experience any build activity until nearer the end of the contract period. Once we have finished surveying all the premises in scope of a particular contract, you’ll be able to check the status of your property at any time via our availability checker at the bottom of this page. You can also register to receive updates from us via this availability checker.
Typically, the first connections happen closest to the initial fibre routes into an area. We may build along several streets in parallel, but nothing can go live until the main fibre routes are ready.
Sometimes we must wait for approvals for street works and traffic diversions, permissions to build over private land and even repairs to existing ducts and poles that we try to use wherever possible to route our fibre.
This may already be in our plan, but in cases where we know another network builder is planning to build somewhere, this is less likely. Once we have completed our survey for a regional Project Gigabit contract, we will consider whether it is financially and physically possible to extend our network further. The best way to keep track of our plans is to use our availability checker below and register for updates. Doing this also helps us when we’re making decisions about where to build next.
We appoint construction partners to build on our behalf. The companies we use vary by region. We work closely with them, monitor their work and progress, and require them to adhere to our quality, compliance and safety standards along with all required regulations.
If you believe our construction partners are not working in a respectful, tidy or safe way, please get in touch using the link at the bottom of this page so that we can look into it.
Can Gigabit Vouchers be used with CityFibre to connect properties that fall out of scope of a regional contract?
We support all government initiatives that make up Project Gigabit, but our focus at present is on the large-scale regional contracts that we have already been awarded or are in the process of bidding for. For this reason, we are not currently participating in the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS). You can find out more about whether vouchers are available in your area with any other suppliers by visiting the GBVS website.
How we work #
In most cases we start with major fibre routes into and across an area. This includes any fibre exchanges, street cabinets and underground chambers. Our build then spreads out from there putting a small connection point outside each planned property, ready for the final connection once an order is placed.
If we need to wait for permission to work in a street or there is a problem that needs sorting, we’ll carry on with other streets and come back later.
We contact residents and businesses ahead of any work beginning. As the network is nearing completion our Internet Service Provider (ISP) partners then provide details about the packages they can offer. As soon as we've completed our surveys, our availability checker (below) provides information about the status of each property and allows those interested to register for updates.
With an infrastructure build project of any size there is inevitably some disruption, but we aim to keep this to a minimum. We use existing ducts and poles to carry our fibre cables wherever possible. If we need to dig or interrupt traffic, we work closely with the local highways authorities and adhere to all regulations.
Yes, but digging is always our last resort. Wherever possible we install our fibre rapidly, using existing underground ducts and telegraph poles. If existing ducts and poles are damaged or unsuitable, we may need to put our own ducts in the ground and erect some new poles.
The decisions we make street-by-street are all about ensuring we deliver a high-quality network that will serve an area for generations to come, with minimum disruption.
This is possible. However, we try to undertake work like this during school holidays and always in consultation with the local highways authority.
Yes. New CityFibre cabinets are an essential part of delivering the multi-gigabit speeds every community deserves. Cabinets vary in size. A small number require power, but most do not. As we plan our network, we try to locate them as sensitively as possible.
Our cabinets are located based on engineering logic so that we can reach the highest number of premises with the least disruption.
Wherever possible we will use existing ducts and poles. If these are damaged or unsuitable, we may need to install new ones.
When installing new ducts, poles or cabinets, we adhere to all necessary regulations, and work closely with the local highways authority to ensure that minimum impact is caused to people and the environment.
We work closely with the local planning authorities to ensure that all work is sensitive to and respects the local environmental and other conditions. We adhere to very specific guidelines to protect trees and their root systems.
The new network #
Just like everywhere we build, you can expect the range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) using our network to offer gigabit-capable services. We enable ISPs to offer affordable, low latency, symmetrical speed broadband services of up to 2.5Gbps (that's 2500Mbps upload and download).
Yes! CityFibre is a wholesale provider with over 30 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) already retailing services over our nationwide network. Some of our ISP partners operate in local areas, others serve customers across our entire network. As our build in each area matures, ISPs serving that area will be visible via our availability checker (below).
All the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that provide homes and businesses over our network offer different packages and prices. Most people switching to full fibre services powered by our network find that they get far more for their money and much better reliability too.
Yes, businesses that are in scope of the Project Gigabit contract will also be able to benefit from faster and more reliable broadband services.
Yes, as far as CityFibre is concerned, a property is a property whatever it is used for. All premises in scope of the Project Gigabit contract will be able to connect to our new network, including schools, surgeries, community buildings and more.
Joining our network #
There will of course be marketing and communications activity. Property details can also be put into our availability checker below, with an option to register for updates as our build progresses.
No one will be upgraded without prior agreement. You should however expect Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that already use our network to proactively contact their customers to offer an upgrade. CityFibre welcomes all ISPs to use our network, but not all do. Residents and businesses served by ISPs that have not yet chosen to use our network will therefore need to change provider to benefit from the best speeds and services available in their area.
You’ve recently announced you have signed a Project Gigabit contract to build your network in my area. Why is your availability checker saying for some properties "we have not planned your area at the moment"?
This is not unusual for recently announced sizeable network build projects that will be carried out in stages. We need time to survey the build area first, and to check and load all the unique property data into our availability checker, ensuring the information we provide is as accurate as possible. We always recommend registering via our availability checker so we can keep you updated as our build programme progresses.
Please visit our help and support pages for lots more information, including what happens when an order is placed and how individual connections are delivered during an installation appointment.
CHECK YOUR AVAILABILITY TODAY #
Please note, more recently announced locations may not show an accurate result until our surveys are complete. You can still register your interest and we will keep you updated.