Work to bring full fibre connectivity within reach of almost every home and business in St Helens gets underway today as CityFibre, the UK’s largest independent full fibre platform, breaks ground on a new infrastructure rollout that will futureproof the town’s digital needs for generations to come.
Construction of the £30m Borough-wide full fibre network has begun in the Peasley Cross area and is being delivered by O’Connor Utilities Ltd on behalf of CityFibre. The team will use a range of construction methods while working in close partnership with St Helens Borough Council and local communities to deliver a rollout while minimising potential disruption.
Each area will usually take a few weeks to complete, however, construction teams will typically only be outside each home for two to three days and will aim to limit any disruption. CityFibre will be in touch by mail ahead of any work starting.
The overall project is expected to reach completion by 2025 with the first services that will deliver digital benefits being “switched on” much sooner. As the network is completed in each neighbourhood, internet service providers (ISPs) will ‘light them up’ with some of the fastest and best value broadband packages available in the country.
In St Helens, services will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers. Across the UK, CityFibre is already working with launch partner Vodafone to supply full fibre infrastructure for customers on selected Vodafone Pro Broadband plans, as well as TalkTalk and Zen, with other partners expected to join the network soon.
Speaking of the project, Julie Derbyshire, CityFibre’s Area Manager for St Helens, said: “Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter for St Helens. Our full fibre network will completely transform the digital capabilities of the town and bring a whole wealth of benefits to residents and businesses alike, including unbeatable home-working and digital entertainment experiences. It’s important to remember that any short-term disruption will pay off tremendously in the long-term - once the network’s built, it will serve the community’s connectivity needs for decades to come.”
Full fibre networks, unlike many of the copper-based ‘fibre broadband’ services available today, use 100% fibre optic cables to carry data at light speed all the way from the home to the point of connection. This gives will give our users speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps for upload and download, near limitless bandwidth and connectivity users can depend on.
A full fibre connection also goes far beyond simply enabling access to the latest entertainment at lightning speed. As an essential digital utility, full fibre boosts households and businesses alike, with experts saying it will drive a range of economic benefits, such as making us more productive and innovative.
Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “We’re delighted to support this project, which will be carried out using the ‘dig once’ approach, meaning it will be coordinated with existing road and infrastructure works, helping to minimise disruption.
“We know our residents and businesses want to see improvements made to broadband speeds, including a greater choice of providers, and this transformational project will firmly place our borough at the forefront of digital connectivity.”
Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for Economy, Business and Skills, added: “Upgrading the St Helens digital infrastructure will provide training and employment opportunities in a sector that will continue to see significant growth, and I am looking forward to engaging with CityFibre and its construction partners to maximise these benefits for residents of our Borough.”
CityFibre is bringing full fibre connectivity within reach of up to 8 million homes in towns and cities across the UK as part of its up to £4 billion Gigabit City Investment Programme.
Residents interested in giving their home broadband a boost can find out more about the build and register their interest here.