National framework agreement will see first UK deployments of dark fibre connectivity to mobile masts improving network performance and reducing cost
13 November 2014 - Leading fibre optic infrastructure provider CityFibre has signed a long-term national framework agreement with mobile network operators EE and Three UK, along with their infrastructure joint venture, Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL).
The deal will see CityFibre deploy the UK’s first dark fibre backhaul connections to mobile masts 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.
Dark fibre is fibre cabling that is already in the ground, but has not yet been connected to carry traffic. Lighting up dark fibre effectively 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 booming 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 with the ability to deploy high speed access to their masts, improving the customer experience in the area. This work also presents an opportunity for EE and Three to deploy advanced network technology features and 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.
CityFibre’s project for the mobile sites in Hull is the first step in an anticipated larger build-out 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.
Commenting on the agreement Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer, CityFibre said: “CityFibre is dedicated to overhauling the UK’s digital connectivity. Mobile operators are amongst the largest providers of connectivity services for data hungry UK consumers. Between them, EE and Three carry about 75 per cent of the data used by UK mobile users, so we are thrilled to announce this market-leading partnership. This framework illustrates a valuable new segment in CityFibre’s Gigabit City model for ubiquitous fibre connectivity.”
Fotis Karonis, Chief Technology Officer at EE, said: “With our customers’ data usage rising all the time, driven on by the rapidly growing adoption of 4G, a more flexible and cost effective backhaul capacity solution is hugely important so that we can keep giving a world-leading mobile experience. This is a completely new model for the industry, set to provide a much-needed change to the economics of capacity management.”
Bryn Jones, Chief Technology Officer at Three said: “This agreement with CityFibre is the latest step in our efforts to give customers a great network experience. The ability to add our own high capacity infrastructure will be hugely important for our network, particularly in busy metropolitan areas.”
CityFibre Media Contact:
Michael House at FieldHouse Associates
+44 (0) 7958336475
CityFibre is a builder of Gigabit Cities and the largest independent provider of pure fibre infrastructure in the UK. The company designs, builds, owns and operates gigabit speed fibre networks in mid-sized cities and major towns. These networks empower data-hungry users, unleashing unlimited speeds on future-proofed technology, and ensure that the UK’s regional centres remain truly open for business in a digital age. Its customers include the public sector and mobile industry, as well as business and consumer service providers.
With network in 57 UK towns and cities, CityFibre has begun four Gigabit City projects in York, Peterborough, Coventry and Aberdeen where city-wide pure fibre networks known as ‘COREs’ bring world-class Internet connectivity and the benefits of gigabit speeds to every aspect of the city’s community.
CityFibre is a proud member of a joint venture with TalkTalk and Sky. Established in early 2014, the collaboration aims to prove the viability of gigabit speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks and services for homes and businesses. Work is currently underway to connect tens of thousands of homes and businesses in York to a future-proof FTTP modern digital infrastructure.
EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has approximately 15,000 employees and 580 retail stores, and serves more than 30 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.
EE runs the UK's biggest, fastest and most reliable mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012. EE's 4G coverage today reaches 75% of the UK population. EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers 54% of the UK population, and ADSL broadband service covers 98.7% of the population.
In the last few years, EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®, Best network at the 2014 Mobile News Awards, Fastest Network at the 2013 uSwitch Awards, Best Network at the 2014 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and What Mobile Awards 2013, Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu awards and Best Network for Business at the 2013 Mobile Industry awards.
Three is a communications company. We are focused on challenging the industry to make mobile better for everyone.
We want to give customers a quality mobile experience and address the industry issues that frustrate them.
We were the first UK network to introduce all you can eat data and offer 4G at no extra cost. We let customers roam abroad with their domestic bundle for no extra charge and calling 0800 numbers is free on all our new plans.
We continue to look at ways of improving the experience we offer our customers.
Three carries 45% of the UK’s mobile data. Our 3G network covers 98% of the UK population.
We launched 4G in 2014 and plan to have 50 cities and 200 towns covered by 4G by December 2014. By the end of 2015 98% of the population will be able to access 4G through a combination of new sites and deploying new spectrum.
Three is a member of the HWL group of companies, with investments in mobile operations in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Macau, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Vietnam.
Three employs over 4,400 people across its offices in Maidenhead, Glasgow and Reading and its 345 retail stores.
For more information visit www.three.co.uk