CityFibre are to invest £110 million in full fibre infrastructure for Edinburgh and Stirling in partnership with Vodafone.

Homes and businesses in Edinburgh and Stirling will be the next Scottish cities to benefit from gigabit speed full fibre broadband – with work set to begin later this year.

The news follows an announcement in February which saw Vodafone and CityFibre commit to delivering a citywide roll-out of Gigabit-capable infrastructure in Aberdeen. As part of the partnership’s plan to deliver full-fibre access to at least one million homes by 2021, Edinburgh and Stirling are to benefit from the same transformation.

CityFibre will invest at least £110 million of private funds in the two city-wide roll-outs. A detailed planning and build programme is underway for each city as part of this first phase deployment. The new infrastructure will build on both cities’ existing Gigabit City networks with homes set to benefit for the first time.

Edinburgh’s network already spans 150km, covering the City Centre and Leith to Lasswade, Portobello to Corstorphine, and beyond the City Bypass to Currie. The city-wide network is dramatically accelerating the digital capabilities of businesses and public sector sites, including schools, hospitals, libraries and community centres, by delivering ultra-fast, high capacity internet connectivity.

First announced in early 2017, Stirling’s existing network currently extends to around 24km, spanning from Bannockburn to the Stirling Agricultural Centre. The copper-free, ultra-fast network also connects the city’s public sector estate, laying the foundations for smart city deployments, improved business connectivity and domestic broadband expansion, as announced today.

By using fibre optic cables for every stage of the connection from the customer’s home or business to the Internet, users will be offered a significantly superior and more reliable broadband service, capable of Gigabit speeds (1,000 Mbps). Vodafone will use CityFibre’s network to bring Vodafone Gigafast Broadband to customers in Edinburgh and Stirling. Residential and business customers can pre-register for the service from today at www.vodafone.co.uk/broadband/ultrafast.

With the full support of The City of Edinburgh Council and Stirling Council, work on installing the new full fibre infrastructure will begin this year. CityFibre will use modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly, while minimising disruption to residents. Once completed, nearly every home and business in the cities will have full fibre access.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive, Nick Jeffery, said: “I’m delighted to welcome everyone living in Edinburgh and Stirling to the full fibre club, with a broadband service like no other.  After five months we are well on track with the joint Gigafast broadband programme that will help position the UK as a world leading digital centre.”

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive at CityFibre, said: “Edinburgh and Stirling will be among the first cities in the UK to benefit from this game-changing infrastructure programme, which will have a transformative impact on homes and businesses alike. We’re moving closer to our vision of a Gigabit Britain, where digital inadequacy is a thing of the past and full fibre connectivity is the norm. For residents of Edinburgh and Stirling, the future is now.”

Councillor Kate Campbell, Edinburgh’s Housing and Economy Convener, said: “Edinburgh’s already a well-connected city, but this investment will take it to the next level. Particularly welcome is that households will see a direct benefit for the first time. The additional capability this has already brought to schools, libraries and other community facilities has made a real difference for everyone who uses them. We will work closely with CityFibre to ensure the roll-out is as smooth as possible and residents are kept fully up-to-date with their plans.”

Stirling Council Leader, Councillor Scott Farmer, said: “This project will be a watershed moment for homes across the city. Fast and reliable access to the internet is a cornerstone of everyday life for business and personal use and the roll out of these plans will help equip Stirling for today and the future. This project underpins Stirling’s ambition to have world class connectivity and is just one of the many ways Stirling Council is transforming the area to make sure it is a place where everyone can thrive.”

Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: “Access to gigabit broadband speeds will help Scottish cities continue to attract and retain innovative technology companies, while benefiting thousands more Scottish homes. I therefore welcome this further investment from CityFibre, which is fantastic news for Edinburgh and Stirling, and reaffirms that our approach to R100 is working. It is also a real vote of confidence in the future of Scotland’s digital economy.”

Source: CityFibre

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