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Edinburgh ultrafast fibre broadband network to be extended in £5.6m deal

Tuesday, September 8th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Edinburgh’s ultrafast fibre broadband network is to be extended to reach a further 294 council-owned sites, it has been announced.

Infrastructure provider CityFibre has signed a new £5.6m deal with Edinburgh City Council to extend its ‘Gigabit City’ project.

The seven-year contract, which could be extended up to 19 years, will be delivered with broadband provider Commsworld.

It will see the city’s existing copper broadband network replaced with fibre optic cables.

In 12 months’ time, more than 500 premises will be connected to the new network, which will also form the backbone for future residential rollouts.

Key sites benefitting from CityFibre’s investment include council offices, community centres and libraries. 137 primary and secondary schools will also benefit from faster broadband speeds.

Edinburgh’s 17,000 businesses also stand to benefit as the network grows to areas not included in the first phase of the rollout, such as The Gyle.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said: “This is CityFibre’s largest contract to date and in such a prestigious city as Edinburgh, it is a landmark in our growth as a firm.

“In a matter of months, CityFibre’s partnership with Commsworld has begun a truly transformational infrastructure project in the city and as the world’s bandwidth consumption is set to triple in the next four years, Edinburgh is in an advantageous position to capitalise on the continued shift towards a digital economy.

'Greater online capability'

“This contract solidifies the power of our Gigabit City model and indicates the appetite from city leaders to embrace a new generation of infrastructure. In our Gigabit Cities, we are now a true infrastructure alternative to BT Openreach.”

The CityFibre contract is part of a wider £186m outsourced ICT procurement for Edinburgh won by global ICT firm CGI that will create the single largest pure fibre city rollout in the UK.

Councillor Alasdair Rankin, convener of the finance and resources committee at Edinburgh City Council, said: “In signing this contract we will transform the way we do business.

“One of the exciting things CGI will do through its chosen partners, including CityFibre and Commsworld, is speed up our move to greater online capability giving residents and businesses greater flexibility to engage with the council and carry out their transactions digitally.

“This will make us a more efficient and effective organisation across our wide range of council services.”

Commsworld CEO Ricky Nicol said: “The reach and benefits of this network will have a hugely positive impact on Edinburgh as a whole but this would not be possible without CityFibre’s investment in the fibre infrastructure that will allow Edinburgh to become one of the best connected cities in the world.

“Since we launched the Edinburgh CORE network together in May we have seen huge demand from businesses across all sectors and it is now set to be the biggest gigabit city project in the UK.”

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