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From humble beginnings in 2011, CityFibre has built itself up to become the largest, independent, carrier-neutral provider of full fibre infrastructure in the UK.
Its wholesale customers – Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile operators – use its network to provide ultrafast, reliable, and future-proof broadband, ethernet and 5G services to households and business customers, as well as GP surgeries, hospitals, and schools up and down the country.
CityFibre’s impact on the broadband market is not to be understated, either. With its swift and continuous rollout across more than 285 cities, towns, and villages in the UK, CityFibre has placed increased and continuous pressure on established broadband networks – such as Openreach and Virgin Media O2 – to upgrade their own full fibre infrastructure in order to keep up.
Full fibre broadband connections offer the fastest and most reliable speeds, making data-intensive tasks such as streaming in UHD 4K, playing games online, and undertaking backups on the cloud quick and easy.
According to Ofcom, the average download speeds within the UK in May 2020 were 64Mbps, with average upload speeds of 14Mbps. So, if you are used to an ADSL connection or FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) connection and upgrade to full fibre, you will instantly notice a radical improvement in the speeds you get.
The actual speed you get will vary between each home, but if you do live in an area where a broadband connection with a provider that uses the CityFibre network infrastructure is available, you will receive excellent speeds in comparison to standard broadband.
CityFibre now offers a postcode availability checker to show whether your home is able to receive a CityFibre connection. If If you are able to receive a connection, the widget will show which broadband providers are in your area offering connections via the CityFibre network.
You can then use Switchcraft’s address checker to find out what deals are available with these providers.
CityFibre offers customers a Gigabit-speed internet connection, which means customers can achieve speeds of up to 1000 Mbps (1 Gigabit, or 1Gbps). If you are a large household with everyone using the same connection simultaneously for bandwidth-heavy activities such as streaming Ultra HD and 4K TV, gaming online, or downloading large files, a 1Gbps connection will give you access to a fast and reliable connection with no buffering.
If you sign up to a full fibre broadband deal with a provider that uses the CityFibre network, your upload speeds will be symmetrical (i.e., the same) to your download speeds.
On the other hand, if you signed up to a broadband deal on the asymmetric Openreach network – for example BT or Sky – your upload speeds will be much slower. For example, if you sign up to BT’s Full Fibre 900 package, although you will get a full fibre connection and average download speeds of 900Mbps, your upload speeds will only be 110Mbps.
CityFibre works with over 30 Internet Service Providers (ISPs), including Air broadband, Giganet, iDNET, Octaplus, Vodafone, TalkTalk, Yayzi, and Zen Internet. Bear in mind that even though these providers use CityFibre’s network, speed, packages, hardware and costs vary.
Aside from CityFibre, there are a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who not only build and operate their own full fibre network, but also offer broadband packages. These providers include:-
Virgin Media is a broadband provider that builds and operates its own fibre network. With more than 5 million customers nationwide, Virgin Media is the UK’s largest gigabit broadband provider – offering download speeds of up to 1.3 Gigabits (Gbps) on its fastest package.
Many assume that because of the fast speeds it offers, Virgin Media must be a Full Fibre broadband provider. However, the operator’s network currently predominantly uses Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) technology.
So, rather than a Full Fibre connection, Virgin delivers its internet via a combination of fibre optic and multi-core copper – or coaxial – cables.
Although HFC connections can achieve similar – and in Virgin’s case – faster speeds than Full Fibre broadband from other providers, it is generally considered less reliable overall. For this reason, Virgin has begun to upgrade its entire infrastructure, aiming to have the entire network on Full Fibre by 2028.
Community Fibre is London’s largest and fastest ISP that builds, owns and operates its own Full Fibre network. Their top-tier package offers speeds of 3,000Mbps (3Gbps), making it the fastest broadband provider in the UK.
As of October 2023, Community Fibre is available in the following London boroughs: Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Camden, City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, and Westminster.
As the top ranked broadband provider on Trustpilot, and with broadband deals starting from just £12.50 per month, CommunityFibre is an excellent choice for broadband.
Another London-based FTTP (fibre to the premises) broadband provider with its own infrastructure, G.Network currently covers around 400,000 premises across the Capital. It’s long-term aim is to reach 1.3 million premises by end-of-year 2026.
Hyperoptic runs their own independent, full fibre network. Based in London, their full fibre service is available to homes and businesses across the following 13 UK cities and towns: Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton, Cardiff, Greater London, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Reading, and Sheffield.
Openreach is similar to CityFibre, building and maintaining its own network infrastructure which is then sold to its customers – broadband providers. Openreach is the largest broadband network in the UK and is used by more than 680 providers, including BT, EE, Sky, Plusnet, and TalkTalk.
CityFibre aims to serve up to a third of the UK by 2025; which translates to 8 million homes, 800,000 businesses, 400,000 local authority sites, and 250,000 5G access points.
On track to meet this aim, CityFibre announced in August 2023 that its services now reach more than three million homes and businesses across the UK, meaning nore than 76% of properties in the UK are now able to connect to gigabit-capable broadband.
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