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Solace blog

25th February 2015

Peterborough Transforms Itself Into A Gigabit City By Way Of An Innovative Public-Private Partnership

A little more than a year after signing a strategic partnership agreement with Peterborough City Council, independent fibre network builder CityFibre is approaching the completion of a major digital infrastructure upgrade for Peterborough. With over 90,000m of pure fibre network beneath the city streets, Peterborough’s public and private sectors are already beginning to benefit from digital connectivity that leaves most other towns and cities far behind. Peterborough is now one of the best-connected cities in the UK and one of only four Gigabit Cities in the country alongside York, Coventry, and Aberdeen.

Despite suffering for years with sub-standard digital connectivity, Peterborough is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities. For some time Peterborough City Council had been exploring strategies, alongside its ICT provider Serco, to transform the delivery of their own ICT – frustrated by their reliance on increasingly expensive and inadequate connectivity from incumbent suppliers.

A progressive and ambitious city council, teamed with a high-growth business community (a record 1,400 SMEs launched in 2012) unsupported by existing digital infrastructure made it a perfect candidate for CityFibre’s Gigabit City Programme. A strategic partnership with the city council, signed in November 2013 enabled CityFibre to commit a private, multi-million-pound investment to construct a brand new city-wide, pure fibre-optic network, delivering Gigabit speed connectivity for the council’s estate and Peterborough’s business community. Not only did the solution overhaul and accelerate the city’s digital infrastructure but the contract is estimated to save the council over £5m over the life of the partnership. Richard Godfrey, Assistant Director at Digital Peterborough said “Not only has the Gigabit City project enabled the council to take control of our connectivity requirements, saving millions in the process, but it has underpinned an ambitious digital strategy and transformation programme the benefits of which are already being felt by service users and Peterborough businesses”.

The network was carefully planed to connect over 100 council sites including offices, data centres, schools and hospitals as well as reaching numerous under-served business parks and key development areas. The 90km citywide network (90% complete at time of writing) supplies internet connections at speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second as standard, that’s 1000Mbps and is approximately 40 times faster than superfast broadband. Not only has the network been built quickly, but disruption has been minimised thanks to modern planning methodologies and a smart
build programme taking Peterborough from struggling to supercharged in less than a year!

Peterborough’s business community showed full support for the new network as CityFibre’s “Gig-Up Peterborough” campaign saw 25%+ of Peterborough’s 4000 businesses pre-register to be included in the networks plans by October last year. CityFibre have ensured that 80% of Peterborough’s businesses will be within reach of the network and almost all public sector sites within the city will be connected. This is enabling schools to increase educational standards; PCC to realise efficiencies and improve public services, and businesses to thrive through technological advantage.

When fully deployed Peterborough will have access to a future-proof fibre infrastructure that will position it at the forefront of the UK’s digital economy.

Councillor Marco Cereste, then Leader of Peterborough City Council said, “Peterborough will soon have one of the fastest networks available in the UK and will be on its way to becoming a Gigabit City, which is another boost to the city’s growth agenda. We, therefore, welcome the CityFibre investment in the city. Peterborough’s economy is rapidly growing and the CityFibre investment will allow businesses of all sizes to utilise the internet for growth, as well as bringing new businesses Peterborough, inspire start-ups, support home workers and create jobs.”

As a wholesale infrastructure provider, CityFibre does not sell services over the network. Instead, a number of Internet Service Providers and mobile operators will bring the benefits of the gigabit speeds to key business districts, data centres and mobile base-stations as well as other important community sites. This maximises the utilisation and efficiency of the network and consequently the benefits to the city of Peterborough.

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive Officer at CityFibre said, “Fibre Broadband is widely viewed as the utility of the future and pure fibre networks, such as the one we are deploying in Peterborough, are the only future-proofed solutions.

Networks such as this are the foundation of our Gigabit City vision. There are over 100 towns and cities in the UK that currently do not have ultra-high-speed connectivity, so the opportunity for CityFibre to play a part in modernising the UK’s digital infrastructure is extremely exciting”.

With ready access to private funding, CityFibre is currently considering a number of new Gigabit City investment projects and is looking to engage with cities keen to benefit from a radical overhaul of their digital infrastructure. For more information and to complete registrations of interest please click here.

As the UK’s largest independent provider of fibre network infrastructure, CityFibre builds and operates networks that bring the benefits of Gigabit connectivity to communities throughout the country, helping cities to compete globally by unlocking the potential of new services in the public, private and residential sectors. Our privately funded Gigabit City model is gaining momentum and already transforming cities including Peterborough, York, Coventry, and Aberdeen.

By CityFibre