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Milton Keynes first in line for CityFibre and Vodafone’s gigabit-capable broadband

CityFibre and Vodafone have selected Milton Keynes as the first city in which to roll out their full-fibre network.

CityFibre has pledged to invest at least £40m in expanding its existing 160km network in the city. The upgrade is expected to offer customers gigabit-capable connections to their homes.

The companies said they chose Milton Keynes because it had been classified as one of Centre for Cities’ five Fast Growth Cities due to population and employment growth and high levels of productivity.

In November, Vodafone and CityFibre announced they were joining forces to roll out gigabit broadband connections to 5m homes and businesses across the UK by 2025.

The move heaped pressure on BT’s Openreach subsidiary, the owner of most of the UK’s existing broadband infrastructure, to find a retail partner to deliver its own superfast full-fibre connections.

Britain lags behind most of Europe in terms of broadband infrastructure, with just three per cent of premises able to access full-fibre, compared to 80 per cent of homes and businesses in Spain.

But CityFibre and Vodafone’s partnership will span 12 British “second-tier” cities and is expected to go some way to deliver the government’s target of 7 per cent full-fibre penetration by 2020.

Launching the rollout, Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said: “Milton Keynes is fast becoming a UK leader for productivity and growth, with its economic prospects only likely to improve following the opening of the East West Rail project. We believe that residents deserve a digital communications service to match their ambitions. This is why we are providing gigabit-capable connections to transform the way we live and work.”

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive at CityFibre added: “The partnership between Vodafone and CityFibre aims to tackle the huge problem the UK faces in terms of digital inadequacy and will help fulfil our vision of a Gigabit Britain. We are at the early stages of creating the Gigabit fibre network that the UK needs and deserves, and with the announcement of Milton Keynes as our first project we are well on our way to making this vision a reality. Full speed ahead.”