Tech firm pledges faster internet speeds for Brighton and Hove as £80m project begins

Posted On 03 Mar 2021 at 7:40 pm

Work has started on a five-year project to bring faster, stronger and more reliable internet connections to thousands of homes and businesses across Brighton and Hove.

The £80 million project is expected to generate economic benefits worth more than £300 million over the next 15 years, according to consultants.

The company behind the scheme, CityFibre, is based locally in a data centre at the Hyde Business Park, in Auckland Drive, Bevendean.

And from there it has started building a “full fibre” digital network to reach almost every home and business in Brighton and Hove within five years.

It said that the project would “transform Brighton and Hove into one of the world’s best digitally connected cities”.

Full fibre broadband uses fibre optic cables, which are faster and better than traditional copper cables, to provide a more reliable connection with more capacity between the data centre and each premises.

CityFibre said: “As part of an £80 million private investment from CityFibre, Brighton and Hove will benefit from a city-wide full fibre network roll-out.

“This will futureproof the area’s digital connectivity by ensuring its infrastructure can service the speed and bandwidth requirements of both residents and businesses for decades to come.

“According to research from economic consultancy Regeneris, full fibre connectivity will have a major impact in Brighton and Hove over the next 15 years.

“It shows that up to £213 million could be added to the value of local homes, while ‘smart city’ initiatives could add as much as £71 million locally.

“Access to full fibre could also unlock £62 million in business productivity and innovation while a further £30 million in growth could be driven from new business start-ups, with enhanced connectivity making it easier and less expensive to set up base and run efficiently.

“Lanes-i is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf, using modern build techniques to deploy the network quickly.

“The team is also working closely with CityFibre, Brighton and Hove City Council and local communities to manage disruption and ensure a fast and successful roll-out.

“Residents are being kept informed by mailings ahead of works in their streets.”

CityFibre’s city manager for Brighton and Hove, Anne Krause, said: “It is exciting to be part of bringing a first-class full fibre network to the vibrant and diverse area of Brighton and Hove.

“We are building futureproof infrastructure to support the digital needs of residents, both now and in the future, ensuring that the area can continue to embrace digital developments at home, work and in our leisure time as data consumption grows.

“The investment also comes at a critical time of economic recovery. Next generation full fibre connectivity can drive innovation and productivity, ultimately giving businesses the platform they need to realise their growth ambitions, while also creating the conditions for new start-up activity and investment.

“We look forward to working with Brighton and Hove Council, residents, businesses and the wider community to harness the power of full fibre.”

Full fibre offers speeds of 1 gigabit per second (1Gbps) – or 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) – and, unlike traditional connections, speed and signal strength tend not to fade as fast over distance.

The speeds will be a boost for people working from home, downloading large files, video conferencing, watching films or television programmes and gaming online.

Currently, typical speeds reported in Brighton and Hove range from about 21Mbps to 419Mbps, with many users towards the lower end of the range.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty

Council leader Phélim MacCafferty said: “It’s great news that the city will soon have access to faster more reliable internet connection speeds.

“This represents real progress, not just for our residents, but it will play an incredibly important part in supporting the local economy as we plan our recovery from the pandemic.

“Working with our partners at the Greater Brighton Economic Board, we have been pushing for faster and better internet connection for a number of years.

“This is a significant investment and, while there may be some disruption during installation, we have been assured by CityFibre that this will be kept to a minimum.

“The benefits of full fibre will be important for the city’s economy in both the short and long term and we’re looking forward to working with CityFibre on this exciting roll-out.”

CityFibre said that, currently, “fibre to the premises” was available to less than 20 per cent of premises across Britain. It said: “The network is not yet live but, once activated, services will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers.

“Across the UK, CityFibre is already working with launch partner Vodafone to deliver next generation broadband services, with TalkTalk and other providers expected to join the network soon.

“Residents interested in connecting to full fibre broadband can pre-register their interest at cityfibre.com/residential and they will receive information when services are available.”

  1. Peter Challis Reply

    Sounds promising, but wary when Phelim jumps on the publicity bandwagon.

    Looking at CityFibre’s website they are much more advanced in other locations in Sussex where they already offer dark fibre to businesses.

    But looking forward to see pricing and which ISPs will use them, and how they will compete with imminent 5G home broadband offerings from companies such as Three.

  2. Edward Thomas Reply

    Hmm registered and got this response “ Unfortunately, we are not currently building in your area but we regularly announce new towns and cities across the country. We will keep you updated if there are any changes about the build in your area.”

    I live in BN1

  3. Jonathan Reply

    I fear once again places like Woodingdean etc will be excluded from this. As per all council work. It seems to be just for the city and wealthy areas. Woodingdean and other so called estates get left behind.

  4. Chaz. Reply

    So how does this work compared to the offerings in place today?
    Do companies such as BT, Sky, Virgin etc. all go onto this?
    What does it mean in terms of costs?
    So many questions and Phlegm just signs up no matter what. Natch.

  5. BAHTAG Reply

    Hmmm, rather strange – big numbers being thrown around, with v little of substance attached to them?

    We’ve seen that too many times before, perhaps most infamousely with the i360 – a financial disaster for City taxpayers, pandemic or not, which was predictable and predicted (by local business-people) before the first spade went into the ground (because a ‘vanity project’ bespoke tower, at over 4 times the price of standard ‘Gyrotower’ models built all over the world, could never cover its basic financial & maintenance overheads).

    So what does CityFibre want us taxpayers to be scammed out of this time around?

    Maybe mainly 5G instead of fibre?

    After all, £80m doesn’t sound like enough to bring full fibre to all the premises in the City that don’t yet have it, but do want to pay whatever price CityFibre thinks it can charge?

    And bearing in mind that BT and/or Virgin have already brought fibre to most of those in the central City areas who want to pay a premium price for gigabit broadband?

    The selection of Lower Bevendean as the stated base also seems strange?

    We locals know it’s geographically a relatively long way from the City’s central areas.

    Technically it’s also a long way from the super high-capacity trunk lines, which run north-south, mainly along the railway, to the international telehouse data connection hubs in London.

    Or perhaps it’s a wheeze to get taxpayers money (borrowed!) from central Gov’t, which for years has been bamboozled into giving gigantic grants to BT with very little benefit to users, especially not in rural areas (because BT has used a lot of that money to semi-secretly install massive over-capacity (so-called unused ‘Dark Fibre’) on the main data routes, so that it can undercut and burn-out any competitor trying honestly to take market-share away from BT!

    And on a last local note: in pre-war years the then go-ahead Brighton Corporation (Conservative?) supplied power to its tram network by underground cable ducts underneath the main routes (London Rd, Elm Grove, Dyke Rd, etc).

    So far so good, but in the early days of our City a short-sighted majority Labour Council sold that network to BT for a symbolic amount (believed to be £1 + modest conveyancing costs), on condition that BT would repair the cable chambers under the roads, crumbling because a mis-managed Council had failed to be prudent by setting aside money for the predictable maintenance of these inspection pits and their covers!

    20 years on not only does that network of ducts have a great value as a central spine for data cables, but now to once again supply power to the hybrid trolley-buses which our City so urgently needs!

    And which can be much cheaper to buy and to run, and probably more reliable, that the expensive, inefficient, energy-wasting, and probably less-reliable chimera of hydrogen fuel-cell powered electric buses!

    Let’s see some common-sense, please!

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