CityFibre: Bournemouth FTTH scheme back on track

CityFibre: Bournemouth FTTH scheme back on track

Summary: A scheme to install a fibre-to-the-home network in Bournemouth, which was initially meant to run via sewers, is up and running again after managers bought out Fibrecity and set up CityFibre


Work has begun to "stabilise and repair" Bournemouth's fibre-to-the-home network, CityFibre Holdings said on Friday.

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CityFibre bought the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network from the i3 Group in April, and the company's bosses met with Bournemouth Borough Council leaders at the end of that month to discuss plans, the company said in a statement. It is now fixing the abortive fibre network, which was started under the auspices of the company Fibrecity.

In August, ZDNet UK revealed how Fibrecity's much-vaunted sewer-based fibre system in Bournemouth was not going ahead as planned. Instead of using the sewers, the company was installing fibre-to-the-home by conventional means, including disruptive roadworks. Other Fibrecity/H2O Networks projects, such as a similar sewer broadband plan in Dundee, also fell through.

Around the same time, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) froze the assets of Fibrecity backers Total Asset Finance. At the start of this year, i3 Group's management, led by president and chief operating officer Greg Mesch, launched a buy-out of the group's subsidiaries H2O Networks, Fibrecity Holdings and Opencity Media in order to reorganise the businesses and their financial structures.

"Our first priority is to stabilise the network and make sure that all roadworks are repaired, so that by December there will be 20,000 homes passed that will be ready to receive services," Mesch, now CityFibre's chief executive, said in the statement on Friday.

Our first priority is to stabilise the network and make sure that all roadworks are repaired, so that by December there will be 20,000 homes passed that will be ready to receive services.

– Greg Mesch, CityFibre

CityFibre stressed that it is not going to sell connectivity directly to consumers, but is instead set up as an infrastructure builder of wholesale connectivity for ISPs.

"CityFibre is building a next-generation, open-access, passive fibre-optic network," Mesch said. "This 'open access' architecture is also the model that Google has adopted for its first large-scale fibre city in the US."

According to CityFibre, the network will deliver minimum symmetrical speeds of 100Mbps, with a 1Gbps maximum. Once the existing infrastructure has been stabilised and fixed, the plan is for new infrastructure to follow at the start of next year, with all homes in the town passed by the network by mid-2013.

"The management team has decades of experience of building fibre-optic networks across Europe," the company said. "Once Bournemouth is proven, it plans to work with service providers to build out subsequent FTTH networks in secondary towns and cities across the UK to further the service providers' business objectives."

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Topics: Broadband, Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • FTTH in brownfield areas is very challenging. We successfully used the sewer network in Oman to create a new FTTH network for up to 150k homes but there we put fibre ducts in parallel to the network. The challenge of breaking out of the sewers and creating the last drop seems to be significant. This network even came up as a question during a session I chaired at an FTTX conference in Berlin last week. I wish them all luck. PS Our own startup in Sweden delivers 100 meg symmetric broadband for around £8 per month with 120k customers overall. I so want to see schemes like this one in Bournemouth work as we need all the fast broadband we can get in this country (and VDSL doesn't really cut it for me).
    Richard Jones-1fc7b