A couple of weeks ago Vodafone and CityFibre announced Milton Keynes was going to be first recipient of gigabit-capable full-fibre broadband, and we think we know where they are going next.
The Vodafone/CityFibre partnership was announced back in November as an alternative to the status quo. Broadband deals are usually either from a provider which uses the Openreach infrastructure or Virgin Media, and this tie-up is supposed to offer a fibre alternative. In Milton Keynes, Vodafone has promised full FTTH broadband, which will be trenched throughout the city irrelevant of demand.
After Milton Keynes an additional 11 cities will get the fibre diet, but Vodafone is keeping these locations secret for the moment. But we think the next city will be one of the following:
There is a couple of common factors in the aforementioned cities. Firstly, they are all areas where CityFibre already has a notable fibre network laid. Secondly, average broadband speeds are relatively low. And finally, there isn’t a runaway winner in terms of broadband providers; they are all pretty shocking in the city.
Let’s start with Peterborough. CityFibre has laid a fibre network which spans 120km throughout the city, while average broadband speeds are currently at 12 Mbps. Virgin Media is currently the fastest provider with an average download speed of 33 Mbps, BT offers 16 Mbps and TalkTalk 11 Mbps.
Peterborough is also one of the cities in the UK which is launching a number of smart city initiatives, and even won the Smart City of 2015 award, beating off competition from the likes of Helsinki and Moscow.
Edinburgh is another interesting city as it is another with smart city ambitions and also a large university. The CityFibre network here is 150km long and the average download speeds across the city are 19 Mbps. Not as slow as some of the others on the list, but certainly a candidate.
The Scottish capital is also home to a number of different start-ups and a community of angel investors. Companies such as Skyscanner and FanDuel, both of whom have now achieved unicorn status, were born in Edinburgh, and organizations like TVSquared, Topolytics and PureLiFi are all starting to make the right noises. A thriving start-up community will certainly attract the interest of Vodafone and CityFibre when planning the gigacity revolution.
In Aberdeen, CityFibre has a smaller footprint, only 90km, though it is a smaller city. The population of the city is roughly 210,000, though the oil and gas industry does have a substantial presence. Speeds here were also pretty shocking, with the average broadband download speed being 12 Mbps, with BT offering an average of 17 Mbps and TalkTalk 11 Mbps.
York is another region with a notable CityFibre network, 153km, and low average broadband speeds, 13 Mbps. Interestingly enough, Virgin Media average download speed is 55 Mbps speeds while TalkTalk has 27 Mbps. The prices are also quite reasonable, after a quick look on a comparison site, so we’re not too sure why average speeds are so low when there are decent options out there.
Finally, Coventry. CityFibre has a 180km fibre network in the city, while average broadband speeds are as low as 14 Mbps. Virgin Media average speeds are 19 Mbps, while Sky is 17 Mbps and BT as low as 9 Mbps.
Out of the five option above, we think that Edinburgh or Peterborough are the best bets, then again, we could be completely wrong.