CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, has been selected by mobile network operator Three as a preferred provider of backhaul connectivity outside London. The long-term framework enables Three to leverage CityFibre’s rapidly growing national full fibre network to support its rollout of 5G services.
The first phase of the agreement will see CityFibre provide backhaul connectivity to Three’s cell sites, with hundreds of sites already planned for connection this year across a number of CityFibre’s Gigabit City projects. The first connections to sites will go live in the summer, supporting Three’s ambitious 2020 5G programme.
By underpinning the UK’s largest 5G spectrum holding with full fibre backhaul, Three will be able to offer the UK’s fastest 5G network for consumers, businesses and home broadband customers. CityFibre’s dark fibre connectivity will provide Three with far greater capacity to meet the growing demand for mobile data. Three will also have access to CityFibre’s full product portfolio including small cell access points throughout its city-wide networks, providing the local fibre capacity required to support 5G services in busy urban areas.
Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in CityFibre from a national mobile operator with big plans for 5G. Three’s decision to leverage our rapidly expanding networks nationwide shows the critical role full fibre infrastructure has to underpin 5G rollouts and reinforces CityFibre’s position as the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform.
“Our networks have been designed to support both the technology and insatiable demand for data throughput required to power 5G networks and services. This deal will not only help accelerate 5G coverage throughout the UK, but also further accelerate our rollout of full fibre coverage nationwide.”
Dave Dyson, CEO at Three UK said: “A competitive fibre backhaul market is critical for the fast and efficient rollout of 5G. CityFibre are aggressively rolling out fibre across Britain and our strategic partnership with them will use the UK’s largest 5G spectrum portfolio to deliver the fastest 5G network nationwide.”