CityFibre pauses broadband rollout jobs in Yorkshire

Aaron Morby 6 months ago

Ultrafast broadband provider CityFibre has stopped broadband rollout projects in some cities and towns across Yorkshire.

Contractors have been told to down tools on projects in Leeds, Sheffield, Wakefield, Rotherham and Barnsley.

One contractor told the Enquirer: “We’re still in the dark about exactly why the work is being paused, rumours are circulating it may be because of poor uptake or that refinancing of debt may be underway causing a hiatus.”

The Yorkshire contracts form part of a major programme for CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, which will see full fibre roll-out across 66 towns and cities in the UK.

A CityFibre spokesperson said there had been a review looking at reprioritising certain areas but that the overall programme remained on track.

The spokesperson said: “CityFibre’s build is progressing well towards our 8m premises target. We have passed over 3.5m homes with our full fibre rollout so far, delivering more than 1m last year alone.

“Given the pace and scale of our nationwide rollout, we continually review the prioritisation of our deployment locations, considering a range of factors including our expanding participation in the government’s ‘Project Gigabit’ rural rollout programme.

“As part of this review, we have decided to pause a number of local builds while we determine next steps. Our wider rollout remains on track.”

Last year CityFibre became an integral delivery partner to government for rural connectivity, securing four new contracts with a total value of £387m under its Project Gigabit programme.

These will subsidise the roll-out of gigabit-capable infrastructure to 262,000 rural properties across the country that would otherwise be excluded from commercial rollouts. The awards also unlocked an additional commercial expansion by CityFibre in the target regions of over 450,000 premises.

In a trading update last week, Greg Mesch, chief executive officer at CityFibre, said the firm was on track to achieve EBITDA breakeven in the first half of this year.

He said that the network expansion was being delivered at target cost, which has remained flat in nominal terms over the past four years, as build partner and portfolio optimisation and performance improvements, alongside CityFibre’s scale, has offset input cost inflation and the volatile operating backdrop.

Mesch said: “In spite of a challenging operating environment, CityFibre continues to go from strength to strength.

“During 2023, we generated over £100m in revenues, delivered our target of 1 million Ready For Service premises, and doubled take-up across our footprint. We look forward to building on this firm foundation and exploring opportunities to transform our expansion ambitions in 2024 and beyond.”


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