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Southend strikes dark fibre deal



Council signs up to CityFibre's Gigabit City programme for upgrade of broadband infrastructure

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is laying plans for the installation of a 50km 'dark fibre' broadband network to connect 120 public sector sites around the town.

It has signed a £3.2 million, 10 year deal with CityFibre, a wholesale fibre infrastructure company that has carved a niche in providing local access networks mid-sized cities and major towns under its Gigabit City programme.

The company said the installation - which will involve a "100% fresh build" - will provide a boost for the public and private sectors in the town. It will make it possible to upgrade the connectivity of Southend's sites including council offices, schools and colleges, which will be migrated to the new network as it is built.

The dark fibre element will come into play as unused parts of the network will be open for internet service providers to offer the town's businesses access to high speed broadband connections, and mobile masts could be connected to support upgrades to 4G, and in future 5G services.

Connectivity improvement

Councillor Ian Gilbert, Southend's executive member for community and organisational development, said: “The solution will not only provide a stepped improvement in connectivity for council premises and schools but also offer solutions for businesses and residential premises. The partnership reflects the council’s commitment to sustainable economic growth and improved opportunity for all.”

Southend joins York, Coventry, Peterborough, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow in CityFibre's Gigabit City programme.

Last December the company acquired the fibre and duct assets for most of the country installed by KCOM, with the exception of the Hull and East Yorkshire area in which the latter company is based. It extended CityFibre's national footprint by more than 300%.

Image: Southend-onSea from the pier, by Velela, public domain through Wikimedia

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