CityFibre has confirmed the acquisition of TalkTalk's full fibre network FibreNation, allowing it to increase its target for the deployment of gigabit broadband from five million to eight million premises.
The takeover, which will cost CityFibre £200 million, establishes the firm as the UK's third national digital infrastructure provider and will help boost its design, planning and deployment capabilities as it continues to scale up its investments to deliver nationwide services.
So far, CityFibre has focused its attention on the development of 'gigabit cities' in urban areas, with 37 towns and cities identified as targets for a £2.5 billion investment programme.
However, the addition of FibreNation's assets will enable CityFibre to expand its ambitions and bring its Gigabit City Investment Programme to more than 100 locations. Around 7,000 jobs are expected to be created to support this rollout.
The firm will also set up a Northern Centre of Excellence, which will increase its design and build capabilities to help deliver a new generation of digital infrastructure throughout the north of the UK.
Chief executive at CityFibre Greg Mesch said better digital connectivity will help transform the UK into a nation of smart, connected towns and cities and provide a major boost to the economy.
He added: "The UK is a service-based economy, and this runs best on full fibre. Ensuring national coverage is critical and this can only be achieved by driving infrastructure competition at scale. This deal demonstrates the appetite from industry to see it established."
FibreNation was founded in 2018 following a previous joint venture between TalkTalk, Sky and CityFibre to bring full fibre connectivity to the York area. It continues to expand this network and now reaches around 49,000 premises.
Construction projects are also underway in Harrogate and Dewsbury with plans to make full fibre available to up to three million homes and businesses.
The sale was also welcomed by Tristia Harrison, chief executive of TalkTalk, who said it will be good news for the UK's fibre rollout.
"Our investment over the last five years and the excellent work delivered by the FibreNation team, combined with CityFibre’s well-established platform, will support wide geographical reach of full fibre and further drive competition and customer take-up in the market," she continued.