Full fibre rollout too uncoordinated, city leaders warn

Full fibre rollout too uncoordinated, city leaders warn

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A group of politicians representing cities and towns in the north of England have warned that current plans for the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology are too inefficient and uncoordinated, which could hamper the pace of deployments.

In an open letter to Ofcom, the leaders of various city councils, including those in Bradford, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle, said they wanted to see every home and business in the north's 30 biggest towns and cities covered by full fibre by 2025.

The leaders, who have the backing of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP), warned that current "uncoordinated investments" from various infrastructure suppliers are acting against the interests of home and business users.

According to the NPP, if just 50 per cent FTTP coverage is reached across the 'northern powerhouse' areas, this would boost the region's economy by as much as £26.2 billion, with this rising to £47.2 billion if 90 per cent coverage is achieved.

However, in order to do this, a more joined-up approach to the deployment of these services will be required. 

Henri Murison, director of the NPP, said: "In some cases we are seeing the needless duplication of full fibre networks, while at the same time, short distances away, other northern towns and cities with no planned investment risk being left behind on antiquated copper networks, missing out on the huge benefits full fibre brings."

The organisation therefore called on the various companies who are developing full fibre networks, which include the likes of Openreach, CityFibre, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic, to work more closely together to limit disruption from installation works and ensure they can cover as wide an area as possible with the same funding.

Commenting on the open letter, chief executive of CityFibre Greg Mesch agreed that duplicated full fibre efforts will deliver no additional benefit and result in other areas being starved of investment altogether.

He added: "It's critical that the voice of cities, their leaders and communities is heard. It is in their interest and in the national interest that coverage is maximised and that no area misses out."

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