CityFibre raises £30M, buys Coventry metro network

UK infrastructure provider CityFibre Ltd. has completed the acquisition of Coventry’s 140-km metropolitan fiber-optic network as part of a strategic partnership with Coventry City Council. The acquisition comes on the heels of CityFibre closing a new £30 million ($50.4 million) round of funding.

UK infrastructure provider CityFibre Ltd. has completed the acquisition of Coventry’s 140-km metropolitan fiber-optic network as part of a strategic partnership with Coventry City Council. The acquisition comes on the heels of CityFibre closing a new £30 million ($50.4 million) round of funding.

The network, called the Coventry CORE, will be extended and upgraded to make gigabit Internet connections available to local businesses via local Internet service provider partners. The Coventry CORE will become CityFibre’s largest metro network and will increase the company’s national network footprint by around 50%, the company claims.

The existing infrastructure, commissioned by Coventry City Council six years ago, currently services nearly 300 buildings including public sites such as council offices, schools, and community centers. CityFibre will continue to provide connectivity to these sites, granting the council a long-term right of use.

CityFibre will upgrade the network in preparation for the next-generation business connectivity it plans to deliver. The upgrade will transforms Coventry into a “Gigabit City,” joining both York and Peterborough in CityFibre’s accelerating gigabit cities program (see "Sky, TalkTalk, CityFibre partner for 1-Gbps FTTH in York" and “CityFibre picks Peterborough for next gigabit city”).

The network expansion to business customers will be demand-led. CityFibre has today launched a pre-registration campaign called “Gig Up Coventry” to encourage businesses, business parks, and developers to register their interest in gigabit-speed connectivity. A similar campaign in Peterborough has already generated over 500 business registrations, the operator says.

Tim Luft, CEO at Coventry-based business The Serious Games Institute, said, “As a technology company, connectivity and quality of service is central to our success and this is becoming increasingly true of many businesses in a data-hungry digital world. We spend a lot of time transferring enormous files and this network will unlock previously inaccessible levels of connectivity, speed and resilience.”

Speaking about the partnership, Cllr Damian Gannon, cabinet member at Coventry City Council, said, “Ultrafast gigabit speed connectivity is vital for Coventry businesses to enable them to compete and succeed not just on the national, but also on the international stage. As a Gigabit City, Coventry can now set itself alongside the most digitally advanced locations around the world and we look forward to the numerous social and economic advantages that such a status will bring; driving economic investment and catalyzing business start-ups.”

Coventry is already participating in the SuperConnected Cities program, which offers businesses vouchers towards the cost of connecting to high-speed broadband services delivered by local Internet service providers. The scheme, set up by the UK government, is worth £3 million to Coventry businesses. CityFibre says it will provide greater choice to voucher users with its affordable gigabit-speed services.

Meanwhile, CityFibre’s new funding round, which included both new and existing investors, accelerate projects already underway, CityFibre says. Two projects have progressed to the contract negotiation stage; the company did not reveal whether the Coventry acquisition is one of them. CityFibre says it is in active discussions with 25 other city councils to acquire or build gigabit city networks.

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