New Players Drive Boom in UK Broadband Connections, IHS Says

70 percent rise in connections in five years; CityFibre becoming notable alternative to BT Openreach 


Wednesday, March 9, 2016 12:01 am EST


"This means that internet service providers looking to move into certain towns or cities may have the option of choosing CityFibre as a wholesaler instead of BT"

London, UK (9 March, 2016) – IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight, announced new findings from its report on the outlook for the UK telecommunications sector.

New players in the high-speed broadband market will boost connections in the UK by 70 percent over the next five years, from almost nine million at the end of 2015 to more than 15.5 million by the end of 2020.

“While BT is working on expanding superfast services using VDSL (FTTC) and G.Fast, alternative operators have entered the market using FTTP to increase their coverage,” said Fiona Vanier, senior analyst at IHS Technology.

Alternative to BT Openreach

Infrastructure supplier CityFibre was founded in January 2011 and now owns and operates 618km of local access networks in more than 50 UK towns and cities. By 2020, CityFibre is planning to increase its coverage area from 15 percent of all UK households to 20 percent. “This means that internet service providers looking to move into certain towns or cities may have the option of choosing CityFibre as a wholesaler instead of BT,” Vanier said. “Key players in the UK broadband market, such as Sky and TalkTalk, already recognize CityFibre as a viable alternative to BT Openreach, and a number of significant agreements have been signed with CityFibre over the last 12 to 18 months.”

CityFibre is concentrating on exploiting its existing networks in small- to medium-sized towns and cities across the country. As a result of this strategy, CityFibre has launched six gigabit city projects in York, Peterborough, Coventry, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Internet service providers operating in these cities can offer attractive alternative high-speed products completely independent from BT Openreach and in direct competition with BT Infinity. In contrast, companies such as Gigaclear and organizations such as B4RN are targeting potential customers in UK-based rural areas which are of minimal commercial interest to BT.

Gigaclear targets rural communities

Another company pushing the boost in connections is Gigaclear. “Gigaclear has found its niche in the market,” Vanier said. “With take-up rates as high as 40 percent, it is clear that this company is expanding quickly in key areas in the UK.”

When a community on the edge of its coverage area is interested in being connected it has to raise investment to cover the costs associated with expansion. Volunteers and landowners are responsible for organising viable routes and wayleaves, and laying the ducts to receive the fibre optic cables.


About IHS (

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is the leading source of insight, analytics and expertise in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Businesses and governments in more than 140 countries around the globe rely on the comprehensive content, expert independent analysis and flexible delivery methods of IHS to make high-impact decisions and develop strategies with speed and confidence. IHS has been in business since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs approximately 8,600 people in 32 countries around the world.

IHS is a registered trademark of IHS Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners. © 2016 IHS Inc. All rights reserved.


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Locations of key FTTP networks owned or leased by alternative operators