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CityFibre Restart FTTP Broadband Builds in Blackpool and Preston – ISPreview.co.uk

Digital infrastructure operator CityFibre has restarted their deployments of a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP network across Blackpool and Preston in Lancashire (England), which comes after the company ended their local relationship with civil engineering partner Telent in July.
Just to recap. The operator originally began their £60m rollout across the seaside town of Blackpool in April 2021 (here) and their £30m build in Preston followed close behind (here). Both builds had been scheduled to complete during 2024 (3-year deployments) and were being delivered by civil engineering partner Telent.
The build in Preston appears to have been making reasonable progress, with roughly a quarter of the city now covered and seemingly live. But Blackpool is trailing behind and has yet to go live, while feedback suggests that progress in the area recently ground to a halt in the town, with many related roadworks being cancelled. Telent has yet to respond to our request for comment.
At the time of writing we do not know precisely what caused the problems, but CityFibre has confirmed that work was stopped in July 2022, and happily they’ve already awarded both projects to one of their other build partners – Network Plus (they’re also delivering related rollouts in Bradford, Halifax and Rochdale).
CityFibre Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:
“Telent and CityFibre agreed in July to bring their participation in our full fibre rollout in Blackpool and Preston to an end. We have now awarded the projects to our existing build partner Network Plus, which is delivering our rollouts in Bradford, Halifax and Rochdale. Network Plus are beginning work this week in Blackpool and will be starting shortly in Preston. The rollouts are back underway.”
We should point out that CityFibre also contracted Telent to conduct their £23m deployment across the Cathedral City of Chester in Cheshire (here), which began at around the same time as the other two locations and is another one that has yet to go live. A quick look at the area appears to indicate a lack of wide-scale deployment activity, but we’re currently still trying to clarify the situation.
All of these builds form part of CityFibre’s wider £5bn+ (debt and equity) investment project, which aims to cover up to 8 million UK premises – across around 285 cities, towns and villages (c.30% of the UK) – with their full fibre broadband network by the end of 2025 (here). So far, the operator has already covered 1.9 million UK premises – with 1.7m Ready For Service (RFS) via a supporting ISP.
Why did they cancel the agreement between Telent and City Fibre in the first place?
I be interested to hear what reason Telent give.
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