A Unique Moment in Time

Andrew Wilson, Wholesale Channel Sales Director at CityFibre, explains why the big switch-off means big potential for partners – and how Giacom can help partners make the most of the opportunities it brings to provide business fibre connectivity to their customers.

For many years now, CityFibre has been in the vanguard of the full fibre revolution. As one of the original alt-nets, we were the one with the nationwide vision to transform the UK with our well-planned city methodology. – and we continue to be the primary challenger to the incumbent players in the wholesale connectivity market. The bold innovation that we have shown, right from the start, has paved the way for many more alt-nets who have entered the market since. It was CityFibre that led the way, showed that it really was possible to challenge the status quo, and provide a better alternative to what was being provided to UK businesses.

Since that time, investment has come flooding into the alt-net community and today, CityFibre is the leading player amongst more than 100 companies that are building new fibre-only networks and providing alternative options to those offered by the bigger, more established players. We are now the provider of the UK’s fastest wholesale broadband services – with a network able to offer symmetrical multi-gig speeds while our incumbent lags behind in the speed and symmetry stakes. We’ve had a huge impact on the market and on attracting investment in the building of the UK’s full fibre network.

That’s brought with it a whole machinery of economic activity and opportunity for partners. We provide a full fibre infrastructure in areas of the UK that had been underserved until we and other alt-nets arrived on the scene. The evidence of how important that is can be seen in the investment that is being made in the UK’s Project Gigabit plans. We’re right behind that initiative. In March we won our first contract in Cambridge, subsequent awards have been announced in Norfolk, Suffolk and Hampshire, and we want to get involved in many other parts of the UK over the coming months too. This will bring multi-gig speeds to some of the poorest served premises in the UK today, the kind of connectivity that transforms lives and gives ISPs on our network the opportunity to make a massive impact. Consumers and businesses alike will never look back!

Extending the reach of fibre

As we extend the reach of full fibre out from the cities and towns into the rural areas of Britain, the opportunities for partners are expanding. We are now looking to reach out to more partners in more parts of the UK, and that’s making our strategic partnership with Giacom even more important.

It’s also significant that this investment and drive to reach further with fibre is happening at a time when the big switch-off of the old PSTN, copper-based network at the end of 2025 is fast approaching. The future-fit alternative to copper is fibre – so the work we are doing now to deliver FTTP options to many more UK businesses is vitally important. It will give them the infrastructure they will need in the ‘all-IP’ world.

As well as giving UK businesses better connectivity services that deliver stronger performance and improved value, we are enabling the migration to full fibre that all businesses will need to make. This is something they need to do, not only because of the switch-off timeline but also to ensure that they can be competitive and to future-proof their business and enable the adoption of new online services.

A colossal opportunity

This is a colossal opportunity to upgrade every customer to FTTP and one that partners can achieve with the support of an established, specialist provider. Giacom is perfectly positioned to guide its 6000-strong partner base through this, with its catalogue of educational resources and white-label content, not to mention its support from CityFibre,

Choosing a supplier to partner with is critically important. This is a race now and the copper switch-off is a once-in-a-generation change. The resellers that act fastest by asking the right questions and steering their customers through it effortlessly with sound and tailored advice will benefit the most. They will earn loyalty and business for years ahead. As well as making sure that they migrate – and thus retain – their existing customers to full fibre, with a really good value proposition and support behind them, partners can win new customers as well.

This needs to be done right away; the switch-off date is already on the horizon. Failing to act will leave partner businesses exposed to the very real possibility that they will lose customers as the pace quickens ahead of the 2025 deadline.

And the race pace is accelerating. Ofcom has reported that the UK’s full fibre coverage has exceeded 50% and we are adding about one million premises a year now. CityFibre is already the UK’s second-largest fibre network and the number one independent, open-access, fibre-only provider. We have infrastructure in 85 UK cities and towns, with services live in 80 of those and we have passed more than 3 million premises.

Exceptional market share

Market share for our partners in these locations is exceptional. One reason for this is that we have chosen to build in locations that have, up to now, been underserved, which means there is ready-made demand for faster, full fibre services.

But it’s not only due to the absence of significant competition – it’s also about the strength of the CityFibre value proposition and the unique service we offer to businesses. We can provide higher speeds and bandwidth, and better service and overall value. This means that many businesses do not feel compelled to take a much more expensive Ethernet service. While some still do that – simply to ensure that they have guaranteed bandwidth for themselves – for many businesses that’s not needed and nor will it be when the big switch-off comes.

It will be an all-IP world by then though and all businesses will have to switch to digital connectivity – for voice as well as data. For these organisations, CityFibre offerings are extremely attractive.

It is also worth remembering that, while there are still businesses that have not yet embarked on their digital transformation journey, more are making use of online solutions and services every day, and this is only going to increase. The years ahead are going to see a huge rise in VR/XR/AR and even multi-sensory reality technology across every sector of business.  Automation and AI will streamline production, processing, and logistics while fully immersive shopping and trading experiences will become mainstream. Virtual concerts, sports and ‘once in a lifetime’ events, along with virtual museums and brand-new forms of interactive cultural experience will be in demand. Businesses that do not prepare and adapt will fall by the wayside and fibre is the foundation to prevent this.

The race is on

CityFibre is targeting around a third of the UK with it’s in-plan rollout, including 800k businesses. That’s going to ensure that CityFibre and all its partners are real players in the business connectivity market.

Indeed, partners that take our products to market and make use of the excellent service and support that Giacom offers will have a real competitive advantage. Not only will they be able to provide the widest range of options for customers, but also deliver the very best provisioning, installation, and after-sales service.

As the race to deliver fibre connectivity to the market heats up ahead of the big switch-off, that’s going to make all the difference. This is a unique moment in time and by working with Giacom and CityFibre, partners can access all the services, support, and products they need to deliver future-proofed, full fibre business connectivity to their customers.