Zen Internet partnering with CityFibre on FTTP

20 November 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Zen Internet become third broadband provider to link up with CityFibre to deliver fibre to the premises (FTTP) in the UK.

Zen's 1Gb broadband will first launch in Newcastle and Worthing from January 2021, with Leicester and Ipswich to follow later.

The long-term aim is to extend Zen's services across the whole of CityFibre's network which currently covers up to eight million homes.

CityFibre already have deals with Vodafone and TalkTalk, so Zen will be the third ISP to use their FTTP to deliver gigabit broadband.

fibre broadband
Credit: Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock.com

Zen rollout

Few details are available about Zen's rollout beyond the CityFibre locations where they will be going live in the coming months.

Their website states:

  • Newcastle Upon Tyne - Live from January 2021
  • Worthing - Live from January 2021
  • Leicester - Coming Soon
  • Ipswich - Coming Soon

However, it's important to remember only customers on the CityFibre network in those locations will be able to sign up.

Analysis of CityFibre's footprint by Think Broadband suggests more than 330,000 premises can order a service based on the network, with works underway in many areas but not yet live.

No indication of pricing for Zen's FTTP service has been given so far, but it's unlikely they will be as cheap as their CityFibre rival Vodafone - they offer premium services including a lifetime price guarantee and a Static IP as standard.

Zen have been offering ultrafast FTTP services on the Openreach network since 2017.

CityFibre partners

Zen are the third major ISP to link up with CityFibre in a deal to deliver gigabit broadband via their UK network.

CityFibre announced a partnership with Vodafone in 2017, leading to the rollout of Vodafone Gigafast services in 12 locations: Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Cambridge, Coventry, Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Peterborough, Southend-on-Sea and Stirling.

More recently, TalkTalk confirmed they are set to expand across CityFibre's network to the following locations in the coming months: Aberdeen, Bolton, Milton Keynes, Newcastle and Peterborough.

Bringing more broadband providers onto the CityFibre network will inevitably enhance competition.

For instance, if Zen's CityFibre footprint begins overlapping with Vodafone's in 2021 onwards, we should see healthy competition between two providers offering similar speeds but different features.

With TalkTalk bringing their services to CityFibre towns and cities too, customers in rollout areas will have more choice when it comes to FTTP broadband.

FTTP rollout

CityFibre are one of several nationwide providers investing in gigabit-capable broadband networks.

The biggest is BT-owned Openreach, and it's worth pointing out Openreach FTTP has good coverage in Worthing centre and pockets of the area near Newcastle International Airport.

One complaint about the FTTP rollout is that providers are overlapping their coverage rather than expanding to new areas within cities and towns, probably because it costs more to expand to those hard-to-reach locations.

Yet increased competition in local areas is no bad thing for customers, something we're seeing in Southampton as Virgin Media's Gig1 stronghold is targeted by newcomer toob.

It's also a good time for Ofcom to be pursuing their plans to make it easier to switch between networks.

Although the new procedures aren't scheduled to come into force until December 2022 because of their complexity, customers will then be able to switch from an ISP on Openreach's network to one on CityFibre's without the hassle currently associated with the switch.

As more broadband providers rollout their services on different networks, these rules could make it much easier to switch with confidence from 2023 onwards.

Which broadband deals are available in your area?

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