CityFibre has awarded the cable network deal to VolkerSmart Technologies, providers of fibre optic cable networks and SmartCity infrastructure.
Work will start in Swindon and Slough in October and continue through to 2023 with 262,000m of new trenches in Slough and 430,000m in Swindon. VolkerSmart will be in charge of installing ducting before splicing and testing the fibre optic cables that will bring some of the UK's fastest broadband speeds to the area.
Works will involve a combined installation involving the underground trenched duct network and overhead infrastructure.
VolkerSmart have already achieved the first milestone on another CityFibre contract in Ipswich where work began in February 2020. Using the same hybrid installation as the Swindon and Slough project, the team have been able to deliver with efficiency and speed, minimising disruption to local residents. Martyn Caulfield, telecoms contracts manager, said handing back a significant number of properties to CityFibre was a great achievement considering the programme disruption caused by Covid-19.
As people and businesses become more reliant on broadband during the pandemic, these network improvements will be of real value to Ipswich, Swindon and Slough. The Ipswich project is part of CityFibre's £4bn Gigabit City investment programme that reaches across more than 60 UK towns and cities, 27 of which have already been mobilised with construction work going ahead in 16 locations.
Gigabit speed internet is already live in 11 locations and the entire project is believed to be capable of creating 7,000 new construction jobs. Awarding the Ipswich contract, James Thomas, CityFibre's director of supply chain said "We are thrilled to welcome VolkerSmart Technologies to our growing list of build partners. We are confident they will bring a vast amount of expertise to our build in Ipswich."
Thomas said CityFibre's intention was to find partners to grow with the project and he believed VolkerSmart Technologies will be a model build partner, consistently delivering a high standard of work, and at the pace required for the Full Fibre rollout. That collaboration has now been extended to the future proof Full Fibre rollout in Swindon and Slough.
Speaking about the new contract, Alistair Thompson, managing director of VolkerHighways said they were proud to be part of an enterprise with such a transformational effect on the digital experience of communities across Britain by providing faster, more efficient and reliable broadband.
James Thomas spoke of forging long term partnerships with nimble and agile contractors capable of scaling alongside the work of CityFibre while also working closely with the local communities. He praised VolkerSmart Technologies as a great example of the partnerships CityFibre are hoping to forge over the coming years as the digital transformation gathers pace.
VolkerSmart Technologies specialise in linking business and industry to local infrastructure, creating a platform for sustainable growth benefiting the local community. They call this upgrading to Smart City status using communications infrastructure, sensors, data platforms, analytical software and personal apps. VolkerSmart also provide EV charging through VolkerHighways.