British pure fibre provider CityFibre has been selected by local mobile network operator (MNO) Three UK as a preferred provider of backhaul connectivity outside London. In a press release regarding the development, CityFibre said that the long-term framework between the two companies will enable Three UK to leverage its rapidly growing national full fibre network to support the rollout of 5G. Under the first phase of the agreement CityFibre will provide backhaul connectivity to the MNO’s cell sites, with ‘hundreds’ of sites already planned for connection this year across a number of CityFibre’s Gigabit City projects, the first of which are expected to go live ‘in the summer’. CityFibre has also confirmed that Three UK will have access to its full product portfolio, including small cell access points throughout its city-wide networks, providing the local fibre capacity required to support 5G services in busy urban areas.
Commenting on the matter, CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: ‘This is a huge vote of confidence in CityFibre from a national mobile operator with big plans for 5G. Three’s decision to leverage our rapidly expanding networks nationwide shows the critical role full fibre infrastructure has to underpin 5G rollouts and reinforces CityFibre’s position as the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform.’ Meanwhile, Dave Dyson, Three UK’s chief executive, noted: ‘A competitive fibre backhaul market is critical for the fast and efficient rollout of 5G. CityFibre are aggressively rolling out fibre across Britain and our strategic partnership with them will use the UK’s largest 5G spectrum portfolio to deliver [services] nationwide.’