ISP Zen Internet Extension UK CityFibre FTTP Nationwide Availability

CF cityfibre room Photo booth

Last year, we reported that UK ISP Zen Internet was preparing to make its Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) broadband plans gigabit-ready on CityFibre’s new network available nationwide (here). A new agreement has now been signed which sees Zen commit to long-term exclusive volume across CF’s network plan.

CityFibre’s £4 billion investment program has so far enabled their “full fiber“network to cover 1.5 million premises in the UK (here), and they are currently aiming to have 8 million premises”almost finished– in around 285 towns, cities and towns (around 30% of the UK) – by the end of 2025 (here). When completed, this should also cover 800,000 businesses, 400,000 public sector sites and 250,000 5G hotspots.

So far, only CF’s oldest consumer ISP partner, Vodafone, has formally committed to national availability on its new network (here) – this should be achieved by the end of next month – and , other than that, the level of ISP support between different build locations has tended to vary.

However, Vodafone has now been joined by Zen Internet after the ISP agreed to a major extension to its strategic partnership with the operator. Initially, Zen’s service was only available to consumers on CityFibre’s networks in Newcastle, Leicester, Ipswich and Worthing. But that has since grown and their broadband packages can now be found at 31 locations on CF’s ever-expanding network.

The new deal means Zen will continue to launch in new cities over the coming weeks, and its services are expected to be available to all homes across the CityFibre footprint by “end of 2022(last year we were given the more precise date of September 2022).

Paul Stobart, CEO of Zen, said:

“We are delighted to be working with CityFibre to bring fiber optic broadband to even more UK homes across the country. We are seeing strong demand and consumer interest in our first cities and are excited to ensure that more homes can access award-winning full fiber optic service at a pivotal time for home connectivity. By 2030, everyone will have made the switch, and we’re excited about Zen’s role as a super-fast pioneer to be a key catalyst for early adoption.

Our industry is changing rapidly, as is today’s consumer who rightly demands fast, reliable service. The rates of data volume and shared information have increased beyond recognition and people fundamentally depend on good connectivity. Deploying CityFibre provides a level of healthy competition and providers like us here at Zen have a vital role to play in providing reliable connections while looking after our customers very well.

CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said:

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to demonstrate the technical and commercial superiority of our Full Fiber networks over Zen and we are delighted that they have chosen CityFibre as the network of choice for our national deployment. Zen has proven to be an exceptional partner, and we look forward to accelerating the availability of their industry-leading services to millions of homes across the UK.

We are committed to building the UK’s best Full Fiber network, a rock solid platform for our customers, with better products at the right price. In doing so, we are playing our part in helping to provide the UK with the essential digital infrastructure and competitive dynamics needed to improve services and prices for consumers across the country.

It’s worth pointing out that Zen and Vodafone won’t be the only ISPs to achieve nationwide availability on CityFibre’s new all-fiber network. We expect TalkTalk to follow suit in the not too distant future and others, like Giganet, seem to be steadily moving in a broadly similar direction.

Zen Internet customers typically pay from £29.99 per month for a 100Mbps plan over 18 months with a free setup, rising to just £47.99 for their best 900 plan Mbps over a 24 month period. We should point out that a quirk of Ofcom’s speed code means that Zen still presents these packages with asymmetric (rather than symmetric) download speeds, but under the hood they’re still uncapped and symmetric like other CF ISPs. .

Advertised download speeds should change once Zen has enough real-world speed data to properly nail down the numbers, but for now this is a software mirror for Openreach-based tiers.

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