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Nexfibre reaches million premises ready for service benchmark

Just weeks after confirming it would invest £1bn in broadband infrastructure this year as part of plans to drive long-term competition in the UK fibre access market on a national scale, wholesale full-fibre-based gigabit broadband network provider Nexfibre has announced it has reached a total of one million premises passed and ready for service, making it the fastest fibre build programme of any UK network.

Nexfibre is the result of a £4.5bn investment from Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) shareholders, Liberty Global and Telefónica, alongside investment firm InfraVia Capital Partners. It was launched to create the UK’s first national-scale challenger to BT Openreach, boosting choice and competition in the market.

The key stated objective for Nexfibre is to roll out fibre initially to five million homes not currently served by the VMO2 network by 2026, with the opportunity to expand to an additional two million homes. VMO2 has an exclusive partnership with Nexfibre, and aims to have a fibre footprint reaching 80% of the UK when coupled with its own fibre upgrade plans, which complete in 2028, with Nexfibre providing a material baseline of penetration to build upon.

VMO2 currently provides broadband services reaching speeds of up to 2 Gbps across the Nexfibre network. Nexfibre also claims to be the only current fibre provider of significant scale that exclusively uses 10 Gbps XGS-PON technology.

Nexfibre said the million-premises landmark means it has progressed faster than any fibre network provider, reaching a seven-digit number of premises in 14 months, and that it’s on track to become the second-largest competitive network in just its second year of operation. The business is set to deliver its network to more premises than any other fibre provider in 2024, except for incumbent provider Openreach.

“It’s thanks to the hard work of our team, our partners and the commitment of our investors that we are able to mark this significant milestone on our path to reaching five million premises by 2026,” said Nexfibre CEO Rajiv Datta.

“And we’re just getting started,” he added. “As we continue to accelerate activity, we remain steadfast in our commitment to delivering the high-quality digital infrastructure that has the power to create lasting value in the communities we serve. We firmly believe that we are building a platform to foster sustainable competition in the UK fibre market that will drive innovation for generations to come.”

UK data and digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez added: “Slow connectivity not only hinders economic growth, but also affects people’s quality of life. It is our mission to make sure nobody in Britain is held back by this, and this is why we are delivering the fastest connectivity on the market across the country.

“In addition to Project Gigabit, a government-funded £5bn project targeting hard-to-reach areas, it’s fantastic to see the private sector investing on such a scale,” she said. “Today’s milestone represents a huge vote of confidence in both the telecoms sector and the government’s plan for achieving nationwide gigabit-capable connectivity by 2030.”