Openreach and CityFibre: know your broadband infrastructure builders

In this guide, we will offer key information that you need to know about broadband infrastructure builders, including how you can get the best broadband bundles in your area.

What is a broadband infrastructure builder?

A broadband infrastructure builder is a company who builds and maintains the physical infrastructure that allows broadband providers to connect homeowners and businesses to the internet. This means that they are in charge of the copper wires and fibre cables that run outside our homes and keep us online. Other companies can then use this network to provide their own services. These networks carry the data and providers sell you the broadband package for use in your home.

In simple terms, they install the plumbing for all types of broadband, but do not sell the water.

What is Openreach?

Openreach is the largest broadband network in the UK which supplies services to more than 690 providers. The most well-known of these are Sky, TalkTalk, EE, BT and Vodafone as well as smaller Alt Nets, like Pine Media. According to their website, 15.7 million homes and businesses are connected to their network. They are aiming to build Ultrafast Full Fibre across the UK by 2026, also known as Fibre to the Premises, which means pure fibre optic cables are connected straight from your house to the exchange.

Who is CityFibre?

CityFibre is a newer and less well-known broadband infrastructure builder than Openreach. Their aim is to have 8 million homes by 2025 connected to full-fibre. Because they are a brand new company, their infrastructure is completely based on new technology built from scratch rather than developments of old technology, meaning they plan to implement full-fibre with no reliance on copper-based networks.

Whilst providers like Vodafone and TalkTalk are also available on CityFibre, it is more commonly used by Alt Nets and independent internet service providers, like Fibrehop and Giganet. This means if you have access to CityFibre deals, you will have access to a wide variety of independent providers, which often have better pricing and customer service.

How does this affect which broadband packages I can get?

Depending on which broadband infrastructure builder is prominent in your area, there will be different broadband packages available to you. Openreach is the largest so you are likely to be able to connect to their wide range of providers, but some of these may still be using traditional broadband connections. This means that they use copper wire, or ASDL broadband, that relies on wires that already exist in the network of your landline phone. Almost all homes in the UK can access this, but it can’t achieve the higher speeds that fibre-optic broadband can. If fibre optic is not yet available in your area, this limits the number of broadband packages you can use, as you will not be able to take advantage of fibre optic deals.

CityFibre aims to roll out to 285 locations in the UK by 2025, and you can check their website to find out if this will be near you and which broadband providers they will be serving. With this competition on the rise, Openreach is likely to try and speed up its network, which will benefit customers as there will be more options available for ultra-fast network speeds.

How can I check which builder is in my area?

You can find out which builder is in your area by using a  postcode checker which will compare the fastest broadband deals available to you that you can then use to find out the builder in your area. When deciding on your broadband package, always use tools like these to ensure you will be paying for broadband that can achieve what you need, and if you can save money by bundling them with TV or phone deals.

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