CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, has announced a £1.5 billion investment, awarding construction contracts for full fibre rollouts across 27 towns and cities, addressing approximately up to 3 million premises.

The awards create approximately 970 new local network construction jobs in Lancashire, South and West Yorkshire and Cheshire. These form part of CityFibre’s previously announced recruitment and training programme, through which it expects to create up to 10,000 network construction jobs over the next three years to support its national rollout.

In, Blackpool, Preston, Sheffield, Halifax, Bradford, Barnsley and Chester, CityFibre has appointed Telent, O’Connor Utilities Ltd, NMCN and Network Plus to deliver its full fibre rollouts. CityFibre has already committed £204m to rollouts throughout the North West and Yorkshire including in Huddersfield, Leeds, Rotherham and Doncaster. These builds are being delivered by OCU Ltd and Heneghan’s Civils Ltd, with all projects due to be substantially completed by 2025.

The conclusion of this first phase of its Accelerated Tender Awards Programme (ATAP) brings CityFibre’s total contracted investment to approximately £2.5 billion. With 26 build partners now under contract, its construction supply chain is secured for rollouts targeting over 5 million premises across 66 towns and cities. Mobilisation of its new partners and projects in Central Scotland already underway and all projects will be in build by summer 2021.

The rapid scaling of CityFibre’s rollout is being supported by Bechtel, one of the world’s leading engineering, construction and project management companies. Bechtel was recently appointed to accelerate the mobilisation of CityFibre’s construction partners and to maximise the productivity of each rollout project.

Commenting on the awards, Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: "Alongside improving transport links, full fibre is critical to powering the economy and boosting productivity across the Northern Powerhouse.

"Creating jobs in fast-growing sectors such as digital, enabling the fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing through to energy and in health, will be critical to levelling-up and driving forward the recovery - as well as the direct employment from the build out of these networks at a time of heavy job losses.

"The Northern Recovery Plan we are calling for will see digital infrastructure play a crucial role. We must follow CityFibre's lead and start to build back better now - even under heightened national restrictions - in order to create new jobs and close the North – South divide. It is government's role to back this where they can.”

Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our existing builds in the North West by adding these new locations with an investment of up to £389m. By awarding these full fibre network construction contracts in the region, we can ensure we have the construction resources we need to get the job done, bringing world-class digital infrastructure a step closer to millions in the North West and across the UK. Each contract represents hundreds of jobs and upskilling opportunities for local people, building the networks Britain needs to survive and to thrive in a digital age.”