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Massive investment in micro-trenching digital connectivity into Cambridge continues

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CityFibre has appointed Lite Access Technologies to deliver its Cambridge FTTP rollout
CityFibre has appointed Lite Access Technologies to deliver its Cambridge FTTP rollout

Canadian-based Lite Access Technologies has been awarded a CAD$20million ($US15m, £12m) contract for fibre-to-the premises (FTTP) installation to over 20,000 homes in Cambridge over the next 21 months.

The contract was awarded by CityFibre, the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform, a London-based ‘Gigabit City’ provider jointly controlled by Antin Infrastructure Partners and West Street Infrastructure Partners - the latter managed by Goldman Sachs - whose mission began in 2011.

CityFibre’s network rollouts have started, with plans to deliver open-access full fibre infrastructure to 8 million premises as part of its up to £4billion Gigabit City investment programme. Network construction is under way in 21 cities and towns with gigabit-speed services already live in 14 cities. At its peak, the project will create up to 7,000 new construction jobs.

James Thomas, director of supply chain at CityFibre, said: “We have been working with Lite Access Technologies on similar projects in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds over the last few months and are now pleased to be welcoming them into Cambridge to help with the roll-out of the city’s new future-proof full fibre infrastructure.”

Construction work on Cambridge’s next generation full fibre network began over a year ago. As key workers, CityFibre has been asked by the UK Government to continue to expand the nation’s digital capacity. All contractors are being “urged” to follow the social distancing protocols as outlined by Public Health England to ensure their safety and that of the general public. Lite Access reports “no significant delays or site shutdowns, although we are forced to operate with some restrictions” to its operations in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds during the pandemic.

Micro-trenching is being used in Cambridge to make the city one of the best-connected in the UK
Micro-trenching is being used in Cambridge to make the city one of the best-connected in the UK

Carlo Shimoon, president & CEO of Lite Access, said: “I would like to thank our partner CityFibre for awarding us this major contract. We are incredibly proud of the relationship that has developed with CityFibre. We expect to commence initial ramp-up of operations in Cambridge immediately and expect to be at full scale in the city by July of 2020. The project is anticipated to be completed within 21 months.”

“Despite challenges during the current Covid-19 global pandemic, the UK government has declared that telecom infrastructure is critical to both allow society and the economy to function as near normally as possible and allow a rapid recovery when the Covid-19 crisis is over. Our company has no debt and is well financed. In addition, we don’t expect that any capital expenditure for additional equipment will be required to fulfill this contract. We are certainly up to the task and we feel confident that our end-to-end construction capabilities will be successful in meeting project performance measures. Our senior management has decades of experience in operating efficient multi-location and scalable businesses to draw upon.”

Founded in 2004, Lite Access has become a world leader in fibre-optic products and advanced installation methodologies. Based out of Langley in British Columbia, it delivers complete, integrated solutions including proven and approved alternate deployment methods for fibre installation. Its micro-duct, air-blown fibre, micro-trench and narrow trench installation methods have been used in high-profile communication networks including Olympic, military and government facilities. The company, which records its size on LinkedIn as “51-200 employees”, says its ‘Lite Access Way’ of construction for both trunk and FTTP connectivity has become “a recommended and preferred method of fibre installation” following successes in North and South America, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, the Caribbean, Australia and Asia.

Lite Access says: “Modern build techniques will ensure the network is delivered quickly, with Cambridge City Council and local communities fully consulted to manage disruption and ensure a fast and successful roll-out. Residents are being kept informed through digital advertisements and mailings ahead of works commencing in their streets”.

Cambridge City Council has been approached for comment.

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