In a bid to bolster its plans to broaden high-speed broadband reach, UK’s CityFibre has successfully secured public funding to the tune of £318 million. The influx of substantial capital is earmarked for the rollout of fibre to approximately 218,000 homes and businesses across the UK.

The company is a recipient of three funding awards under the umbrella of the government’s Project Gigabit. This promising initiative is aimed at extending the reach of high-speed broadband to areas that historically have been difficult to access, with a projected budget of £5 billion. The trio of contracts specifically targets regions in Norfolk, Suffolk and Hampshire. As part of the agreement, CityFibre has been called upon to match a sum of £171 million, bringing the combined investment to approximately half a billion pounds.

Rolling out fibre is indeed a costly affair, especially in rural locations. This financial challenge is the central reason behind the implementation of Project Gigabit. Despite launching in August of last year, progress has been gradual with the first contract providing £6 million for coverage of 7,000 premises in North Dorset.

The recent awards to CityFibre have considerably bolstered the Project Gigabit coffers, more than doubling the funding allocated by the Building Digital UK (BDUK) thus far. Prior to this, the project has doled out a little over £270 million to eight regional broadband projects, including a £69 million contract to CityFibre targeting coverage of 45,000 premises in Cambridgeshire.

By gifting northwards of £300 million to CityFibre, it provides evidence that the project is gaining traction. However, it also signals the necessity of larger players stepping up to propel the project forward.

In an impressive commitment, CityFibre recently announced plans to reach half a million addresses across the three target counties. It has committed to expanding its coverage under its capability, with plans to provide fibre for an additional 283,000 homes as part of its broader 8 million UK homes rollout plan.

What sets CityFibre’s projected 8 million footprint apart is their focus on commercially viable homes and businesses. CityFibre is confident that the additional homes connected as a result of government funding would prove attractive to its ISP customers due to being the sole gigabit-capable infrastructure in the area.

CityFibre’s CEO, Greg Mesch, underscored the importance of these recent wins saying, “Securing three further Project Gigabit contracts firmly establishes CityFibre as an integral delivery partner to the government for rural connectivity.” CityFibre has already initiated planning work in its Project Gigabit contract locations and anticipates making the first connections early next year.

Hope is high that the government will provide the necessary extra funding, inching closer to their £5 billion ambitious figure. As it currently stands, that goal appears quite a distance away.