The difference between Openreach and CityFibre

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The Short Answer: 

Openreach and CityFibre are leading the UK's digital infrastructure transformation by installing fibre optic cables nationwide. Fibre broadband offers lightning-fast speeds, and enhanced reliability, and is less affected by distance compared to copper cables. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) are two types of fibre broadband services, with FTTP offering superior speeds and reliability. 

While Openreach focuses on migrating the existing copper cable infrastructure, CityFibre operates as an alternative network provider. FTTP is emerging as the new standard for business broadband, empowering local businesses and unlocking their digital potential. However, FTTP availability is still limited. 

Choosing between FTTP and Ethernet depends on factors such as bandwidth requirements, voice and data integration, reliability needs, and geographical location. Fibre Ethernet offers dedicated, uncontended connections, while FTTP tends to be more cost-effective but lacks guaranteed maximum speeds and SLAs.

The Long Answer: 

Openreach and CityFibre, two leading companies in the UK, are spearheading the transformation of the country's digital infrastructure. With the Big Switch-Off scheduled for 2025, they are working tirelessly to install fibre optic cables nationwide. This transition marks a pivotal moment as all copper lines will be permanently switched off, giving way to faster and more reliable broadband connections. By unlocking the digital potential of entire communities, this ambitious endeavour aims to revolutionise the way businesses operate and thrive in the UK.

Why Choose a Fibre Optic Connection for Your Business?

  • Lightning-Fast Speeds:
  • In today's fast-paced digital landscape, businesses cannot afford slow internet connections. Fibre broadband offers significantly faster download and upload speeds compared to traditional ADSL services that utilize copper wires. While ADSL2+ provides an average download speed of around 10Mbps, fibre broadband can deliver speeds up to a staggering 1000Mbps for downloads and 115Mbps for uploads. Say goodbye to frustrating delays and hello to seamless operations throughout the entire working day.
  • Impervious to Distance:
  • Unlike copper cables, fibre optic cables transmit information using light through a glass core. This fundamental difference makes fibre optic connections thousands of times faster and far less susceptible to degradation over distance. Whether your business is located in the heart of a city or a remote area, you can enjoy consistent, high-speed internet access without compromise.
  • Enhanced Reliability:
  • Fibre cables are not only faster but also more durable than their copper counterparts. Electrical signals are vulnerable to interference and environmental factors, whereas fibre optic signals remain resilient and stable. By investing in fibre broadband, your business can enjoy a reliable and consistent connection, minimising downtime and maximising productivity.

(read more about fibre optic and ADSL speeds)

Fibre broadband for your business

Fibre cables have a glass core, allowing information to be transmitted using light. This makes it thousands of times faster, less affected by distance, and more durable than the electrical signals used in copper cables. (read more about fibre cable here)

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC):

  • FTTC involves a combination of fibre and copper connections. Fibre links the telephone exchange to the roadside cabinet, while the final connection to your business premises is achieved using copper cables. This configuration can provide download speeds of up to 76Mbps and upload speeds of 19Mbps, offering a considerable improvement over traditional ADSL services.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP):

  • FTTP, on the other hand, eliminates copper lines altogether by connecting the exchange directly to your business premises using fibre cables. This pure fibre connection unlocks the full potential of ultrafast broadband, offering download speeds of up to 1000Mbps and upload speeds of 115Mbps. While FTTP requires new infrastructure installation, its unmatched speed and reliability make it the superior choice for businesses. However, FTTP isn’t yet available everywhere. See what's available for you with our connectivity checker: Fill out the form or Click Here to find out more!

(Read more about FTTC and FTTC here)

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The future of ultrafast broadband

FTTP is quickly emerging as the new standard for business broadband.

Embracing full fibre connectivity not only empowers local businesses but also unlocks their digital potential. As a CityFibre in Northampton partner with CityFibre, BTT is strategically aligned with the goal of creating over 60 Gigabit Cities across the UK. This ambitious endeavour, estimated to cost £2.5 billion, is set to transform the digital landscape and drive economic growth

(read more about how broadband can benefit your business) 

What’s the difference between Openreach and CityFibre?

Openreach, responsible for the UK's existing copper cable infrastructure, is leading the migration to fibre broadband. By 2025, it aims to provide FTTP coverage to approximately 15 million premises, with an ambitious milestone of 4 million premises by March 2021. 

In contrast, CityFibre operates as an alternative network (AltNet) provider, aiming to cover 8 million premises with FTTP by 2025. While CityFibre may be the sole FTTP provider in certain areas, multiple FTTP providers can coexist in others, fostering competition and innovation.

In November 2019 CityFibre launched an industry-wide consultation about the role of the alternative FTTP infrastructure, especially emphasising the need to make it easy for users to switch between networks.

More about our partner City Fibre:

CityFibre wants internet service providers (ISPs) of all sizes to have a say in what will be needed to support legacy services on the new networks, the process for mass migration of customers, and how to help customers to change providers.

This month CityFibre announced a further £1.5 billion investment, with construction contracts for FTTP in 27 towns and cities and around three million premises. CityFibre says that it is moving ahead with construction plans for more than five million premises in 66 towns and cities, all of which are expected to be underway by summer 2021. There are also plans for another round of tenders for contracts to cover a further 3 million premises that would keep the programme on track to achieve its Gigabit City target by 2025.

This month has also seen Ofcom launch a further consultation about plans for the regulation of broadband, mobile and business connections from April 2021 to March 2026. The government’s communications watchdog says its aim is to create an environment that will encourage investment in ultrafast broadband for all parts of the UK as well as protect customers.


The ongoing transition from copper to fibre optic connections in the UK is a game-changer for businesses. Fibre broadband offers lightning-fast speeds, unbeatable reliability, and the flexibility to cater to the unique needs of businesses in various locations. With Openreach and CityFibre at the forefront of this digital revolution, the UK is poised to unlock its full digital potential and create a thriving ecosystem for businesses. Embrace the power of fibre optic connections and propel your business into the future of ultrafast broadband.

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