Vodafone and CityFibre are capitalising on the backlash tBT’s most recent price hikes, announcing plans to build their own fibre-to-the-premises network.

The long-term deal will see CityFibre build and run the new network, with Vodafone securing itself a period of exclusivity to provide ultra-fast consumer broadband services.

Vodafone, which claims the move is ‘one of the most significant developments in UK telecommunications since the launch of ADSL broadband around 17 years ago’, and says that by using CityFibre’s ‘extremely fast and reliable’ optical fibre network, it will be able to deliver gigabit-capable fibre to up to 5 million UK homes and businesses by 2025.

The first phase of the scheme, which aims to deploy fibre to 1 million premises, will start in early-2019 and be ‘largely complete’ by 2021, with the second phase of connecting the remaining 4 million premises set to be completed by 2025.

BT, meanwhile, aims to roll out FTTP connections to two million premises by 2020.

In an undisguised dig at BT, which largely uses twisted-pair copper cabling to connect customers’ homes to the rest of the network, Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: “The UK has fallen far behind the rest of the world, trapped by the limited choice available on legacy networks.

“We look forward to working with CityFibre to build the gigabit fibre network that the UK needs and deserves.”

CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch added: “This agreement will unlock the UK’s full fibre future and is a major step forward in delivering our vision for a Gigabit Britain.

“With this commitment from Vodafone, we have a partner with whom we can transform the digital capabilities of millions of homes and businesses and establish an unassailable wholesale infrastructure position across 20 per cent of the UK broadband market.”

Vodafone’s announcement comes after CityFibre in July revealed plans to construct a new 1Gbps FTTP broadband network for five to 10 UK towns and cities.