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New names enter the super-fast broadband fray

# 29 November 2011, 06:56 by Chris T

If you’ve never heard of the likes of CityFibre, Gigaclear and Call Flow Solutions, the chances are you’re about to.

While everyone who follows developments in the UK’s super-fast broadband infrastructure knows about BT Infinity and Virgin Media’s 100-meg offering, fewer are aware of some of the new players attracted to the market by the promise of Government funding for rural networks.

The most well-known of the new players, Fujitsu, has been making waves for months after announcing it had reached agreement with the likes of Virgin and TalkTalk, to sell capacity on its proposed rural network.

But away from the headlines, other, smaller operators are succeeding in attracting finance. And around the UK there are now more than 100 super-fast broadband partnerships, led by groups of local councils, actively pursuing projects on scales that vary from a single village to a wide region. And BT and Virgin Media are only involved in about 20% of these schemes.

Some surprisingly familiar names getting involved via Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the Government agency charged with distributing more than £500 million of funding for rural broadband projects, include Network Rail, Balfour Beatty and Thales.

“With the BDUK funding allocation process now well underway, and new sources of private sector investment coming forward, this all looks promising for superfast broadband Britain,” said Annelise Berendt of industry analyst firm Point Topic.

“But on the other hand from past experience, we know it takes a long time for investment, plans and network rollouts to turn into real customers.”

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