Work to resume on £15m project to give thousands ultrafast broadband

CityFibre has appointed new contractors to resume a £15m investment to install full fibre broadband to 30,000 homes and...

CityFibre has appointed new contractors to resume a £15m investment to install full fibre broadband to 30,000 homes and businesses in Lowestoft. Picture: CityFibre - Credit: CityFibre

A £15m digital transformation project is set to resume in a coastal town in the coming weeks.

New contractors have been appointed to install ultrafast broadband in Lowestoft as part of a multi-million pound scheme.

With works to deliver full fibre broadband extensions in Lowestoft starting in January 2020, the project will see ultrafast Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband installed to 30,000 homes and businesses in the town.

Overseen by CityFibre, they appointed Lite Access Technologies UK as network construction partner for the Lowestoft project.

But after building work had been carried out in the Harbour and Normanston areas, works stopped in November last year after the civil engineering firm cited that they had “temporarily suspended UK operations” due to the “ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The Canadian-based company, with an office on Newcombe Road in Lowestoft, had also been working on the broadband roll-out in Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge.

With CityFibre confirming in December that they were looking for alternative network construction partners to continue the projects, FRP Advisory Trading Limited were appointed as administrators of Lite Access Technologies UK in February.

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Earlier this month, a statement on the Lite Access Technologies Inc website confirmed that the Lowestoft, Bury St. Edmunds and Cambridge contracts "were terminated in December 2020." 

CityFibre has now appointed new contractors to replace Lite Access in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds, and the projects are set to resume.

Charles Kitchin, CityFibre’s City Manager for Lowestoft, said: "We had a number of issues with the previous contractors amid concerns about the standard of their work and also the quality of the work.

Charles Kitchin of CityFibre. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Charles Kitchin of CityFibre. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

"We have very high standards, and these standards were not met as things did not go the way we wanted with the previous contract.

"That contract has now ended and I am pleased we have a new contractor in place - Pod-Trak Ltd - a good company, who will be finishing the Lowestoft build.

"I want to reassure people in Lowestoft that we are going to be re-starting soon."

Over the next month Pod-Trak will be "repairing some defects" - including grass verges - on works that had previously been started in Lowestoft, with the "unfinished areas" being completed in April.

Mr Kitchin said: "Residents will start seeing work going on in the coming weeks and then we will get going fully in May, focusing on the new parts of town as we reach 30,000 properties in Lowestoft as part of a £15m investment.

He added the works, which will put Lowestoft "firmly in the top tier of all UK towns and cities for connectivity" are due to be completed in the town "by the end of June 2022."

Mr Kitchin said: "This is a fantastic investment in Lowestoft, and the other good news is that in the next few weeks another company, Air Broadband, will be launching services in Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich."

An £8 million digital transformation project in Bury St Edmunds started in March last year, and was due to be completed by the end of 2021.

But after works were halted, a new contractor has been appointed - Telec Networks Ltd - to finish the project that will eventually reach 20,000 properties when it is completed around March next year.

Work in Ipswich has been continuing as normal, with VolkerSmart Technologies contracted to deliver the CityFibre project there.

In Ipswich, Zen Internet launched services on the CityFibre network a couple of weeks ago. 

If residents are interested in full fibre broadband and you would like to know if and when they can connect visit and put your postcode into the postcode checker on the home page.

Lite Access Technologies and FRP Advisory Trading Limited have both been contacted for comment.

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