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The number of high-speed broadband connections is set to grow from nine million in 2015 to 15.5 million by 2020, new estimates suggest.

According to IHS Technology, this 70 per cent increase is set to be driven largely by an influx of new players in the market.

Many of these are set to use fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, which contrasts with the approach being taken by BT across the country, which is expanding superfast services using VDSL (FTTC) and G.Fast.

CityFibre was identified as one organisation that is set to increase its coverage area, from 15 per cent of UK households to 20 per cent by 2020.

Fiona Vanier, Senior Analyst at IHS Technology. commented: "This means that internet service providers looking to move into certain towns or cities may have the option of choosing CityFibre as a wholesaler instead of BT.

"Key players in the UK broadband market, such as Sky and TalkTalk, already recognise CityFibre as a viable alternative to BT Openreach, and a number of significant agreements have been signed with CityFibre over the last 12 to 18 months.”

CityFibre currently owns and operates 618km of local access networks in over 50 towns and cities across the UK.

IHS said the company is currently focusing on exploiting its existing networks in small and medium-sized towns and cities.

This, it said, has already led to six gigabit city projects commencing in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Coventry, Peterborough and York.

IHS added that internet service providers operating in these cities can offer "attractive alternative high-speed products completely independent from BT Openreach and in direct competition with BT Infinity".

Gigaclear was identified as another big contributor to the increase in connections, with IHS saying its focus on rural areas in particular shows it has "found its niche in the market".

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