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CityFibre has scoffed at BT's suggestion that Openreach is the UK's "digital champion".

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT, used the phrase earlier this week as he reaffirmed its commitment to investing in the UK's digital infrastructure.

He was speaking after Openreach confirmed that it would sound out communications providers on the viability of creating a full-fibre network in Britain.

A formal consultation looks set to be opened in the summer, with providers being asked to share their views on demand for Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology and the potential costs and benefits of rolling out the technology on a large scale.

However, CityFibre Chief Executive Greg Mesch has described the suggestion that Openreach is the country's digital champion as "laughable".

"It is responsible for the UK being stuck in the digital doldrums," he commented.

"It has fallen to CityFibre, an independent communications infrastructure builder, to lead the charge to deliver the UK’s full-fibre future, not Openreach."

Mr Mesch stated that CityFibre has been in consultation with the service provider community for more than three years.

Furthermore, he said it was CityFibre, Sky and TalkTalk that aimed to prove the viability of FTTP with a trial in York.

"It is now abundantly clear that infrastructure competition, supported by targeted regulation and government support, is the only mechanism that will guarantee the innovation and investment needed to catch up and compete with other countries," Mr Mesch continued.

Last month, CityFibre confirmed that the number of direct fibre-connected customer premises now stands at 3,962. This compares with 1,200 in 2015, while the number of new connections sold and acquired has gone up from 1,110 to 5,063 over the last year.

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