CityFibre Scales Its Data Estate to Boost Operational Efficiency and Power Future Growth

With Snowflake, the U.K.’s largest independent full-fiber platform processes and analyzes large, integrated data sets to optimize its future network and deliver next-gen connectivity.

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London, United Kingdom

The right data ecosystem to fuel rapid growth

CityFibre is the U.K.’s largest independent full-fiber platform. It provides carrier-neutral digital infrastructure to its wholesale customers and enables ultra-fast, reliable and future-proof broadband, ethernet and 5G services to serve homes and businesses — from schools to hospitals. CityFibre is trusted by major Internet Service Providers (ISP) and mobile operators, including TalkTalk, Three, Vodafone and Zen, as well as a new generation of smaller regional ISPs.  

CityFibre has grown rapidly over the past few years, creating new digital infrastructure to replace the U.K.’s legacy copper networks.  

But when it comes to data, the company found that rapid growth can quickly outstrip data infrastructure capabilities.“From network planning and tracking to end-to-end order management, data is imperative to our organization, and allows us to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions,” says Piyush Shandilya, data architect at CityFibre. “But our pace of growth created lots of manual data sets over time, which we found difficult to combine for richer insights.”

Guided by its “right first time” mission, CityFibre wanted to set the expectation that whether minimizing downtime or hitting customer expectations, it would strive to resolve issues at the first point of contact. CityFibre is also an integral delivery partner for rural connectivity under the government’s £5 billion Project Gigabit program — which requires a series of compliance obligations, including accurate and timely reporting capabilities.  

Achieving all this required creating a data ecosystem that could bridge the gaps between different lines of business and provide a single source of truth to support faster, more accurate decision-making.

Story Highlights
  • Event-based architecture:  CityFibre achieved its goal of event-based architecture, thanks to Snowflake's ability to integrate with systems such as Salesforce and ServiceNow.

  • Snowpark:  CityFibre uses Snowpark together with Amazon Web Services (AWS) SageMaker to eliminate programming language barriers that can hamper production for machine learning products and workflows.

  • Seamless collaboration:  By creating a rules-based infrastructure, the company has gone from just one line of business having access to its data infrastructure to eight in just 18 months.

A single source of information that ticks all the boxes

Realizing the constraints CityFibre faced with its existing data environment, Shandilya set about evaluating several data warehouses based on mission-critical criteria. “Any new data environment needed to be instantly scalable with zero maintenance, have separate compute and storage, conform to strict security requirements and balance high performance with the simplicity of a single cloud,” says Shandilya.

Snowflake’s Data Cloud hit all our demands, including the ability to integrate with other key systems — such as Salesforce and ServiceNow — straight away. We were also confident it would help us achieve our goal of creating an event-based architecture.”

Piyush Shandilya
Data Architect, CityFibre

Working with Snowflake implementation partner Prodapt, CityFibre accelerated its infrastructure migration while benefiting from industry best practices.  

Data processing and analysis at scale

For a growing company like CityFibre, a scalable data environment is critical to achieving the right insights and agility to pre-empt market demand and act quickly. The organization has now reached a point where large data volumes can be ingested in real-time — including from several third-party sources that make up CityFibre’s wider data ecosystem.  

CityFibre now ingests 2TB of data each day, and Shandilya predicts this will scale to 1TB per hour in the near future. “We could only ingest one data source on our old infrastructure, which was very time consuming and created a huge bottleneck,” says Shandilya. “Now, we ingest, process and analyze 29 sources at once. And while transforming data used to be a very manual process for us, we’ve simplified our extract, transform and load (ETL) process to be much more efficient.”  

CityFibre has also automated its reporting processes. So, while many of its competitors still rely on manual reporting methods, CityFibre has already automated compliance reporting for a key customer.

Seamless data sharing that keeps everyone on the same page

CityFibre has also transformed its approach to data sharing. By creating a rules-based infrastructure, the company has gone from just one line of business having access to its data infrastructure to eight in just 18 months.  

This consistency between teams means that everyone now works from the same source of truth, making data more accurate and, above all, secure. CityFibre can now also ingest and share highly sensitive data that’s critical to the company’s operations and planning. “Before Snowflake, we couldn’t encrypt and ingest personally identifiable information (PII) or perform data subject requests (DSR),” says Shandilya. “Snowflake’s end-to-end encryption means we can apply governance in a way that’s appropriate for a critical infrastructure organization.”  

“CityFibre needed a scalable tool that could handle lots of data,” says Shandilya. “And in our industry, we would have been in trouble if we hadn’t found one.” From high processing speeds and automated scaling to transparent costs born out of separate storage and compute, CityFibre can now better serve its business needs while driving network growth and customer satisfaction.

Cityfibre pull quote image

“Snowflake’s Data Cloud is instant. It gives us the confidence to know we can ingest any data type at any time, and it’s helped us reduce costs in the process.”

Piyush Shandilya
Data Architect, CityFibre

CityFibre also benefits from system integrations with other critical third-party data platforms that help give the company a competitive edge when it comes to data-driven insights. For example, the company uses Snowpark in Snowflake’s Data Cloud together with Amazon Web Services (AWS) SageMaker to eliminate programming language barriers that can hamper production for machine learning products and workflows.

Harnessing data as a strategic asset

Looking to the future, CityFibre is focused on growth, with further data integration and innovation at the heart of its strategy. “Our next goal is to integrate all our network data in Snowflake,” says Shandilya. “This will help us fulfilL our service level agreement obligations to our customers, enabling us to produce reports in just minutes rather than several hours.”  

Shandilya and his team are also exploring how CityFibre can use its geographic information system (GIS) data to act as a master network blueprint to optimize future cable routes and even predict external factors that could affect its current and future network layout.  

The company will also take advantage of unstructured data processing in Snowflake’s Data Cloud, allowing it to gain deeper revenue leakage insights and produce quicker compliance reports for central government on a far greater scale than before — a key requirement of its work building the next generation of critical national infrastructure.  

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