Broadband ethernet cable
Internet speeds in the UK will triple by 2021. iStock

Vodafone UK and CityFibre will spend £500m (€564m) bringing ultra-fast internet to one million UK homes by 2021.

Download speeds on the Gigabit Fibre network can reach as high as 1000Mbps. This would allow users to download a two-hour HD movie in less than 30 seconds. Work will begin in 2018 and aim to have the first phase completed by 2021. If successful, the deal can be extended to 2025 and allow for around four million more homes to receive the super-speed broadband.

CityFibre will build and operate the network and Vodafone will be given exclusive early rights. The first towns to receive the service will be announced in the coming months.

Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffery said the move would push Vodafone to the front of the broadband pack. "Vodafone is already playing the leading role in building the Gigabit Society across Europe by providing customers with high-speed, high-quality broadband," he said. "The UK has fallen far behind the rest of the world, trapped by the limited choice available on legacy networks. We look forward to working with CityFibre to build the Gigabit fibre network that the UK needs and deserves."

The network will triple maximum broadband speeds available now in the UK. Virgin Media's fibre broadband can reach download speeds of up to 300Mbps. The average broadband speed in the UK is just under 23Mbps.

CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch said the move is a major step to unlocking Britain's internet potential. "With this commitment from Vodafone, we have a partner with whom we can transform the digital capabilities of millions of homes and businesses and establish an unassailable wholesale infrastructure position across 20% of the UK."

Vodafone will not reveal pricing until 2018.