Preparations underway for the gigabit full-fibre broadband revolution

The Coronavirus pandemic has underlined the importance of a reliable internet connection. The UK’s predominantly copper communications network has proven its resilience – but is creaking.

As our demand for data continues to accelerate, the UK’s infrastructure urgently needs an upgrade which requires significant investment in full-fibre broadband. That is, fibre optic cable directly into a home or business.

Investment by Openreach – by far the largest owner of broadband infrastructure in the UK – has been stifled by government regulation in recent years.

Restrictions were placed on the prices Openreach can charge for their services to encourage uptake of broadband services. However, this had the opposite effect, disincentivising Openreach to invest in next-generation technology owing to the poor return on investment.

Internet service providers – like us – buy wholesale access to Openreach’s network to provide their services.

The market has become very competitive of late, with several challengers like CityFibre, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic identifying the gap in the market – and investing heavily in building their own full-fibre networks.

As a result, Ofcom – the government regulator – recently announced that they will remove their regulatory price caps, allowing Openreach to charge higher wholesale prices and increase investment. In response Openreach have said they will “build their full-fibre network like fury”.

It’s fair to say the gigabit revolution has already begun and great progress is being made.

What next?

Openreach have committed to ramp up deployment of full-fibre services to over three million premises per year. This will provide vital next-generation connectivity for homes and business right across the UK, with coverage of an estimated 20 million properties by the mid to late 2020s.

Meanwhile, other competitors are also building their networks – CityFibre are building an extensive full-fibre network across the North East, Teesside, Yorkshire, and the North West.

As an independent internet service provider with our own core network, we have access to fibre broadband infrastructure owned by both Openreach and CityFibre.

Providing full-fibre gigabit services is not just about having the physical fibre infrastructure in the ground; but having the right capacity within the core network too.

Our team have been working very hard over the last 6 months to upgrade our core network capacity to allow us to handle faster services.

We’ve increased interconnect capacity to our wholesale broadband suppliers by 900% and upgraded our broadband termination equipment to new next-generation Cisco hardware.

We operate our own independent backbone network with over 20 points of presence across the UK, using sophisticated systems to constantly monitor our network and the service we deliver to clients.

The long-awaited gigabit revolution is upon us and we are primed and ready to take your business internet connection to the next level, providing the superfast speeds needed for increased efficiency.