The Chief Operating Officer of Sheffield-based UK ISP ASK4, Ross Bray, has told ISPreview.co.uk that the new owner of Yorkshire’s financially damaged Digital Region broadband network must turn it into a “credible” and “competitive .. alternative to the standard BT product set” if it is to survive. BT is one of those bidding on the tender for control.
Unlike most ISPs ASK4 began life in 2000 with the primary purpose of delivering telecommunications services to multiple-tenanted buildings, with a focus on student accommodation and businesses. Since then it’s continued to expand and now delivers superfast broadband and phone services to over 100,000 students in properties across the country.
In February 2012 ASK4 hit the headlines after it stepped in to save the customers of a little known South Yorkshire ISP, RiPWiRE, that had suddenly ceased trading after experiencing a host of “commercial and technical issues” with the Digital Region network (here).
Suffice to say that ASK4 has somewhat of a unique perspective on the current broadband market and Digital Region’s potential fate. ISPreview.co.uk has politely pulled in Ross Bray to give us his thoughts on these issues and all of the years other main developments.
Q1. Ask4 has traditionally focused upon more specific business or local residential connectivity solutions, such as by deploying superfast broadband services into apartment blocks. As a result your service has so far appeared to resist becoming a more mainstream / national broadband ISP. What is the reason for this approach?
Ask4 was originally setup with the vision of being different to the mainstream service providers. When the business was setup DSL services were just coming online, and we wanted to be ahead of the game, we were well aware of the limitations of the existing copper infrastructure and believed that the future was with Fibre based services. Since then we have been able to offer a much higher level of service to our customers than could be expected from traditional xDSL services, we’re offering business class internet service at residential prices and we would not want to dilute that offering.
We continue to look at projects that compliment our MTU offerings, that is one of the reasons we got involved with Digital Region and Digital Teesdale. But we have no plans to become yet another DSL provider at present.