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UPDATE5 UK Wireless Broadband ISP AB Internet Goes into Administration

Friday, May 19th, 2017 (3:17 pm) by Mark Jackson (Score 2,799)
ab internet

Customers of Lincolnshire-based fixed wireless broadband ISP AB Internet have today been advised by the company that it has gone into administration, with the aim being to sell the business as a going concern. The news follows recent network outages.

Last month saw rival wireless ISP Quickline announce that they had acquired part of AB Internet’s “network and customer base in Newark, Boston and Peterborough” for an undisclosed sum (here), although this still left the provider with a fair amount of coverage in other parts of the United Kingdom. At the time AB Internet denied that it was selling up.

Some readers may also recall that AB Internet was involved with one of Broadband Delivery UK’s state aid supported Market Test Pilots, which saw them deploy a 50Mbps network to cover 1,600 rural premises in Monmouthshire. Likewise they’ve helped to setup various community broadband networks in Scotland, among other places.

Suffice to say that over the years AB Internet has managed to build up a fair reputation for themselves, but all that now seems to be in doubt.

AB Internet Statement

Following recent network outages and in order to best preserve the connectivity to all our clients, on the 18th of April AB Internet served formal notification of its intent to place the company into administration with an aim to sell the company as a going concern, either as a whole, or, as a number of separate and logical geographic elements and so transfer our customers seamlessly to a new network operator.

Any potential purchasers should contact AB Internet’s appointed Administrators, James Patchett and Martin Armstrong of Turpin Barker Armstrong by email to administrators@abinternet.co.uk .

Details are somewhat thin on the ground, although there’s a risk that AB Internet’s troubles could also reflect badly on other Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) providers with similar models. The Government has recently started to give more support to FWA providers. Hopefully a buyer will soon be found.

UPDATE 7:08pm

Spectrum Internet, which is a separate ISP with some infrastructure in the same regions, has issued the following comment: “[We] are sorry to hear the news regarding AB Internet and the distress this may be causing customers. We have been made aware of the situation only recently. Spectrum does have considerable networking assets within the South Wales area and we are actively looking to see if there is anything we can do to help and potentially maintain the network in Monmouthshire and South Wales.

We are happy to hear from customers and stakeholders to identify the most urgent needs. At this stage if anyone would like to discuss the matter further please email us enquiries@spectruminternet.com as we will be sending out further updates via email as well.”

UPDATE 20th May 2017

The Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in Scotland has issued the following statement on AB Internet’s decision, which affects two of their state aid supported projects: Loch Tay Internet and Gigaplus Argyll.

HIE Statement

We are disappointed by the news that AB Internet, the infrastructure supplier for two community-led broadband projects in Scotland, has entered into administration.

The Scottish Government and Community Broadband Scotland recognise the urgent nature of this situation, and stand ready to assist in ensuring continuity of service for the communities we are supporting. CBS is working to put contingency plans in place that will minimise disruption for the affected groups at Loch Tay and GigaPlus Argyll.

UPDATE 23rd May 2017

The following update has been posted on AB Internet’s website, which claims that full service could be restored “within a few days” and that’s despite on-going attempts to find an ISP to take on their network. Mind you some people have now been without a working service for around two weeks and they’ve heard similar time-scales before.

Status Update

AB Internet is now engaging with several internet service providers to take over the service across the UK and to ensure service continuity for the customers during the administration process. Priority has been given to the small number of customers unlucky enough to be in an area with service interruption and we are anticipating full service restoration to all customers within a few days.

UPDATE 25th May 2017

There’s a new update from AB Internet.

AB Internet Statement

A quick update to reassure customers who are waiting to be transferred over to their new service providers, we are in negotiations with several regional operators to ensure a seamless transition without compromising the availability of your service.

The last few remaining customers who are in areas where there is still a disruption in service are now our highest priority and we are anticipating reconnection within the new few days. More information will follow. Please bear with us whilst we transfer your service to your new service provider, we are not anticipating any disruption to your internet connection or service during this process.

Separately a report on the Abergavenny Chronicle includes a quote from Monmouthshire County Council.

Bob Greenland, MCC Cabinet Member for Enterprise, said:

“We recognise that some residents have been adversely affected by AB Internet’s intention to place the company into administration and so the council has intervened.

We are working directly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport body Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Welsh Government and others to ensure the continuation of the existing service until a new buyer is found.

AB Internet has not kept the council updated about its actions. The pilot scheme was funded by BDUK. No money was provided by the council.

We will continue to work closely with all partners regarding the long term viability of the infrastructure. Meanwhile, we hope that the company can be sold as a going concern and its customers suffer minimum inconvenience.”

UPDATE 30th May 2017

Another update cropped up just before the bank holiday.

26/05/17 – 16:30

Whilst 95% of the AB Internet UK wide infrastructure remains operational, we are continuing to work as fast as we can to restore services to the last few affected customers. Please see below for specific updates on local network segments.

The Black Isle: We are working with BT to provision temporary backhaul to reconnect the service to all users as soon as possible whilst in dialogue with bidding service providers. We continue to expedite these works and are receiving full cooperation from all parties involved.

Grosmont & Cross Ash: Despite recent press claims, the network infrastructure near the border of England and Wales has been fully operational throughout this process with the exception of only one infrastructure site near Grosmont. We are working on a resolution to this as fast as possible and have been engaging with local authorities and the local community to affect a fix as fast as we can.

Goldcliff: As with the Black Isle, we are working with BT to install temporary infrastructure for us so we can re-enable services to the small number of affected users near the mouth of the River Severn. We will continue to work over the bank holiday weekend to restore the last few connections as fast as possible.

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10 Responses
  1. Fred the Red

    Pity yet another Alternative Network provider fails, however hardly surprising since AB have been not been focused for a while and shot off to Scotland to build networks and ignored/ lost the customers that got them started in Wales and Lincs. POOR STRATEGY= Dont always flock to what is new and shiny and forget us customers that backed you in the early days.

    • Richard

      As one of the people in Scotland to whom they were pitching, I have to say that their approach gave every indication of running on a wing and a prayer. Local projects with which they have been involved have not generated good feedback.

    • 3G Infinity

      Chased the grants, ie money

  2. craski

    Hopefully for the existing customers with no other alternative somebody can make it work. Its one thing to be in not spot but to have been in a not spot and had a better service for a while and then lose it, that would be worse!

    • Russ

      I am currently keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t go from having been a not spot, to a good AB Internet spot back to a not spot!

      There isn’t really a viable alternative for me in North Wales – Broadband is 1.3 down 0.8 up Max, Satellite adds too much latency for realtime voice & video – not to mention potentially creating headaches for VPN’s; all of which I use extensively through my work.

      Fingers crossed someone steps in and helps resolve this crisis soon!

    • peter wagenaar

      That is exactly the position we find ourselves in! We are located in North wales and are reliant on a transmitter on Hope Mountain. We are now stuck in a not spot with no alternative. We have been without service for nearly 2 weeks now and have heard nothing from abinternet. I cant help but ask where has the government money for rolling out rural broadband gone? I cant believe the directors of abinternet will be leaving the company empty handed….

  3. Nik Bridge

    I had the same issue when xwavia who also offered wireless broadband in North and Mid Wales went bust due to what appeared to be lank of funding and poor behaviour from the directors.

    We tired Carrier Wales and a company from Mold , both of which we expensive and technically useless !

    Eventually Xwavia was acquired by ITS Technology Group that which after some initial problems have been great . Prices are competitive and we have not had any outages now for over 15months.

    Local support from Welshpool and Chester has been good and I now understand they have around 500 customers in the area. Worth a call.

  4. Dave Hastings

    Would be interesting to see how much money was spent and milestone met for the HIE networks and for that matter any other grant funded projects.

    Mark can you get this info?

  5. Mike Davies

    Looks like Xwavia / ITS Technology Group may not be far behind them! Another CCJ last week.

    https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/08786229/charges

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