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Alternative UK Superfast Broadband ISPs See Significant Growth

Monday, Mar 26th, 2012 (2:21 pm) - Score 1,432

Telecoms analyst firm Point Topic reports that alternative UK network operators, such as Rutland Telecom and Call Flow Solutions, have managed to increased their residential customer base by 85% since the middle of 2011. The news suggests that some of the smaller operators are “beginning to find their niche” by helping to reach poorly connected rural areas and individual communities with superfast internet access.

Apparently altnet ISPs have so far delivered around 8,400 fibre optic based superfast broadband (24Mbps+) ISP connections (e.g. FTTP, FTTC, FTTB etc.) to related parts of the country. This may be “small fry“, especially compared with giants like BT and Virgin Media, but it’s still vital work and often brings faster access to communities which would “otherwise run the risk of being left without superfast broadband, at least for some years to come“.

Annelise Berendt, Senior Analyst at Point Topic, added:

There is evidence, including from BT, that take up of superfast services is highest in those areas previously experiencing poor speeds of 2Mbps or below, and this bodes well for those addressing such markets and aiming to make the business case stake up.

Players such as Call Flow Solutions and Rutland Telecom using sub loop unbundling to provide fibre-to-the-cabinet solutions are building solid customer bases in the areas in which they are active. That is in small but not necessarily very remote communities, which tend to be located some distance from their serving BT exchange, and which are often prepared to put money into network rollout themselves.

Local knowledge of potential demand and the geographical terrain, as well as being able to tap into local enthusiasm for broadband provision, are essential to getting these networks up and running. Indeed it is no surprise that several local authorities are recruiting ‘broadband champions’ to canvas support and demand registration for their Local Broadband Plans, and to feed back ideas from the ground up. It is also notable that new approaches to raising finance and negotiations with local land owners on wayleaves help to turn a desired deployment into a viable business venture.”

Point Topic goes on to praise business ISP Fluidata for its wholesale platform and a number of other projects, such as FibreSpeed’s affordable alternative fibre optic backhaul network in Wales and the NYnet solution in North Yorkshire (England), for helping to bring faster and more flexible fixed line and wireless connectivity solutions to remote communities.

The news is pleasing to read, especially at a time when many remain fearful that such projects might not survive in a market that is so dominated by a handful of major players. Clearly targeting areas where the market fails does still have its rewards, albeit on a much smaller scale.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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