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Dorset and Wiltshire ISP Wessex Internet Boosts Fibre Optic Capacity

Monday, November 3rd, 2014 (4:34 pm) - Score 631

Rural ISP Wessex Internet, which offers superfast wireless broadband (30Mbps+) and some ultrafast (100Mbps) fibre optic services to homes and businesses in parts of North Dorset and South West Wiltshire (Southern England), is about to commission a new Internet backhaul link that will more than double their capacity and support the on-going “influx” of new customers.

Wessex Internet’s service appears to have become quite popular with locals, so much so that nobody has taken advantage of their money back guarantee for new installations and the ISPs client retention record remains at 100%. But they’re also planning for the future and to take on the state aid (BDUK) fuelled roll-out of BTOpenreach’s rival FTTC services.

Andrew Skipsey, MD of Wessex Internet, told ISPreview.co.uk:

With the addition of the backhaul we’ll be able to take on the telecoms giants who will eventually market in and around our towns and villages when most of the new green cabinets are eventually made live. Until then, we know we have to keep up our pace of geographic growth to get Superfast connectivity to businesses and communities who can only receive dire speeds today.

Unfortunately, because we receive no grant money we have to carefully manage each area of growth. We know that as time has passed, we have more than proved the quality and value of our service, most clients are making significant savings as well.

We believe we are genuinely a better option than the services delivered by old copper wire where unless you pay extra, your service might take days to fix. We design in technical resilience and every home and business can be remotely accessed to resolve technical matters quickly should they arise.”

Overall the ISP has now installed around 75kms of fibre optic cable and continues to roll-out more.

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8 Responses
  1. Avatar GNewton says:

    “to take on the telecoms giants who will eventually market in and around our towns and villages when most of the new green cabinets are eventually made live”

    Another case of taxpayer-funded competition (BDUK VDSL) against alternative network providers?

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      So what would you rather have then, no alternative networks or no rollouts using BDUK funding?

      Either way you’ll disappoint some people or very very many people. Competing networks usually do meet up. I do wonder whether you would be complaining if somehow Fujitsu had won all of the BDUK funding and managed to rollout lots of FTTP (never gonna happen) same complaints then, still BDUK funded after all.

      No…no complaints at all I reckon…

    2. Avatar DTMark says:

      I would imagine that the reason for attempting to capture VDSL customers is one of:

      1. They have put in their own investment and gained subscribers, and want to keep them

      2. They can offer something VDSL does not e.g. speed

      For instance in areas where the connected cab is on the edge of the village like here, even 3G wouldn’t have any trouble beating its performance at some locations. But then that would imply that VDSL was/is the wrong technology.

    3. Avatar GNewton says:

      DTMark: Yes, that’s understandable. My question was simply this: If Wessex Internet Fibre was there first, there shouldn’t be taxpayer funded VDSL in the same area?

    4. Avatar DTMark says:

      I’d thought that, at an early stage in the BDUK process, wireless connectivity was pretty well ruled out on the basis of sporadic performance and no known future upgrade path.

      So BDUK set about deploying VDSL, with sporadic performance and no known future upgrade path.

      But because wireless “isn’t on the map”, BDUK can quite happily overbuild wireless networks even if the resultant performance is worse than what was there before.. because wireless isn’t “NGA” and VDSL is (pure comedy).

      Anyone know?

  2. Avatar Raindrops says:

    “So BDUK set about deploying VDSL, with sporadic performance and no known future upgrade path.”

    Thats still the path is it not?

    “But because wireless “isn’t on the map”, BDUK can quite happily overbuild wireless networks even if the resultant performance is worse than what was there before.. because wireless isn’t “NGA” and VDSL is (pure comedy).”

    Same for mobile and you are living proof that delivers far greater upload rates than any rubbish BT VDSL does.

  3. The old topic of overbuilding.

    We’ve been very disappointed with the BDUK OMR (Open Market Review) process. The problems have been scapegoated onto the EU for dictating the state aid rules and preventing wireless (even FTTM) from being classed NGA (according to our local council and Ed Vaizey). Difficult for us to accept this given they are the ones signing the cheques to BT.

    The government more generally wants/needs SME companies like Wessex Internet to succeed; employ local people, help local businesses & communities and invest without any tax payer subsidies for the economic health of this country.
    So this is what we have done and others across the UK.
    After all didn’t a report say that for every £1 spent on broadband means £20 to the economy? https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-benefits-of-broadband
    If this £1 is privately funded and not tax payer funded, then we’ll be saving a few £s on gvmt debt interest surely?

    A nice way to reward the likes of Wessex Internet is by funding BT £bns to compete and overbuild in areas that are already served by superfast BB. Areas where the market hasn’t failed. Areas where there is competition. Genuine superfast broadband supported by a local company. Privately funded. No taxpayer subsidy required.
    It’s also by preventing rural villages access to some ‘small change’, in an open/transparent/competitive way, such as a few low £1000s, to help someone like Wessex Internet roll out a superfast solution where even private & innovative operators find a tad uneconomic to fund outright but neighbour areas we do serve.
    BDUK would rather spend up to £1500 per home passed, (**passed** not connected), with a with a BT solution here. Some of these homes in the countryside have no desire to be connected to superfast broadband, so there’s a lot of money being wasted potentially.

    The fact that we have some 75km of fibre (and growing), most masts connected back to our core network at multi-1 Gb/s, and an increasing number of FTTH customers means nothing to BDUK’s OMR.
    We don’t exist on the map.
    The map is white.
    BT must be funded.

    The OMR was flawed process and is wasting precious tax payer’s money.

    Fair enough the BDUK process for areas where local market competition and solutions don’t exist. Here the market has failed and state intervention is probably the only choice for the time being, but what about areas where the market hasn’t failed?

    Dorset CC are also interestingly and controversially prioritising the roll-out of the BT tax payer funded broadband upgrade to areas we serve with up to 50 Mb/s, compared to areas we clearly don’t and where communities are suffering with slow speeds. If isn’t incredible controversial then I don’t know what is!? Another example of the system being broken?

    People can cry sour grapes on us because we don’t like the competition, but it’s more than this. We will happily compete against BT and have many reasons to believe that we will still secure new customers.
    We’ve invested privately into a network operating in rural, ‘uneconomically viable (to BT)’ areas.
    We’re a SME and doing this! BT are a £bn public company and haven’t invested in these areas because they are deemed too uneconomic on the other hand.
    Only when they receive £bn’s from yours truly that they are suddenly interested in these areas.
    This is what in my opinion is wrong.

    Matthew Skipsey
    Technical Director
    Wessex Internet

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      Thank you for your comments which confirms what we suspected all along: taxpayer-funded competetion in areas already served by nextgen broadband by an alternative network company.

      I know of quite a few similar examples in Essex and Norfolk.

      In Essex there are cases where up-to £2400.00 per VDSL line (given a good uptake, might be even more) are spent per VDSL line. This was brought to the attention of the Essex CC but they are simply hiding behind confidentiality clauses with BT, even where taxpayers money is spent. This lack of information and transparency can prevent local campaigns to get enough users organised so other telecom companies can build fibre networks in small towns and other poorly served areas.

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