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Interview – Hyperoptic Talks UK 1000Mbps Broadband Coverage, TV and Uptake

Monday, November 10th, 2014 (2:04 am) - Score 10,027

3. At present Hyperoptic tend to focus on apartment blocks of 80 or more dwellings but you’ve also spoken about connecting smaller buildings in the future. Just how small do you think is feasible for your future model and what needs to change in order to make that possible?

ANSWER:

As the business grows, we are able to connect smaller developments as well. We started by targeting developments with 80 units; this has now fallen to 50. In fact, the smallest building we have gone into is China Wharf, which has only 18 homes.

Our aim is to connect as many buildings as possible and we are always investigating different technical approaches to make connecting smaller sites viable. When we are considering smaller buildings, we look for strong registered interest from the residents, or an interest in taking the service for the entire building.

We are currently focusing on Rotherhithe as a test area for viability of connecting smaller buildings. Based on success there, we can roll that out to other areas in urban not-spots.

4. What’s the situation today in terms of total homes passed, total buildings connected and uptake (%)?

ANSWER:

As outlined above, we will soon reach 75,000 homes and we are continuing to hit our goals for uptake. We are very excited and encouraged with the level of uptake we are seeing in our sites – the residents understand and appreciate the value of symmetrical true fibre broadband and are our biggest champions in getting our service installed.

5. Hyperoptic currently aims to pass 80,000 homes in as many as 10 new UK cities by the end of 2014 and in the longer term there’s a goal of 500,000 homes by 2018. Can you tell us how you go about deciding which cities to target next?

ANSWER:

We have already announced eleven new cities this year and are close to reaching 80,000 homes. Potential hyper-cities are prioritised based on consumer demand and overall suitability for our approach. We strongly encourage hyper-fans to register interest no matter which city they live in – we listen.

Recently there has been a huge amount of news about the rise of the gigabit cities, which has been great for educating the market. Consumers and businesses are realising that there is a better way – so they are rallying behind us, allowing us to fast track our rollout.

6. How does Hyperoptic actually get its fibre optic cable to these buildings, do you use BT’s cable ducts (PIA), dig your own trenches / street works or work with other third party Dark Fibre providers to deliver the service. Please can you tell us a little more about this and the processes involved?

ANSWER:

One of our USPs is that we have a dedicated network, which means that we have much more control over our service and consumer experience. We do not use BT’s PIA product. We work with multiple fibre providers and aim to use existing infrastructure to limit disruption to the local environment during installation.

7. During May 2013 you successfully secured a significant new investment worth £50 million from private investment firm Quantum Strategic Partners Ltd. What will this extra support allow you to do that you might have struggled to achieve before?

ANSWER:

This investment has enabled us to accelerate our expansion plans. We are now in a position where we can scale our efforts and increase our capabilities – we now employ 170 staff across four sites.

We’ve expanded our network acquisition team, our installation team, and our customer service team. With the additional funding, we can bring 1 Gig to more people; ensure high quality installations, and a superlative customer experience. We know that to grow a successful ISP that the customer support and service has to be second-to-none.

8. Now…about those long-held plans for a TV (IPTV) product :)?

ANSWER:

We’re still evaluating customer demand for a bundled TV product. Given the number of independent options currently available for streaming and on demand services, hyper-fast fibre broadband is the driver and enabler of future TV services – rather than the other way around.

9. So far Hyperoptic has tended to speak mostly about its focus on residential services but you’ve also branched out into offering a business solution. This includes via the government’s Connection Vouchers Scheme that should eventually offer grants worth up to £3,000 to help businesses in 22 UK cities install a superfast broadband connection. Is it harder to tailor your solution to business requirements and how many firms have you helped to connect?

ANSWER:

The additional funding from Government has had a positive impact by raising awareness amongst SMEs that fibre should be part of their future proofing.

Our solution works well for smaller business that want a full fibre connection without paying the prices associated with dedicated lines. We have already connected a number of businesses across our anticipated product set and will be announcing our business product portfolio later in the year.

10. Most independent fibre optic ISPs tend to struggle against competition from the incumbent, BT, especially now that they’re gobbling up pretty much all of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) budget. Do you have concerns about the current BDUK process and or have you faced any problems with BT, which is also attempting to deploy a similar FTTC/P/B solution in many of the same London areas as Hyperoptic?

ANSWER:

We have not competed in the rural BDUK process as we focus on slow spots in urban areas. While I know and sympathise with my compatriots in the rural FTTH business, I cannot comment on the challenges they face or the BDUK process.

Of course BT has a ‘fibre’ solution, but it’s not 1 Gig and it’s not symmetric. We are the leading provider of Fibre-to-the-Building and our experience and expertise is unmatched. Residents in Hyperoptic-enabled buildings can get a full fibre experience and if they have a faceplate, they can be live within minutes of ordering. We take orders online as well as by phone and have over a 95% customer satisfaction rating.

We have strong relationships with developers and freeholders who appreciate the hassle free experience their residents get with Hyperoptic.

Hyperoptic overcomes problems and welcomes the opportunity to compete.

11. Finally, can you share any fun statistics about your broadband network and usage (e.g. total data transferred per month, average download speed across all connections, what is your most popular package etc.)?

ANSWER:

• 100 Meg + phone is our most popular package
• Our average peak usage per customer is 750Kbps – and growing every month
• After ordering service with a pre-existing installation plate, customers can be live within 15 minutes

ISPr Editors Note: We were curious about the ‘average peak usage per customer’ figure, which on the surface seems to be much lower than you’d expect from an ISP offering packages of up to 1000Mbps, and so queried exactly what it represented. The answer from Hyperoptic is below:

This figure represents the total usage at peak time divided by the total number of customers whether active or not. This is a fairly standard industry measurement although most don’t publish their figures.

Things to consider:

* When online, one is rarely using your full bandwidth, for example reading emails, webpages, filling out a form are all things that would require no network traffic. The network is utilised only when sending, downloading, or streaming.
* Not everyone uses their connection at the same time. Even at peak only a portion of people are online at any one time

At Be [BE Broadband] for example our average peak was around 200 Kbps. During our initial phase this number was 300 Kbps. The growth indicates that people are using their connections more and making use of the great bandwidth available – we change our online habits when bandwidth is not a limiting factor.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar dave says:

    One of the big questions you didn’t ask her was why do you force people to take out a phone line @ £12.50/month?

  2. Avatar dave says:

    update, you can order without a phone line but you only save £2.50/month.

  3. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

    That is perfectly normal, Dave. Virgin Media do much the same. Going further afield as do, say, Swisscom.

    You pay £11 more for broadband on its own from Virgin. By not taking a landline the saving is only £4.50.

  4. Avatar Tom says:

    f8lure graphs seem to show peak time congestion between AAISP (and probably other locations) and Hyperoptic customers.
    But unlike BE and BT.. where pings would go from 18ms to nearing 100ms…
    Hyperoptic rise from 1ms to the heady hights of 20ms. 😛 Might be affecting speeds though, I can’t test that.

  5. Hyperoptic has been the first ISP in the UK to provide gigabit services to residents. Its wide range bringing a hope to the people of rural areas as well.

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