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Wildcard UK Ltd Hints at Faster Broadband for Homes in the North East

Saturday, January 28th, 2017 (1:06 am) - Score 1,320

Newcastle-upon-Tyne based business ISP Wildcard Networks (Wildcard UK Limited) has hinted at tentative plans to expand their mix of wireless and fibre optic based superfast broadband networks to reach more businesses and homes in the North East of England.

At present the ISP primarily focuses upon connecting businesses to one of their various alternative network technologies in city centres and business parks, which tend to involve a mix of superfast Fixed Wireless Access (5GHz and point-to-point), Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) or ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) based solutions. All of these usually connect back to their datacentre in Newcastle and they also buy some third-party services from Openreach (BT).

Wildcard Networks also reach a small number of outlying rural areas, typically those where existing super and ultra-fast Internet access provision is either limited or non-existent. Now a new application for Code Powers from Ofcom has revealed that they could be about to expand upon this and also make more use of FTTC via Openreach’s Sub-Loop Unbundling (SLU) product.

Extract from Wildcard’s Application

The Applicant has explained that it intends to focus its future network deployment on areas where existing superfast and ultrafast internet access is limited or non-existent.

It has explained that both businesses and residential consumers will benefit from this deployment and noted that, in order to further deploy wireless infrastructure in rural areas lacking in superfast broadband, it will install small radio repeater cells closer to customers which will enable high-speed data transfers. The Applicant has highlighted that this will provide many residential users with access to the full range of streaming and on-demand services where they would otherwise be unable to access them (due to slow speeds).

The Applicant has also highlighted the benefits that its network will bring to businesses. In particular, it has explained that it intends to install FTTC solutions at business parks and other areas lacking access to superfast and ultrafast broadband, delivering speeds of up to 200Mbps.

It also intends to expand its FTTP network into business parks and city centres and considers that this could potentially deliver speeds of up to 10Gbps to businesses cost effectively, providing a truly future-proof network. The Applicant has suggested that this network deployment would involve minimal civil engineering costs and minimal disruption as it will utilise existing ducts where possible.

It’s fairly normal for such providers to seek Code Powers from Ofcom, which helps to simplify the planning process (i.e. no need for lots of individual licenses during civil works) and can thus speed-up the roll-out of new networks. However we tend to take the claims made in related applications with a pinch of salt since they usually reflect an overly optimistic outlook, partly to encourage a favourable eye from the regulator.

As usual Ofcom has proposed to grant the code powers and opened a public consultation, which tend to be waved through quite quickly. Otherwise little is known about the ISP and their website is somewhat sparse on detail.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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