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UK ISP County Broadband Raise £46m to Build FTTH in East England

Monday, July 16th, 2018 (2:08 pm) - Score 4,647

Alternative network ISP County Broadband has followed last year’s pilot roll-out of a new 1000Mbps (Gigabit) capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) service in the rural Cambridgeshire village of Broughton (here) by securing an investment of £46m with Aviva Investors. Big plans for “full fibre” expansion ahoy!

Traditionally County Broadband has tended to focus more on deploying “superfastFixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks, which they’ve built to deliver services across various villages in Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire (England). Nevertheless last year’s decision to go “full fibre” represented a significant shift in strategy, although at the time there was no indication of how their aspirations might be funded.

The good news is that in June 2018 they were finally able to close a deal with Aviva Investors, which has agreed to inject some £46 million of additional private investment into the provider in order to support their future FTTH roll-out strategy across the East of England. The ISP was supported in its bid for the funding by law firm Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB).

Lloyd Felton, CEO of County Broadband, said:

“This is a significant moment for County Broadband, as we enter the next phase of our development towards becoming a major network provider in the East of England. Working with BDB was an entirely positive experience. They were right by our side and were pivotal in supporting a multifaceted requirement across all aspects of what at times became a very complex negotiation.”

The ISP has tended to run its affairs in a somewhat low key way (e.g. they haven’t updated their Twitter account since 2017, while the Facebook link on their website is broken and they don’t have a press release page). As a result of that we’re only now finding out about this otherwise major announcement after some digging, which comes roughly a month after it was first officially but quietly confirmed (note: hire a better PR team).

At this stage there isn’t much detail on their deployment plan, although by the sounds of it a lot of the new FTTH/P could be deployed in Essex first and the expansion strategy then makes mention of an aim to reach 30,000 premises (homes and businesses) across the East of England region (no timescale is given). The focus appears to be in poorly served rural areas.

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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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17 Responses
  1. dragoneast says:

    It is perhaps an interesting historical development. Are we going back to the nineteenth century with a patchwork of local “telephone” companies? Or just a natural (but perhaps unforeseen?) consequence of breaking up the nationalised utilities into regional/national monopolies. Certainly it’s more of the Americanisation of the UK.

    They say all politics is ultimately local, because that’s all people understand and are interested in.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Once the inevitable consolidation train kicks off in the near future then you’ll probably see the market centralise again around a smaller number of core FTTP/H providers.

  2. chris conder says:

    Go Lloyd, how fantastic for an altnet to get support, you can do great things.
    If only government was as far sighted as Aviva.
    Good luck, power to the people.

    1. Chris@Ecom says:

      Here here! Congrats guys.

  3. Julian mccallum says:

    This is FAKE news

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Do you have some evidence to back that up Julian so that we can investigate?

  4. Julian mccallum says:

    I’ve contacted aviva investors they have no information regarding county broadband.

    1. Brian Stephens says:

      I have been in contact with Aviva Investors, and they confirm that the transaction was made in May/June this year.

  5. John Mastin says:

    Personally speaking from having a County Broadband installation they should be closed down.
    The speeds we have have never been as advertised, a 16mbps connection was down to 3 or 4, sometimes better but would drop at peak times. They’ve rolled out an upgrade but now our internet hardly works at all. 3 weeks later we’re still getting fobbed off. They’re kids in an adults environment and haven’t a clue how to fix it.
    Meanwhile of course, I’ve been paying £38 a month for internet that doesn’t work.. Thirty Eight Pounds.. for internet? This doesn’t include all the streaming services I pay for that don’t work… I’m not alone on this as many people in our area are suffering problems.
    The insult of it all is we do not have any choice to change providers and as far as the government rollout is concerned to provide high speed internet to rural areas, they’re covering it… Avoid at all costs, you’ve been warned.

    1. Julian Mccallum says:

      If you go on county broadbands website it clearly states that even though you pay for 16mbps you only get 8mbps. So they rip you off but at least they tell you. Which is quite refreshing.

    2. Brian Stephens says:

      May I ask, are you on wifi broadband, or fibre? If fibre, is it FTTH?

  6. Simon Tavner says:

    @ Julien – if this was fake news could you explain why I’ve received an information letter, just today, from County Broadband stating that they are looking to build a “Fibre to the home” network in my area (Lawford) and asking people to register their interest?
    The letter goes on to say that it will be built at no cost to the customer and with no installation fee.

    Perhaps you could explain how such a company could afford to do this without a major cash investment? And why Aviva would wish to tell you about their investments?

    1. Chris Crowther says:

      We’ve had the same information letter in Maldon as well; amusingly referring to us as a village.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      Can you send me a scan of the letter at all?


  7. G Mayhew says:

    I’ve also been sent a letter from county broadband with the same information, up until now l only have got good things to say about County broadband, we now get 32 mb/s unlimited data, with BT we got 0.5 mb/s I’ve also got my phone with them £17 all calls thats brilliant.I would not go back to BT even if they put fibre broadband in our village( Beaumont) they’ve been ripping us off for years.

  8. Richard Harnwell says:

    I’ve just had a letter from County Broadband too. I’m a current FWA customer in a North Essex village, and they’re apparently ‘looking to build a “Fibre to your Home” broadband network’.

    Happy to send a scan of the letter if you’d like.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Yes please Richard. My email is on the ‘Contact’ link.

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