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Full Fibre ISP Zzoomm Preps UK Rollout with £2.5m Supply Deal

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 (8:10 am) - Score 2,085

Oxford-based ISP Zzoomm, which was setup earlier this year by Gigaclear’s founder (here) and aims to cover 1 million UK homes with a 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network by the end of 2024 (here), has signed its next big supplier agreement with Hexatronic worth £2.5m.

Under the current plan Zzoomm intends to target their initial rollout, which is planned to start sometime this summer, toward smaller cities (e.g. Hastings, Amersham, Weymouth and Huntingdon) and the suburbs of larger cities (e.g. London and Birmingham). Such areas tend not to figure into the initial “full fibre” deployment plans of bigger rivals, which may help them to build a small first-mover style advantage.

So far the fledgling ISP has already signed an agreement to make use of ADTRAN‘s next generation XGS-PON solution and equipment to deliver a 10Gbps capable service to homes and businesses. By comparison today’s deal will see Hexatronic UK supply the passive network components for their network, including a “comprehensive logistics, engineering support and training package” (Hexatronic Fibre Access Matrix).

Matthew Hare, Zzoomm CEO, said:

“Hexatronic are a perfect partner for Zzoomm. Putting in place such a comprehensive arrangement means we’re free to focus on building a brilliant network and doing the best possible job for our customers. We’re confident in their full support as Zzoomm rolls out to towns and cities across the UK. This is another step to the UK’s full fibre future.”

The proof will be in the pudding and we’re still waiting to see some actual network build, which should hopefully follow in the coming months. Likewise there has been no news of new investment (Zzoomm started with an investment of £1m by its CEO), although we assume that the ISP now has more confidence in their financial foundation as otherwise they wouldn’t have signed a £2.5m supply deal.

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13 Responses
  1. Avatar SimonM

    Huntingdon (I don’t know the situation with the other mentioned locations) was a Gfast/FTTP trial area so parts of the town have faster speeds, but admittedly not all. However, there is extensive Virgin Media coverage in Huntingdon, and I wonder if Zzoomm (why not four o’s?) know this. It’s not as if people in that network area can’t go for VM if they wanted faster, although again admittedly it’s not 10Gbps, or at least VM aren’t offering that yet as far as I’m aware.

    And a general thought about all these networks from alt providers: what happens to their business model when someone larger comes in to the area with their own (maybe bigger and better funded) fibre rollout.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      You’re assuming they will actually build the network. Gigaclear won the BDUK contract in my area over two and a half years ago, and are yet to connect a single property (although they have finally started the build). You can build a company, win awards, and sell the company for a big profit without actually achieving the stated goals.

    • Avatar Phil

      Indeed, alt-nets are in danger of being the equivalent of the dot-com boom and subsequent bust, at the time you just had to say “web-site” and would get funding, but many of these start-ups failed to make any money and the rest is history.

      The model at the moment seems to be similar, get some investment with a vague waving of a hand over a map of properties to “pass by” with fibre and sometimes that’s as far as it ever goes! The hope from all these start-ups is that they make their money by being bought out by someone else with more money and bigger waving of hands over larger areas.

      There will come a time where these smaller alt-net companies may go bust, the best that can happen is a larger company picks up those customers and infrastructure and continues to use it, but in many cases I expect a lot of fibre will go dark as it is no good to someone else, i.e. doesn’t terminate where it needs to, equipment is of a different standard, lack of network mapping so they don’t even know where a lot of it is, or it’s just been badly installed it would cost to much to maintain.

      Time will tell.

    • but in many cases I expect a lot of fibre will go dark as it is no good to someone else.”

      Operators today all seem to keep accurate maps of their new networks (so far as I can tell) and the asset, once built, will always be worth a fair bit (particularly in this market). So I’d never say it’s “no good to someone else.” A big chunk of the cost is in building the route and you can always find ways to get the bits at the end of your cable to work within a different network. But I do agree that consolidation is inevitable.

    • Avatar SimonR

      VM have had high speed dominance in nearby Peterborough since the cable was first put down (Cable & Wireless?). However, Vodafone/Cityfibre are rolling out there and seem to be doing well (I think). I think OR Fibre is there in parts too. VM don’t seem to be doing much about it.

      Sounds similar to Huntingdon.

    • Avatar Joe

      Mark is right Phil- fibre is too valuable not to get used in all but exceptional circumstances. Someone will always find a use for it.

      The market will consolidate; it always does

  2. Avatar Josef Karthauser

    Do ZZoomm publish any figures on their intended contention for this service? A 10G PON between lots of customers is not really a 10G capable service, as no single customer will be able to receive an entire 10G due to PON beacons and other customer usage.

    Additionally XGS-PON is asymmetric, so it’s faster than 1G PON, but still compromised in the upstream direction.

    Technically then, you cannot deliver a 10G capable service over XGS-PON. Customers will likely be contended at a lower headline speed.

    • I don’t think any ISPs publish that sort of detail. As ever there are always lots of caveats under the hood when you set these things up, although the XGS-PON standard can work in both 10/2.5 and 10/10G symmetrical. By comparison XG-PON only works in 10/2.5G asymmetrical mode (max).

    • Avatar CarlT

      Contention ratios are irrelevant on most services now. With burst capacity being so much higher than sustained usage they’re not really a guide to performance.

  3. Avatar Spurple

    does £2.5m buy you a lot of coverage these days? I’m not sure whether this is exciting or not.

  4. Avatar TheFacts

    Weymouth is a city?

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