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F&W Networks Plan 10Gbps FTTP Broadband for 1 Million UK Premises

Friday, August 30th, 2019 (11:30 am) - Score 4,490
fibre optic grey unsplash

Pure fibre optic broadband ISPs appear to be cropping up every month and today is no exception as we welcome F&W Networks into the club, which has an aspiration to deploy a new 100Mbps to 10Gbps symmetric speed capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to over 1 million UK homes and businesses by 2024.

The provider, which is based in Altrincham (Greater Manchester) and only became a limited company on 13th August 2018 (here), intends to target areas which are currently not served and not planned to be served by competitors with FTTP networks. We suspect that may restrict their focus somewhat to smaller towns, large villages and rural communities (other ISPs like Zzoomm and FibreNation are targeting the same sort of areas).

NOTE: F&W simply stands for Fibre and Wireless.

In locations where FTTP is not viable then the provider has indicated that they would consider deploying a 100Mbps Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband network instead, although the exact details remain unknown. Apparently they’re also pondering whether or not to offer wholesale duct access as a stand-alone service to other ISPs (subject to the usual commercial viability considerations).

Like so many other providers they hope to harness Openreach’s (BT) existing cable ducts and telegraph poles in order to run their own fibre via the Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product, which appears to be supported via their recent application for Code Powers from Ofcom (i.e. this speeds up deployment and cuts costs by reducing the number of licenses needed for street works).

Otherwise not much is known about FW, although the company’s main Director appears to be Carlos Bock, who is a PhD Engineer with a history in telecoms, consulting and finance. Sadly their website – https://fwnetworks.co.uk – appears to have a slightly embarrassing “account suspended” notice on the front page (they probably haven’t made a site yet) and hopefully that will be changed to offer some useful information in the near future.

As usual we’ll reserve judgement until we see some news of funding and actual network deployments taking place. At present there are quite a few full fibre start-ups cropping up, no doubt attracted by the prospect of a softer regulatory environment and the strong appetite from potential investors, although it remains to be seen how many will be left standing in a few years’ time.

UPDATE 1:05pm

The provider’s website seems to have been uploaded now, although take note that some of the network coverage statistics at the bottom actually refer to their operations in other countries (mostly Spain and Portugal). The UK network has yet to be built.

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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.
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12 Responses
  1. Avatar Dave

    So much competition spring up out of nowhere against ye olde Openreach… this is what happens when you don’t more with the times.

    Good to see another FTTH company promising to bring real fibre to customers.

    I just hope that we do not end up with a patch work of coverage from small monopolies.

  2. Avatar ThrowAway123

    https://fwnetworks.co.uk/ looks to be back to normal as of 12:40

  3. Avatar SimonR

    “…although we think some of their network coverage statistics at the bottom must be placeholders because we’ve yet to see evidence for FN having 100,000 UK premises passed with full fibre…”

    Looks like very early days for them. But the Friday in me thinks that they appear to be using a more continental format for their numbering system (dots instead of commas). Either that, or their claims are valid…

    +1.000Km of infrastructure (+1km of infrastructure)
    +5.000 FWA connected homes (+5 connected)
    You get the idea, but I’m confused by +10.000K Full-Fibre connected homes. 10 million?

    • I spoke to FW and the figures are indeed using the continental numbering system (e.g. in the UK it should obviously be 5,000 not 5.000). Plus those figures reference their networks in Spain and Portugal, since the UK network has yet to be built.

  4. Avatar Ferrocene Cloud

    Have to wonder if we’re going to see a bubble pop at some point. Unless the altnets go for high penetration in local markets such as individual cities.

    Seems every month we have a new provider springing up saying how they want to cover X million premises around the UK but the market isn’t there to make them all viable.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Provided they are addressing differing market segments I’m not too bothered.

      The point this does prove is that there is cash your there looking to build a lot of FTTP.

      OK there is a commercial cut off point somewhere by the % of the UK that is commercially reachable is increasing as costs fall and ROI is established.

      So the market appears to be working quite well as long as the policeman’s keep their mits away and focus on breaking down barriers to reduce costs.

      Yes some will fail and some will be gobbled up: that is the way of things.

  5. Avatar Brian Storey

    A service which starts at some point will need to be ceased.

    It won’t be long now before stories of incorrect billing, “bill shock” and double billing emerge due to the lack of a cohesive migration process between the networks.

    It was a problem not big enough to tackle with just Virgin as the alt-net before. A different story very soon I feel.

  6. Avatar Oggy

    Mark, you fancy reporting my marriage to Kate Upton?

    That’s more likely to happen that this.

  7. Avatar Jonathan

    Any FTTP network is 10Gbps capable if you change the optics either end. Thats the beauty of single mode fibre optic cable. Even GPON networks can be upgraded to a CWDM PON and support 10Gbps symmetric if you need the speeds. Would just require changing the DP splitters and new optics either end, which is trivial compared to running the fibre in the first place. Though there will be little requirement for many years as XGPON will be more than enough for vast majority for some a good few years yet.

    As such saying your building a 10Gbps capable network is frankly meaningless.

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