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New UK ISP Swish Fibre Plan FTTP Broadband Rollout in South England

Friday, August 9th, 2019 (11:39 am) - Score 3,680
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The increasingly crowded market for “full fibre” focused UK alternative network (altnet) ISPs has grown again today as a new start-up called Swish Fibre enters the fray. The provider intends to rollout an “ultrafast broadband” Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to underserved homes and businesses from 2020.

At this stage there aren’t many details, although the Manchester-based provider appears to be supported by plenty of people with industry (telecoms and fibre), consulting and investment experience. For example, the company’s Director, Alistair Goulden, was a former Director of Gigaclear and its CTO, Chris Cope, has worked for SSE (Enterprise Telecoms), UKWISPA and UK Broadband Limited etc.

The company’s CEO is also Brice Yharrassarry and he is the French founder and director of Akuo Energy, which is an international renewable energy company that delivered over 70 infrastructure projects valued at over $2.5bn. Clearly this is a new ISP with some serious clout behind its top team, albeit so far nothing much to show in terms of a network.

Speaking of a network, Swish intends to focus on “underserved towns and villages where broadband availability is poor and there is strong demand for ultrafast broadband services.” The provider claims to have identified six regions in Southern England (sadly they don’t get more specific) for their “initial deployment” in 2020, although they also aim to expand into other parts of the United Kingdom.

The ISP said they would start by building networks within a commutable distance of London and have initially identified 250,000 properties that fall into this category. Swish claims to have designed their first fibre networks and have put in place the supply chain, as well as contractual agreements, to “break ground” as early as Q4 2019.

Swish says they also intend to provide wholesale access to their duct infrastructure and will at the same time seek to harness some of Openreach’s (BT) existing cable ducts and poles in order to run their own fibre, which will be done via the Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product. As a result they’re seeking Code Powers from Ofcom (i.e. this speeds up deployment by reducing the number of licenses needed for street works).

Brice Yharrassarry, CEO of Swish Fibre, said:

“We are delighted to be in the final stages of receiving our Code Powers from Ofcom. Combined with our Openreach Communication Provider status this will help us accelerate our build plans.”

Without Code Powers it must obtain a licence under section 50 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 for each activity, which are time-consuming and costly to obtain. For example, the provider states that over 40 licences for its initial deployment to just 1,000 premises will cost more than £40,000 without such powers. Ofcom has provisionally proposed to approve these powers and they rarely reject such requests.

One interesting point to note is that Swish said their FTTP network may also be “supplemented by wireless links,” although at the time of writing there are no further details on this side of things. We’ve seen some other ISPs use both high capacity fibre optic links to feed fixed wireless networks and also high capacity wireless links to feed fibre optic lines to homes.

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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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6 Responses
  1. Avatar Fred

    “the company’s Director, Alistair Goulden, was a former Director of Gigaclear”

    Hmm, great, because Gigaclear are doing great at the moment hitting all their roll-out schedules – maybe Alistair has learnt how not to run a roll-out….

  2. Avatar ian

    I do wonder how many of these companies are created just to be acquired down the line.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      All of them.

    • Avatar tim

      Yes, all of them. That is how business works.

      This is probably BT’s game plan by offering PIA instead of doing the work themselves.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @tim

      I doubt the Monopolies and Mergers guys would allow BT to buy up network competitors.

      This is going to be a real thing as there will be business casualties and some small badly run Alt Nets will go to the wall.

      I’d more suspect that VM’s new entity/JV would be acquisitive.

  3. Avatar Alex

    There is the basis of an interesting article here, I assume the cable companies were able to be aggregated into virgin media because the fundamental physical asset – the coax in the ground was a similar tech ? Is this the vision for the alt nets ?

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