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Jurassic Fibre to Start FTTP Broadband Rollout in South West

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 3,836

As many as 350,000 UK homes and businesses across Dorset, Devon and Somerset in England could potentially gain access to a new Gigabit-capable (1Gbps) Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network after new ISP Jurassic Fibre (a play on the local “Jurassic Coast” shoreline) formally launched in Exeter yesterday.

We first touched on the existence of this ISP back in April 2019 (here). At the time Fern Trading Limited (Fern), advised by Octopus Investments (Octopus), had just acquired the company and promptly pledged to provide funding for an expansion plan that “could over the next few years exceed £250m, creating jobs and essential infrastructure.” Not bad considering they hadn’t yet built anything.

Fast forward a few months and Jurassic Fibre has now confirmed that their Phase One build will start during this autumn, which will initially run a new Gigabit-capable “full fibre” broadband network (GPON) into communities across East Devon, most of which exist between Exeter airport and along the A376 corridor to Exmouth (see picture – top).

As part of this the provider yesterday signed a new contract with Tata Consultancy Services, who will be supplying key elements of the software solution for the project.

Michael Maltby, CEO of Jurassic Fibre, said:

“This is a big step forward for connectivity in the region and absolutely vital as more and more of the world goes truly digital. Jurassic Fibre will be working with communities, councils, businesses and consumers to develop a new fibre to the premises network, bypassing the decades-old copper one that most homes and businesses still rely on for broadband and phone landlines in the South West.

“We are delighted to be partnering with one of the world’s largest technology providers, Tata Consultancy Services. Jurassic Fibre will be taking the internet experience for families and businesses to a whole new level, allowing people to be ‘truly digital’ in their day-to-day lives making the digital plumbing of the South West a reality in the 21st century.”

Phase One of the network build is expected to start this autumn and will expand to cover areas around Exeter Airport, Sowton Industrial Estate, homes on the eastern side of Exeter and nearby villages including Clyst St Mary, Clyst St George, Sowton Village, Farringdon, Lympstone and Woodbury, and then south to Exmouth.

After that the network will then roll-out to cover areas including Honiton, Tiverton, Barnstaple, Teignmouth, Taunton, Dorchester, Weymouth and Yeovil. Local residents can register their interest via the provider’s website and a Friendly User Testing trial is expected to launch alongside the rollout, which will come with 3 months of free ultrafast broadband.

Planned future development phases will then focus on East and North Devon, South Somerset and West Dorset. Hopefully some of this may connect up a few of the big gaps that have been left stuck in limbo by the recent failure of CDS’s FTTP rollout contract with Gigaclear, which is an opportunity that JF could exploit.

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said:

“I know that broadband connectivity and speed is a major issue for so many of my constituents. I am therefore delighted that Jurassic Fibre has chosen this area of the country to announce their first major project.

As well as the obvious benefits for households, this exciting new venture will provide a welcome boost to the local economy in terms of jobs and investment, which absolutely depends on outstanding digital connectivity.”

The team at Jurassic Fibre, a mix of South West based employees and telecommunications experts from around the United Kingdom and beyond, is already up to 40 people, with another 40 employees expected to join over the next six months. Clearly they mean business.

However, like all such alternative network (altnet) ISPs, they will face a challenge from the fact that rival operators (e.g. Openreach (BT), Gigaclear, Virgin Media, Wessex Internet and others) are also engaged in the slow process of deploying FTTP and other ultrafast broadband networks, around both urban and some rural parts of all three counties.

Exmouth in particular has a fair bit from Openreach and Virgin, although much of JF’s initial focus area looks to be poorly served, at least for now. As usual deployments into rural areas tend to be both slow and expensive, which could create plenty of obstacles but only time will tell whether this provider can go the distance.

As we understand it the ISP intends to use its FTTP network to primarily reach towns and villages where such services are currently NOT available (namely areas currently served by Openreach’s copper-based network and where no significant fibre deployments have been announced). Its rollout plan is also said to include the deployment of approximately 3500km of new fibre and the £250m is planned to be invested over the next 5 years (i.e. by the end of 2025).

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Joe says:

    Hmm. Tricky; they have gone to many areas not covered atm (fttc/adsl) but those that won’t have rivals anytime soon look very expensive and those that aren’t like Honiton look easy for BT to move to fttp quickly when they want to. (ie they have fttp close by and the capacity.

  2. Avatar Roger Matanle says:

    do you know who you will be using to carry out the works as we would be interested in suppling them equipment?

  3. Avatar Bob2002 says:

    >Exmouth in particular has a fair bit from Openreach and Virgin

    No it doesn’t, there is no Virgin and almost zero Openreach FTTP AFAIK.

  4. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Does this mean it is deployed at Glacial speeds?

  5. Avatar T. Watkins says:

    A sign post for a major acquisition . .?

  6. Avatar Peter Bailey says:

    I have worked in the Telecommunications industry (BT/ Openreach) for 20 years 16 years as an engineer in the field, 1 year at BT Global, before joining the Desk Based Fibre Planning Team L2C / NGA in 2013 to 2018, i have done alot of Reactive Site Surveys / Costing and Ad-Hoc’s in the Cornwall and surrounding area’s for the Civil’s team to lay duct for the BT Fibre cable all the way to either the FTTC, DP / customers property. Best known as FTTP.

    It’s great to read that Jurassic Fibre taking the lead on Exeter Airport, Sowton Industrial Estate, homes on the eastern side of Exeter and nearby villages including Clyst St Mary, Clyst St George, Sowton Village, Farringdon, Lympstone and Woodbury, and then south to Exmouth to name but a few.

    I can see 2020 being a fantastic year for the CEO Michael Maltby Jurassic Fibre and his Dedicated team. Keep up the great work and believe me you will succeed.

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