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ITS Technology Switches-on Full Fibre Network in Blackpool UK

Thursday, November 7th, 2019 (5:02 pm) - Score 957

The ITS Technology Group, which builds and operates a number of “full fibre” and hybrid wireless broadband ISP networks across parts of the United Kingdom, has extended its “gigabit” capable broadband and Ethernet services to businesses on the Fylde Coast by harnessing the local Cooperative Network Infrastructure (CNI).

The CNI, previously known as The Digital Infrastructure Cooperative (TDIC), is an independent Cooperative Society registered under the 2014 Cooperative and Community Benefit Societies Act, which is regulated by the FCA as a mutual society. Essentially this takes a large amount of existing council owned fibre infrastructure (around Tameside and Blackpool) and makes it available at the passive layer (Dark Fibre) for use by commercial ISPs.

No complex shareholder or clawback agreements are required for this and the public sector retains ownership, while the cooperative structure ensures the infrastructure remains neutral (i.e. access is non-discriminatory and non-exclusive). The Government’s Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme is supporting this in Blackpool as part of their £3.1m investment in the area.

ITS is one of the CNI’s founding members and sits on its board. The Blackpool side of their platform is already live in the Central Shore area and a phased roll-out should see the new ITS Full Fibre network extend across the entire Fylde Coast – from Blackpool Airport to Fleetwood (a total of 23km along the tramway) – and complete during 2020.

Daren Baythorpe, CEO of ITS, said:

“Blackpool has a thriving business community including those located in the Enterprise Zones. Its tourism industry also means that there are hundreds of hotels, bed and breakfasts and other attractions demanding capable connectivity to run their businesses as well as fulfil the needs of their visitors.

Our network will utilise the planned full fibre footprint and we will also look to invest and build out more fibre optic cable where businesses demand it. As a network operator, we will work with our partners to offer choice for customers while also creating healthy competition; allowing them to get the best deals for their needs. We are delighted to be working with the local authorities to fulfil their full fibre vision for the area.”

A Blackpool Council spokesperson said:

“This is a truly amazing development. Access to full fibre connectivity direct to premises simply hasn’t been available in Blackpool before. We are delighted that the Fibre Blackpool project has started working with residents and businesses in the local area to future proof their homes and businesses so they can take advantage of full fibre, gigabit internet capability.

Access to gigabit capable full fibre services puts Blackpool hugely on the map in terms of offering among the fastest connectivity speeds in the whole of the UK, which will further boost our ambitious economic development agenda and our drive to attract more inward investment, business growth, new business, and more jobs into Blackpool.”

Where the existing Fibre Blackpool network doesn’t reach, ITS has pledged to build to demand (it’s already doing this in the Central Shore area). In addition, local businesses can access up to £2.5k funding through the government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) to help subsidise the cost of a new full fibre install, at least until that scheme runs out of money in a few months’ time (unless extended).

The council mentioned residential connectivity, although ITS itself tends to be more focused upon catering for other ISPs and businesses. Indeed local businesses are being encouraged to register their interest with ITS to find out more about the broadband and connectivity packages available to them via the ITS partner network.

We should point out that ITS isn’t the only operator to make use of the CNI platform. Others, such as Virgin Media and Telcom, are also harnessing it to help with their own builds.

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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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