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Quickline Win £8.1m Lincolnshire Superfast Broadband Contract

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 (5:18 pm) - Score 888
quickline fixed wireless broadband 2017

UK ISP Quickline, which is part of the Bigblu group, has today won another £8.1m contract that will see them extend their fibre optic fed Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network to cover a further 8,000 premises (homes and businesses) in rural parts of Lincolnshire with “superfast” (30Mbps+) and “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) broadband.

The agreement, which follows a similar contract win for West Yorkshire and York earlier this month (here), is intended to support the Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) and Building Digital UK’s long-running local broadband programme – Onlincolnshire.

The new deal is being supported by an initial subsidy of up to £4.6m (£3.1m from the Lincolnshire Local Authority and £1.5m from the European Regional Development Fund), while a further subsidy of £1.5m will become available “subject to certain conditions” (they don’t say what). Quickline itself is also committing £2m of private investment to support the roll-out.

Details of the roll-out plan under this deal are extremely vague and there’s no clarity on how many premises can expect to receive “ultrafast” speeds, although the ambiguous word “many” is used. Quickline also expects to deliver at least its targeted return on capital of c.15% over the life of the contract.

Steve Jagger, Quickline CEO and Founder, said:

“It’s extremely pleasing to have further extended Quickline’s footprint. Our ability to deliver broadband speeds in excess of 100Mbps combined with the growing reach of the business make us an attractive partner to local authorities. We believe that our solutions and capabilities put us in a strong position to build on these recent wins.”

Andrew Walwyn, CEO of Bigblu broadband, added:

“We are delighted by the fact that Quickline has won a second tender in such quick succession. Its management team has been working hard on a number of fronts and it’s extremely pleasing to see the fruits of their labour. It is becoming abundantly clear that there is significant opportunity for Quickline to grow at pace, ensuring that it remains on track to reach 30,000 subscribers. The scalability of the business and potential return on capital speak for themselves – highlighting the strength of the model and the significant value opportunity.”

The lack of detail in today’s announcement (e.g. areas expected to benefit, delivery time-scale etc.) is disappointing and a quick search of the council’s document archive similarly turned up nothing relevant from recent meetings over the summer. According to Thinkbroadband, some 93% of premises across the county can currently access 30Mbps+ speeds, which puts it below many other parts of the UK.

Admittedly Lincolnshire hasn’t exactly been one of the most pro-active of the original BDUK projects and the last time they issued an update via Onlincolnshire was December 2019, but hopefully that will soon change. Some may also be disappointed by the local authority’s decision to adopt wireless instead of gigabit-capable “full fibre” (FTTP) technology.

Finally, we’re a little bit concerned that the plan for this seems to be based off an out-of-date Open Market Review (OMR) from 2018 (we couldn’t find a more recent one), which among other things mentions their original plan to “reach 97% of superfast broadband connectivity by 2019” (this seems to have been missed) and notes that c.40,318 premises still can’t access superfast broadband (likely to have changed a fair bit since 2018).

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar ian Cole says:

    I live near, Boston in Lincolnshire, there is a fttp cable less then 20meters from my bungalow and I’m unable to use a fttp product as bt/openreach say that there isnt a CBT near me, this is ridiculous, I’ve spoken to my MP, Matt Warman who is a under secretary at dcms and thus far has not help in any way, I have a community funded project in the works and openreach has quoted me £242,000 to install a fttp network in my area, how do they work that out, I’ve have also spoken to quickline and they are unable to help either, how can a rural community afford a good quality, low cost broadband connection

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