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Out of the Frying Pan.. People’s Fibre Target Braintree for FTTP

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 (8:22 am) - Score 1,872
peoples_fibre_braintree_fttp

New UK ISP People’s Fibre, which in June 2020 scrapped their plan to deploy a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network in Deeside (Wales) due to Openreach’s rival rollout (here), has now revealed that they intend to cover Braintree in Essex. Except Gigaclear also plan to cover the area.

The decision to leave Deeside came as a surprise, not least because Openreach (BT) were already known to be building a fair bit of FTTP in the area and the location looked as if it should be able to support commercial competition between a couple of full fibre rivals. Nevertheless, People’s Fibre had previously said that they only intended to target “homes and small businesses in areas where FTTP is non-existent or poor.

One of the provider’s representatives, who commented on their Facebook page a few weeks ago, said in respect to their Deeside decision that “weโ€™re not making the same mistake twice.” As such it came as a bit of a surprise when they followed that just three weeks later with a post on 1st October, which announced that their next rollout would take place in Braintree.

The problem is that Gigaclear are already deploying their own FTTP network across the District of Braintree in Essex and on 30th September, the day before People’s Fibre made their Facebook post, the operator announced that they would extend this to cover 20,000 premises in the town itself (here); unless there’s another UK town with the same name, but we couldn’t find one.

Braintree is going Gigabit! … watch this space,” said People’s Fibre. The competitive reality is that if you target a town, where more people tend to live (more attractive for investment), then you can’t necessarily expect to have that area all to yourself.

On the flip side locals now look set to benefit from a choice of two full fibre networks, which is currently something that very few people have, assuming the ISP doesn’t suddenly quit a second build. We’ve already contacted the provider for a comment and will update if or when they respond.

Finally, we should add that another full fibre provider, County Broadband, last year named dropped Braintree for their own rollout plan (here), albeit focused more on poorly served rural villages than the town itself.

UPDATE 9:18am

The boss of People’s Fibre, Leo Chong, informs us that this time is different because they’ve already “surveyed, planned and built significantly so we will be connecting customers early next year if not this year.” The ISP also says that, as a courtesy, they also let Gigaclear known of their plans and view their deployment as “fair competition.”

The provider does acknowledge that last week’s announcement from Gigaclear has “expedited” their process somewhat, but this time they’re committed to the build. On top of that they’re currently in talks to open a main office in the town, including retail space on the high street, but that is not yet set in stone.

Meanwhile it’s a case of wait and see for local residents and businesses, which will judge the ISP on their delivery.

Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar Eccles says:

    Come back in 12 months and we’ll see if any of these are live yet! Living in this area (Rayne) I’m not going to complain. Already get full speed FTTC and most of Braintree town have it too. Gigaclear are meant to have started digging this month but nothing yet, they have all the permits covering Rayne. Perhaps this will encourage BT to bring forward FTTP for the town too, 4 providers ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Avatar Kip Hakes says:

      They are currently working in Earls Colne, I was told the ‘Live’ date for us was Q4 2021.. So we’re still a year off.

  2. Avatar Gary says:

    All very well the theory that areas can support three competing providers, but ‘if’ that competition drives down the forecast ROI then it’s no surprise ALTs may not see it as viable.

    I doubt very much Public spirited ‘Bringing fibre to the unserved’ ambitions make it past the accountants and investors very often.

  3. Avatar Joseph Fricks says:

    Crazy as Openreach will be doing Braintree as well…. Seems such a waste of money

    1. Avatar Alex Jones says:

      When are they coming? Can I read about their deployment somewhere? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Time will tell.

    There is room for varied approaches: I don’t think anyone has the perfect roll out solution for FTTP yet. But I agree small Alt Nets shouldn’t be heading for overbuild – it is too risky for them. Mainly because it become a heavy duty marketing challenge if the larger party has a decent marketing setup.

    In retrospect some of the negativity will seem misplaced?

    It isn’t as if there aren’t numerous other places that have no FTTP or even decent broad band at all.

    There is a degree of merit in giving Alt Nets a period of exclusivity for taking on the outliers, say two years to get themselves established. But this only triggers if they do the whole town or village and falls away if the build is not finished up to a set % (say 75% using the OR/OFCOM trigger threshold) within 12 months. If the Alt Net then provides a decent service and price point…I don’t think this should apply to OR or VM as they have SMP are big enough to stand alone….and they only have themselves to blame for how slow they have been to get fibred up.

    There does need to be a degree of reward for the risk of capital and this may be better than throwing money at getting the job done. As combined with longer rates holidays this breaks down risk barriers to getting things done without costing much money other than admin.

  5. Avatar Meadmodj says:

    It is becoming more likely that we will have a patchwork quilt of coverage with some of the patches becoming uneconomical. The only hope for many will be Openreach longer term who will want to eventually recover copper and vacate local exchanges but unless its near current Fibre First it may be a long wait.

  6. Avatar FibreBubble says:

    Still looking for someone to put the money in then.

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