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ISPs Exponential-e, Connexin and Fibre Me Plan UK FTTP Rollout

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 (12:32 pm) - Score 2,928
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New documents from the UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, have revealed that three existing and new internet providers – Exponential-e, Connexin and Fibre Me – all appear to be planning to build their own gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband networks in the near future.

The projects first came to our attention as part of each making a request for Code Powers from Ofcom (here, here and here), which are often sought by new and existing operators in order to help speed-up the deployment of new networks and cut costs by reducing the number of licenses needed for related street works across the United Kingdom.

Each one will also be seeking to harness Openreach’s (BT) existing cable ducts and poles (PIA / DPA) to run some of their own fibre, but as usual the details are fairly limited.

Exponential-e

We won’t spend too much time talking about Exponential-e because they’re more of a business centric ISP and thus their plans for a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network seem to be centred on catering for that side of the market, rather than homes (the latter is more our focus). On top of that they’re a fairly well-established provider, so we don’t need to investigate too deeply.

Connexin

Arguably the confirmation that Connexin are looking to do FTTP is of much greater interest, not least because they’re well established and have traditionally been more focused upon public WiFi, low power wireless networks for Internet of Things (IoT) devices in cities and some consumer broadband via Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) infrastructure (primarily in Hull, East Yorkshire).

Ofcom’s code powers application both confirms their intention to expand that existing FWA network and the new plan to deploy an FTTP network in the North of England. The aim of this would be to “fill in connectivity gaps, not covered by the existing operators,” but that’s all we’re told.

Fibre Me

This appears to be a brand-new operator and as such they don’t even appear to have a website yet, at least not one we could find. The plan is to “initially focus on rolling out its network in towns in England, Scotland and Wales“, which would then be used to provide “ultrafast broadband to residential, business and wholesale customers.”

Once again, the focus will be on covering areas that are currently “poorly served” by rival FTTP networks, such as those “served only by BT’s copper access network and with no meaningful competition from other providers.” Broadband speeds of up to 10Gbps are promised, as well as future options for higher speeds.

The associated company was only incorporated on 4th February 2020 and has one Director, Eryl William Stafford (he’s a consultant that has previously worked for Group Utilities and Lightspeed Broadband Ltd.).

Hopefully some more details about these projects will flow our way next year, but suffice to say that the market for alternative network providers is now becoming very crowded indeed.

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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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