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Quickline Win £14.5m North Yorkshire UK Broadband Contract

Monday, December 7th, 2020 (10:27 am) - Score 2,112
quickline_microwave_wireless_broadband_tower_picture

Broadband ISP Quickline (part of Bigblu) has today won a fourth state aid supported UK rural broadband delivery contract, which is worth £14.5m and will see them extend their “fibre-backed fixed wireless” network to bring “superfast, ultrafast and in some cases gigabit speed broadband” to a further 15,830 premises in North Yorkshire.

The new programme will receive a public subsidy of £12.3m from the North Yorkshire Local Authority and NYnet, which is being done in partnership with the UK Government’s Building Digital UK (BDUK) programme. On top of that Quickline itself has pledged to commit £2.2m of network investment to support the rollout (total £14.5m).

NOTE: Like most ISPs Quickline define superfast as 30Mbps and ultrafast as 100Mbps.

At present the state aid supported Superfast North Yorkshire (SFNY) has already helped around 91% of premises to access a “superfast” broadband network and their existing contract with Openreach (BT) – using FTTC and some FTTP – is aiming to reach 94% by June 2021. But the local authority has also been working to develop a Phase 4 contract to help tackle some of remaining “white NGA” areas (38,038 premises) with inadequate broadband.

In the end it appears as if the local authority has decided to go with a fibre fed Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solution to help tackle the remaining gap instead of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), which will enable them to reach significantly more premises (15,830 homes and businesses) but may not be as fast.

Steve Jagger, CEO of Quickline, said:

“We are thrilled to continue being part of connecting North Yorkshire in this fourth phase of rolling out Next Generation Access (NGA) superfast broadband. Everyone in the UK should have access to high-speed internet no matter where you live or work and this contract means that up to 97 per cent of all homes and businesses in the county will now have that ability to access Superfast broadband and in most cases Ultrafast broadband.

This year, more than ever, we have seen how important it is to have online connectivity, giving people the ability to work remotely and to stay connected to family and friends, reducing isolation for many.”

This is the fourth tender won by Quickline in quick succession under the BDUK Superfast Programme, which has also seen them scoop a £8.1m rollout deal for 8,000 premises in other parts of Lincolnshire (here), as well as a £9.1m contract for network coverage to 6,700 extra premises across rural West Yorkshire and York (here) and £1.8m contract to reach 1,500 premises in North Lincolnshire (here).

Through a combination of its current footprint, plus the four aforementioned tenders and Rural Gigabit Vouchers, Quickline now claims to be seeing scope to cover 100,000 premises over the next few years. At present it’s still unclear how many of these will benefit from full fibre (FTTP) and how many will see their wireless connectivity.

In addition, Quickline was selected by the Government’s DCMS in February 2020 to lead a £6m 5G project to boost rural connectivity in North Yorkshire (here), which is separate from the above contract. Apparently, this will involve building small 5G mobile phone networks in areas that have no mobile coverage.

The company will also now invest further capital in scaling-up the organisation, sales and marketing capability and connecting customers. Quickline said they expect to see strong take-up of broadband services and to deliver at least its targeted return on capital of c.15% over the life of the contract.

Residential customers typically pay from £29.99 per month for Quickline’s unlimited 10Mbps (5Mbps upload) package, then £39.99 for 30Mbps (10Mbps) and this goes up to £59.99 if you want the “fastest available” speeds, although you don’t clearly define what the latter means. The installation fee tends to range from £195 on a 24-month term to £295 on a 12-month one.

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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.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Meadmodj says:

    The issue I have with this is why its not a FTTP/60Ghz hybrid. I understand there will be premises that will be hard to reach and they want expedient timescales but to start a rollout in 2021 with the objective of only providing USO/”High Speed” supported by over £750 per premise subsidy (that will need to be revisted later this decade) does not look the best way to spend public money.

    1. A_Builder says:

      True.

      But only if the fibre is not put where it can be leveraged later to make it fully FTTP.

      Anecdotally most of the FWA people seem to put in FWA and then progressively replace bit of it with FTTP.

      Rural roll out is not fast, given distances and the masts are fibre fed not microwave so performance should be reasonable.

    2. Meadmodj says:

      But if the target of the mast is only High speed then they are likely to lay only a minimum fibre cable. You could put a OLT on the end of this but my view is these premises will now be blighted for speed over a the decade.

    3. A_Builder says:

      The cost of laying 1 fibre or 16 fibres in a bundle is about the same.

      The cost is in the civils.

      So provided there are excess fibres I am not seeing the issue.

      OK there may need to be some thought as to handoff points along the route to enable splits but that is not insurmountable – What does that really mean? A chamber?

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