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New ISP Lit Fibre Targets FTTP for 500,000 UK Homes by 2026

Monday, March 15th, 2021 (9:00 am) - Score 3,024
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A new network operator and ISP called Lit Fibre has launched today with an aspiration to deploy their own 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network across 500,000 UK homes by 2026, albeit starting with several small to medium-sized towns in Wiltshire (England).

In fairness Lit Fibre isn’t an entirely unknown quantity as we did report on them once before last year (here), but at the time they were known by the similarly unfamiliar named of Broadreach Networks and had just put in an application for Code Powers from Ofcom – this helps to speed-up the deployment of new networks and cut costs by reducing the number of licenses needed for street works.

The provider’s CEO, Tom Williams, is a familiar name to some as he is the former COO of Hyperoptic (until January 2019). Prior to that he was also the MD of BE Unlimited and the head of O2 UK’s LLU (unbundled copper broadband and phone) rollout, which gives him a fair bit of experience in this field.

Since then, it appears as if Broadreach Networks has changed its name to Lit Fibre (January 2021) and is understood to have received an equity investment from Newlight Partners LP to help fund the initial rollout. We don’t know how much money has been put on the table, but the ISP did start last year with around £3m worth of shares.

The Rollout Plan

Lit Fibre informed ISPreview.co.uk that they’re committed to bringing their full-fibre broadband service to 500,000 homes by 2026, although initially they’ll start by targeting the Wiltshire towns of Corsham and Chippenham.

Work to install the new 10Gbps (1Gbps for homes) capable fibre infrastructure is said to be “already well underway“, with the service expected to go live from June 2021, although at the time of writing we couldn’t spot much activity on the ground (not uncommon for the early phase of a new build, without knowing what street they’re doing).

Tom Williams, CEO Lit Fibre, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We’re delighted to launch our services in Corsham and Chippenham. The past year has clearly demonstrated the importance of having a robust home internet connection in our digital world. With more people using their home broadband for work, school, video streaming, gaming, and other bandwidth intensive applications, the pressure on copper-based services is only increasing.

We recognise that consistent speeds, a reliable connection and excellent customer service are all important factors for today’s consumer. By switching to a full-fibre network, consumers can enjoy an enhanced experience, without compromise.”

The choice of Corsham and Chippenham to start their rollout is a curious one since those two neighbouring towns are anything but inactive for gigabit-capable networks. Openreach have a few patches of FTTP in both locations, while Virgin Media covers a sizeable chunk of Chippenham and Gigaclear also has a presence there.

In fact, Gigaclear has a significant deployment plan for the area, which will see them cover more of Chippenham and most of Corsham over the next few months. Suffice to say that Lit Fibre will be starting life as the underdog in an area where three established rivals are already playing, although so far they seem to all be largely avoiding one another, at least for now.

As it stands Lit Fibre’s website is fairly sparse on details, but we’re informed that prices will start from £30 per month and symmetric speed packages will range from 100Mbps and go up to 500Mbps and 1Gbps.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Cheesemp says:

    Just the usual moan but I wish these firms would target small towns once in a while rather than keep over building VM/Openreach FTTP etc. Just uploading a 11Gb virtual machine image while working from home and its been a long afternoon on an end of the line FTTC connection…

    (And yes I know there are worse off than me but the constant overbuild is frustrating. I suspect if VM ever roll out into my part of Hampshire so will some altnet/Openreach bring Fibre shortly after 🙁 )

    1. Avatar Arbortheus says:

      Google Vagrant, VM images are so last year

  2. Avatar Tom says:

    Gigaclear is very much doing the outskirts of Chippenham at the moment with one of the Secondary schools with a few around it because I assume it was little to no extra work.

    Openreach deployment on the other hand has more or less comw to a complete stol since October so nows their opportunity to grab their position in Chippenham

  3. Avatar Tom says:

    Gigaclear are only covering the small villages around Chippenham so wouldn’t put them in direct competition.

    Openreach have started their deployment on one of the estates in Chippenham, but there has been no further postcodes going live sine October last year.

    Both of the above in mind, this gives Lit Fibre a perfect opportunity to ramp up their roll out and be the dominant player in Chippenham.

    Corsham and Chippenham is an interesting place to start mind considering the company is headed in Reading. I suspect that they have a prescence in the Ark datacentre in Corsham and this explains why they’re doing Corsham and Chippenham potentially?

    1. Avatar Tom says:

      EDIT:

      Gigaclear are also deploying to one of the secondary schools and a few surrounding properties presumably as it was little to no extra work to do the additional properties.

  4. Avatar Skyeci says:

    Bring it to Frome. Bar vm there is practically no fttp here…

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