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Wildanet ISP Starts GBP50m Full Fibre Rollout in Cornwall UK

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 (1:56 pm) - Score 936
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Broadband ISP Wildanet has announced the official start of their £50m programme to deploy a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across Cornwall in England, which will start with the provider’s home town of Liskeard before moving into the surrounding rural areas within the PL14 postcode.

Until recently Wildanet tended to be more focused upon deploying Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks to serve rural parts of the county, but that all changed after they secured £50m from the Gresham House British Strategic Investment Infrastructure Fund (BSIF) at the end of last year (here).

NOTE: The Gresham House fund is separately backing Scottish ISP Borderlink to the tune of £10.5m for a similar build in North England and South Scotland (here).

The provider’s previous announcement stated that their new FTTP network, expected to be rolled out over the next 3 years (i.e. by 2023/24), would combine with their wireless one to reach “60% of Cornwall’s properties” while also creating up to 98 new Cornish jobs. But until now we had no idea what the rollout plan for all this would look like.

The latest development states that about 6,000 premises are expected to be able to receive the new service and work in the Liskeard area should be completed by “early Autumn” 2021. Wildanet’s website also mentions that gigabit fibre broadband will be coming to the PL13, TR26 and TR27 postcode areas “soon“.

Ian Calvert, Founder and CEO of Wildanet, said:

“We are delighted to be marking this milestone moment for Wildanet and for the many communities in Cornwall still struggling with poor connectivity and at risk of being left behind by the digital revolution.

Fast, reliable broadband is an essential part of modern life as has been demonstrated more than ever in the last 12 months when we have all become so much more dependent on our internet connections. With this trend likely to continue and a growing number of devices within the home, having a fast and reliable connection is going to become an increasingly important part of our day-to-day lives.

We don’t want anyone left behind and our mission is to bridge the digital divide and ensure that all communities and businesses, however remote or rural across Cornwall, have access to the internet they need and deserve.”

Customers of the new service can expect to pay from £39.95 per month (discounted to £19.99 for the first 12 months) to receive a 200Mbps (100Mbps upload) package with free installation on a 24-month term, which rises to £89.95 (discounted to £44.99) if you want their top 900Mbps (400Mbps upload) package.

Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall, said:

“Access to fast and reliable broadband is hugely important so it is great to see Wildanet beginning the installation of its new network in Liskeard, bringing the benefits of gigabit capable connectivity to the town and surrounding rural communities.

It’s an exciting first step in the expansion of their network across Cornwall and good news for families, businesses and the wider Cornwall economy.”

The biggest difficulty for Wildanet here is likely to stem from that fact that Openreach (BT) have already deployed a fairly extensive FTTP network across much of the county, which also gives customers plenty of ISP options to choose from, although some of it may still be hobbled by a 330Mbps speed limit on older ECI kit (here).

Full fibre competition in dense urban areas is one thing, but trying to do the same in smaller communities – where the cost of deployment is much higher – can make it much more difficult to gain a return on the original investment. Not that local consumers will be too concerned about all that, since the added choice (competition) will no doubt be welcomed.

The provider also hopes to harness some funding through the Government’s relaunched rural gigabit voucher scheme. But that will only be possible in the remaining communities that can’t yet access full fibre services from Openreach or other rivals.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Ex Telecom Engineer says:

    A 330Mb/s download speed is more than enough for 99.999% of home users, since full 1Gbs download speeds wouldn’t be realised due to bottlenecks elsewhere in the networks, and would only really appeal to fan boy types. Our household currently uses Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Sky Go with an average download speed of 33Mb/s on FTTC, without issue. If a business required a symmetrical connection speed, of say 100GB/s, couldn’t BT and Others just install terminal equipment on different wavelengths, than the standard DWDM wavelengths utilised by the GPON service? Thereby offering bespoke services using the GPON infrastructure, but separate from the standard service, and with higher levels of encryption. I have no idea if BT plan to offer bespoke channels in tandem with the standard offerings, but wavelength specific SFP/XFP’s are already common on networks and relatively cheap, so it would be really easy to do.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      BT has no symmetric FTTP services, you’d have to use a leased line service for this from them.

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      The guy mentioned bespoke wavelengths deployed on request for a specific customer. These wouldn’t be regular consumer GEA-FTTP.

      They could indeed, however whether they would or not is a different matter. FYI: 100 Gb/s over any distance requires a pair of fibres while FTTP provisions just the one for right now. They’re more likely to use spare fibre to aggregation node and manifold with a point to point service given they’d have to deliver a new drop anyway.

      Going forward we might see lower speed symmetrical services being delivered over FTTP – XGSPON is a shared 10 Gb/s and the kit is already at the exchange for this besides a new SFP.

  2. Avatar zxcvbnm says:

    Liskeard, probably the cheapest place to buy a house in Cornwall. Brave choice.

  3. Avatar Alex says:

    It’d be great if we could get some of this in Truro; despite the alleged “fairly extensive FTTP network across much of the county”, the best connection that money can currently buy here is an 18 Mbps FTTC connection with bonus regular dropouts! Multiple engineers have told us the FTTC cabinets are oversubscribed, but Openreach have no current plans to deploy FTTP here.

    1. Avatar FFF says:

      Good news, Openreach are building more FTTP in Truro commercially, announced last year
      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/09/openreach-confirm-67-uk-areas-for-next-fttp-broadband-rollout.html

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