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Jurassic Fibre and Virgin Media May Battle Over Full Fibre in Bridgwater

Saturday, May 8th, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 2,904
virgin media fibre trench and cable duct

Alternative UK network ISP Jurassic Fibre, which at the end of last year announced that their 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network would be deploying across the Somerset market town of Bridgwater (here), may soon face off against a new deployment from rival operator Virgin Media in the same location.

Until recently the only gigabit-capable network in Bridgwater was from Openreach, which has extended their FTTP infrastructure into a few small corners of the town, but their overall reach remains quite limited. The operator has also deployed a fair bit of their slower hybrid fibre G.fast technology.

Since then Jurassic Fibre has also just begun to rollout a rival full fibre network across the town, which looks to be a more extensive build than Openreach and is being supported by a £250m commitment from Fern Trading Limited. All of this forms part of the operator’s ambition to cover 350,000 premises across South West England by the end of 2024 (here and here).

However, despite the already rapidly growing local competition, sources have informed ISPreview.co.uk that Virgin Media – via contractor Avonline – are also getting ready to build a rival FTTP network in some of the same areas as Jurassic Fibre. At the time of writing the planning permits for this have not yet been approved (i.e. they don’t show up in public), but they have been raised and will most likely be granted unless withdrawn.

The move would no doubt place additional competitive pressures on Jurassic Fibre, although clearly Virgin Media feels the area is big enough to support three gigabit-capable rivals in the same space. We’d normally expect to see that in a dense city, but the model can become strained in market towns. In any case it looks as if local residents in some areas could soon be enjoying a choice of three gigabit speed broadband networks.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media’s spokesperson would only confirm that they were exploring such a build. “As part of our Project Lightning network expansion programme, we’re currently exploring the possibility of bringing our ultrafast broadband services to the Bridgwater area. No final decision has been made,” said the operator.

Leave a Comment
18 Responses
  1. Ryan says:

    Can an altnet do a press release to say they are coming to my town?

    Even if they have no interest it might actually make BT build FTTP or Virgin bother to do something other than watch the boxes go a lighter shade of grey.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      What’s the town?

    2. Gary says:

      @mark

      Dunkirk

    3. Fastman says:

      ryan

      why on earth do you think that an Altnet press Release who incluence the openreach commercial decision case – unoless you swallowed all the conspiracy theories about how openreach makes its decision —

    4. CarlT says:

      Fastman: altnet build definitely influences the commercial case.

      If Openreach are the only network they’re getting all the fixed line business so spending on FTTP will bring minimal additional revenue additional revenue – a few quid per premises that buys initially per month.

      However, take a customer away from someone else or retain a customer and that’s a lot more.

      The revenue difference between zero and 160 or 300 Mbit is obviously more than between 80 Mbit FTTC and 160 or 300 FTTP.

      I can’t see it being a coincidence that Morley took Garforth’s Fibre First spot in Leeds just as CityFibre began building there, or Hunslet and Rothwell going FTTP just as CityFibre are building there.

      Not a conspiracy theory: good business sense.

  2. LPP says:

    Considering nearly every box and pole is full with Jurassic Fibre plant due to PIA, this will be an interesting test for it as Virgin filled just as many boxes in Burnham-On-Sea.

  3. Alan Chapman says:

    When u come to my street as my street not got virgin and other street have just 100 yds away from mine and I been contact virgin ask them they say it cost £250,000 aye right

  4. Chris Evans says:

    Great news! Hopefully this would apply pressure to Jurassic Fibre to lower their prices, albeit with Virgin requiring a contract commitment in comparison.

    I assume Virgin FTTP follows the same pricing structure as their docsis packages?

    The Jurassic price of £95 per month for the Gig package feels far too inflated when looking at other small providers, regardless as to whether many need it.

    1. Roger_Gooner says:

      VM’s prices are the same throughout the UK and regardless of whether the network is HFC or FTTP.

  5. Aivis says:

    Virgin is bad not exactly full fibre and not needed. The more choice we have in Bridgwater the better but quality also matters. Most important thing for us is symmetrical speeds and affordable prices. Don’t lower upload speeds this is not good. If you provide full fttp i expect same upload speeds and download. Otherwise it’s waste of money.

    1. Roger_Gooner says:

      At the end of 2020 VM had 5,626,700 broadband customers, including a net addition of 148,000 over 2019. So, clearly millions don’t think it’s a “waste of money”.

    2. 125us says:

      Why are symmetrical speeds the most important thing? What’s your use case? What are you doing that requires it?

  6. Aivis says:

    Jurrasic fibre only gives you 300mbps and little 60mbps upload speed for £50 per month. This is really bad offer and makes whole company look really bad. First of all price is insane and overpriced. Other thing why upload speed is 60mbps give the whole 300mbps. I wonder how stable the connection is with them. Pathetic clowns no comments.

    1. NE555 says:

      BT’s standard price for 300/50 broadband is £49.99 per month, with a 24 month contract and £9.99 setup fee.

      Zen’s price for the same is £49.00 per month, with 18 month contract, £29.99 setup fee, and no voice service.

      I don’t think you can call Jurassic’s pricing “Insane” or “Overpriced” when it directly matches some of the major players.

      You can get it cheaper from Talktalk (£40 per month, £4.95 setup, for 500/70 with no voice) – but not everybody wants to deal with them.

    2. Chris Evans says:

      Toob offer 900/900mbps for £25 per month on an 18 month contract.

      Hyperopic offer 900/900mbps for £52 a month (No contract).

      Wightfibre offer 900/900mbps for £55 a month (24-month contract)

      Jurassic Fibre offer 950/200mbps for £95 a month (No contract).

      Comparing them to Toob, Jurassic are almost 4x more expensive as well as offering a product only capable of just over 22% of Toobs upload speed.

      Even Jurassic’s 300/60mbps package is 2x more expensive than Toob’s 900/900Mbps offering.

      Suffice it to say, I’d agree that Jurassic’s pricing is insane and overpriced when comparing them to other Altnets.
      They need some competition in these areas to knock their prices down a peg or two.

    3. 125us says:

      When you say ‘knock their prices down a peg or two’ what you actually mean is ‘reduce the return investors see and make it less likely that they’ll get funding for more rollouts.’

      These operators aren’t charities, investors demand a return. If they don’t get one they’ll put their money into something else.

    4. Ben says:

      @Chris Evans I think it’s a bit unfair comparing Toob (a provider who only serve Southampton, a large city) and Hyperoptic (who focus on MDUs in cities) with Jurassic Fibre (a provider who serve rural communities across the south west). That being said, if residents have the choice between Jurassic Fibre and Toob or Hyperoptic then I’m sure they’ll be welcome to avoid Jurassic Fibre.

    5. Chris Evans says:

      Nowhere have I suggested that these operators are charities and pointing out the high pricing & suggesting competition would help lower/knock these down certainly doesn’t suggest that in the slightest.
      Plenty of Altnets operate in competitive areas (Resulting in lower prices) whilst still making a return.

      Regardless of where Toob and Jurassic operate, this doesn’t address the strange arrangement of Jurassic offering a much lower upload speed in comparison to other Altnets on their top-tier package. I could be wrong but both Toob and Jurassic use PON for their networks, so would both suffer from very similar upstream limitations as associated with the technology.

      I’d be very interested to see the reasoning behind this arrangement.

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