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ISP Orbital Net Starts Rollout of UK FTTP Broadband Network

Monday, June 7th, 2021 (8:00 am) - Score 2,208
vfast-orbital-net-van

Orbital Net (Vfast), which operates its own Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network in various parts of England, has finally started to deploy their own gigabit speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network in rural parts of Kent and Sussex. The work is being supported by a multi-million pound investment from Mobeus.

Aside from their existing FWA network, the ISP has also been offering some FTTC and FTTP services for a while too, albeit mostly over separate network platforms (OFNL and Openreach). But last year we spotted the first hint that Orbital Net were about to start building some of their own full fibre infrastructure (here), while also harnessing Openreach’s existing cable ducts in order to help run some fibre (Physical Infrastructure Access).

NOTE: The rollout is supported by the Government’s Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme.

Since then, the operator has been busy hiring and training up a new team of fibre engineers to conduct their rollout. All of this was followed at the end of last year by what initially appeared to be somewhat of a pilot build to connect up the Coghurst Hall Holiday Park near Hastings, although this is actually part of a much bigger deal to reach 14,000 holiday homes under the Park Holidays Group.

The provider has now informed us that they’ve just completed one project of 59 houses around the remote rural community of Woolage Village. Plans are also being prepared for a much bigger expansion, although at the time of writing those have yet to be finalised (we’ll cover that once it’s ready). But poorly served rural parts of Kent seem likely to be first on their list, as well as local business parks etc.

All of this is being backed by a new multi-million pound investment from Mobeus, although Orbital Net hasn’t put a specific figure on this. Orbital’s shareholders were advised by Clearwater International (Corporate Finance) and Capital Law (Legal). Mobeus was advised by RSM (Financial and Tax), CIL (Commercial), Analysis Mason (Technical), Grant Thornton (Tax Structuring) and Squire Patton Boggs (Legal).

Darren Brown, Orbital CEO, says:

“The insatiable demand for data isn’t going anywhere and we have a significant opportunity to leverage our established position in Kent. With this new funding and Mobeus’s partnership behind us, we can achieve this with pace and agility.”

Matt Gordon-Smith, Mobeus Investment Manager, adds:

“Orbital offers a critical service in a market with considerable demand drivers. We have been impressed by the business’s existing infrastructure and local knowledge in Kent, combined with the team’s entrepreneurial approach and technical knowledge. We are delighted to partner with them to deliver their vision for the next stage of Orbital’s growth.”

Meanwhile, residential customers in their first village will now be able to choose from various packages that start at £29.99 per month for an unlimited 50Mbps (10Mbps upload) connection on an 18-month term and rise to £84.99 for their top 1000Mbps (250Mbps upload) package. A wireless router is included, and the installation is free with a gigabit voucher.

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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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