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Spectrum Internet (Ogi) Start Huge Full Fibre Rollout in Wales

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 (12:05 am) - Score 4,056
spectrum_internet_fibre_street_cabinet

Homes in Abergavenny, Rhoose, Llantwit Major and Haverfordwest will be some of the first to benefit from UK ISP Spectrum Internet‘s £200m project to deploy a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network in South Wales, which aims to cover 150,000 premises by late 2025. The provider has also rebranded itself to Ogi.

The project, which is backed by Infracapital (i.e. the infrastructure investment arm of M&G Plc) and could result in the creation of a further 140 jobs (plus up to 300 more in their supply chain), was first announced in October 2020 (here). But at the time we were only told that the work would start sometime in 2021 and focus on “towns and villages” in parts of Monmouthshire, the Vale of Glamorgan and Pembrokeshire.

NOTE: Infracapital also owns or has stakes in Gigaclear, Neos Networks, Fibrus and WightFibre etc.

Since then a lot of work has been done on the planning side for the three regions of South Wales, which among other things has seen the ISP appoint various civil engineering contractors to support their build (e.g. O’Conner Utilities [Central South Wales], Avonline Networks [South East Wales] and Network Plus [South West Wales]). The operator also intends to build into the city of Cardiff.

The 150,000 premises target mentioned above reflects Phase 1 of their deployment plan, although there’s already talk of plans for subsequent Phases that could cover “at least350,000 premises. We can get some idea of all this by looking at the Core Network build for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 (the second phase will extend their backbone into mid-Wales), which will be built as a series of resilient DWDM fibre “rings.”

The text highlighted in YELLOW below reflects exchanges that they also plan to “unbundle” for GEA FTTP services, where available from Openreach (i.e. they’ll build their own FTTP, but also continue to sell Openreach’s products to help maximise coverage). Meanwhile, the core will be connected back to internet exchanges in Cardiff, Newport, Manchester and London (the fibre backbone is said to be “upgradeable to 100’s of Gigabits per second” when needed).

spectrum_internet_core_network_june_2021

For those who like technical details, the provider looks as if it will be deploying dual optic combination line cards that enables them to support both XGS-PON and GPON simultaneously on any port of the OLT (Optical Line Terminal), which gives them plenty of flexibility for future upgrades etc.

The build will also be supported by Spectrum’s subsidiary, Net Support UK (NSUK). This is relevant because, back in February last year, the Welsh Government awarded a 20-year+ concession to NSUK that gave them the rights to access the Welsh Government’s existing ducts and trunk roads in order to install new fibre (here). The operator will thus be deploying their fibre alongside those trunk roads, mostly for backhaul (starting Oct 2021).

spectrum_internet_NSUK_trunk_road_concession

As we said earlier, the build will begin in Abergavenny, Rhoose, Llantwit Major and Haverfordwest this month, before moving into other areas. The specialist law firm Trenches Law has also been appointed to do the provider’s wayleaves for all this (legal land/property access agreements).

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change (Welsh Gov), said:

“It’s great to see this build get underway and for Ogi to start on their journey across south Wales. The scheme will contribute to our ability to deliver our ambitious Digital Strategy for Wales, and will help support Wales’ post-Covid recovery.”

Ben Allwright, CEO of Ogi, said:

“We wanted to celebrate our Welsh focus with a positive and engaging brand. In Wales when someone shouts ‘Ogi!’ it’s impossible not to smile – or respond. That’s why we chose Ogi as our name: it’s about connecting people to one another, which is exactly what we do, digitally.”

Spectrum’s project represents a truly significant development for Wales and one that should help to complement the Welsh Government and Building Digital UK’s existing £52.5m Phase Two Superfast Cymru contract with Openreach (BT), which is currently working to extend their rival FTTP network out to cover a further 39,000 premises (here).

However, we suspect that BT and Virgin Media’s separate commercial plans may also end up competing with Spectrum Internet in some areas, but it’s too early to know what kind of impact that might have. But as always the extra competition will also mean more choice for consumers.

As for the new name, Ogi, that will take a little getting used to. Spectrum was a good and familiar brand name, we’ll miss it.

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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
9 Responses
  1. FTTP4WALES says:

    This announcement is really exciting.
    What’s so good is probably the first time I’ve seen the network paths layed out in the illustrations above, it also goes to show how complex building out a fibre network like this is..
    More positive news for Wales..
    It is always a good thing.
    .. I’ll be shouting “Ogi, Ogi, Ogi! “

    1. Davidwantsfibre says:

      I thought Oggy was a cornish word, is Ogi Welsh for Oggy? Also I thought in Wales the term was changed to Maggie, Maggie, Maggie after the coal miners went on strike. Maybe this new name is a reference to that.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oggy_Oggy_Oggy

      As long as they build some new fibre in South Wales it will at least encourage Openreach to get on with their job.

  2. Phil says:

    They’ve already started in Cardiff. I have seen them laying pipe for a month or so now.

    1. Anna says:

      Aye- Cardiff which has several already – seems these provider all want to ram into 1 town than take a town that has none.

  3. Anna says:

    Yeah. The core network might well go to Newport Savoy as it’s the only exchange big enough to take it – and it’s also MY exchange BUT

    Newport won’t be getting it. There is 0 activity around the exchange for the next year – apart from 1 junction of the M4 getting some BT love.

    We were on that list for 2026 but who knows.. Spectrum should be ashamed – leaving Newport out yet claiming to be a welsh provider!

  4. CarlT says:

    This is always good to see.

  5. chris conder says:

    Great news, power to the people. Altnets rock. Oi Oi Oi.

  6. Mintminty says:

    Yet leaving a massive black hole in the centre and sticking to major main roads while those of us in the valleys around ammanford pontardawe and ystelfera are left out.

  7. dee.jay says:

    Excellent news!

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