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Broadband ISP Fibrus Extend FTTP Rollout to Northern England

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021 (11:13 am) - Score 1,752
fibrus fttp street works

Belfast-based ISP Fibrus, which has spent the past couple of years deploying a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network across Northern Ireland, has today announced that their build is being extended to include 300,000 premises in the North of England (i.e. Cumbria, Northumberland and North Yorkshire).

The company, which is backed by M&G’s Infracapital and holds the £165m Project Stratum (here) contract for N.Ireland (they’ve already covered 50,000 premises in N.I and that will double by the end of 2021), is already building their first network in England – starting with the historic Penrith market town in Cumbria’s rural Eden Valley area.

NOTE: Infracapital also owns or has stakes in Gigaclear, Ogi (Spectrum Internet), Neos Networks and WightFibre etc.

The current plan is then to extend this in order to cover 300,000 premises (homes and businesses) in “118 regional towns” across parts of Cumbria, Northumberland and North Yorkshire within the next 3 years (i.e. by mid to late 2024).

Sadly, the announcement doesn’t tell us how much funding has been committed to their build in England or name any other rollout locations, although they do make clear an intention to bid for contracts as part of the UK Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit programme – this reflects future expansion beyond their committed rollout to 118 region towns.

Conal Henry, Fibrus Co-Founder and Chair, said:

“People living in small towns and rural areas of the UK are tired of having no choice when it comes to broadband networks. For years they’ve been hearing only promises of proper broadband from the phone companies. Fibrus has shown in Northern Ireland that we can take on the rural network monopoly and win, so we plan to do exactly the same thing here in the North of England.

We will build in 118 small towns in Cumbria and across the North East. Beyond that, we will be bidding for BDUK Project Gigabit subsided programmes that will be launched in the coming months. If we are successful, Fibrus will deliver full fibre broadband networks to a large swathe of rural and regional England, areas which have previously only ever been offered an upgraded phone line from the incumbent.”

Customers of the provider typically pay from £39.99 per month (currently discounted to £19.99) for an unlimited 150Mbps package with a router and free installation, which rises to £84.99 per month for their top 1000Mbps tier. We believe these are on 24-month contract terms.

The biggest challenge for Fibrus is they’ll be entering a market in England that is already chocked full of alternative network providers, although gigabit-capable network coverage in rural and suburban areas is still weak. The operator’s first target of Penrith is also on Openreach’s FTTP rollout plan (they’ve already started to rollout), although it’s possible that Fibrus could try to build faster and take a first mover advantage.

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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
5 Responses
  1. Nicolas says:

    Hi,
    How come County Durham doesn’t get a mention??

    Thanks,
    Nic

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      The obvious guess would be because they haven’t yet identified any rollout locations there or don’t have enough funding to include them, yet.

  2. C says:

    I see them pulling in cables along the roads in County Fermanagh, but haven’t heard of anyone actually connected and singing their praise. Probably another damp squib from our waste of space Government. After years of broken promises and interviews raising our hopes, the proof is in the delivery!

    1. Kenneth says:

      A quick google search shows that their latest customers are a happy bunch. Just because you dont know anyone that is a customer doesnt mean no one is.

    2. Anon says:

      It’s improved recently after a bad run there. I have to credit them for admitting to their mistake, refunding customers or suspending billing while they capped people. TBF the cap was still faster than any DSL on offer.

      I still wouldn’t have them ahead of Openreach FTTP but they’re rapidly improving. I just worry the expansion into England might take some of the focus off NI. Hopefully they follow through on their Stratum promise and deliver FTTP to the rest of NI, many of whom desperately need it still stuck on ADSL at Dial up speeds!

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