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CommunityFibre Expands UK Reach with Box Broadband Gobble

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 (9:39 am) - Score 1,536
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London-focused broadband ISP CommunityFibre, which has so far covered 300,000 homes (plus 12,000 businesses) with their 3Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network, look set to expand outside the UK’s capital city and into parts of Surrey and West Sussex in England with today’s acquisition of Box Broadband.

At present, CommunityFibre expects to cover 400,000 premises in London by the end of 2021 and their near-term build agreements will see them reach 600,000, although they also have a longer-term ambition to cover 1 million UK premises by the end of 2023. Nevertheless, the provider has so far tended to focus their efforts inside the London area.

NOTE: The acquisition is supported by CF shareholders Warburg Pincus LLC, DTCP, Amber Infrastructure and Railpen.

By comparison, Box Broadband has already extended their own intendent FTTP network to cover 7,000 homes in a number of locations across parts of Surrey and West Sussex (England). Some of the locations they’ve reached include Ewhurst, Walliswood, Ellen’s Green and Cranleigh.

At the end of 2019 Box Broadband’s CEO, Graham Sargood, told ISPreview.co.uk that their ambition was to cover 10,000 homes in the two counties over the next 12 months (this has yet to be achieved). After that, they hoped to cover a total of 160,000 homes by around the end of 2023 (here), but we haven’t seen any updates since then.

However, today’s announcement means that CF will gain more expertise in suburban/rural builds, while also sharing its own expertise and experience in the industry with Box Broadband. Box itself will remain an independent operational entity trading under the Box brand in the South of England. Graham Sargood will continue to lead this operation.

The majority of the new investment from CF will thus support an “accelerated network roll-out” to 200,000 homes across the South of England by 2024.

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre, said:

“Box Broadband has already established itself as a provider of fast and reliable trusted services to communities in Surrey and West Sussex that are underserved from a speed perspective. As such, this is an exciting opportunity for us to invest in a company that shares our vision of affordable connectivity for all, and to expand across the South.

With our backing from Warburg Pincus, DTCP, Amber Infrastructure and Railpen we will be able to support Box Broadband’s ambitious growth plans and provide the operational experience, as well as technical and commercial knowledge of best practice and purchasing scale in order to build quickly and efficiently.”

Graham Sargood, CEO of Box Broadband, said:

“We are delighted to receive investment from Community Fibre who has established itself as champions for the many underserved communities in London. With their investment and operational scale, we will be able to quickly ramp up our build and provide high speed and affordable services to many more customers in our target areas.”

We’ve long expected to see more consolidation among the growing mass of alternative full fibre network providers and this could thus perhaps be seen as one of the opening salvos, as more established altnets look to rapidly grow into new spaces through acquisitions. CityFibre’s prior acquisition of FibreNation from UK ISP TalkTalk is another example. But what we don’t know is precisely how much money has changed hands above.

Residential customers of CF’s service can currently take an unlimited 50Mbps package for just £20 per month for the first 24 months of service (£25 thereafter), which rises to £99 per month (£110 thereafter) for their top 3Gbps plan. By comparison, Box charges £29.95 per month for 100Mbps and that goes up to £59.95 for their top 1Gbps (900Mbps average) package – plus £149.95 for their one-off installation fee.

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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
2 Responses
  1. Ben says:

    Congratulations to CommunityFibre on this expansion! Would be great to see them expand to some of the under-served Mid Sussex towns (e.g. Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill). I know that Haywards Heath has ~500 MDU units within a 250m radius, and further units scatted throughout the town.

  2. zzing says:

    CF still need to offer things like static IP addresses and work on the actual service, as while the network is great, the service leaves a lot to be desired.

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