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AltNet ISP Giganet to Open UK Full Fibre Network to Wholesale

Friday, Dec 16th, 2022 (2:46 pm) - Score 3,208

Fern Trading-backed broadband provider Giganet (Cuckoo) has revealed that they intend to open up their new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network, which is being rolled out across the South of England, to wholesale during 2023, so that other UK ISPs can sell services over it.

The operator’s current £250m investment plan is to cover a total of 300,000 premises by the end of 2025 – across poorly served parts of Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and West Sussex (here). As part of that they’ve already announced builds for locations such as Wimborne, Ferndown, Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Henfield, Hythe, Totton, Fair Oak, Tadley, Marlborough, Devizes, Hurstpierpoint and Storrington etc.

NOTE: Fern Trading also backs a number of other full fibre builds from Jurassic Fibre to Swish Fibre, AllPoints Fibre and Vorboss.

However, so far Giganet, which also sells services to homes and businesses over Cityfibre and Openreach’s national full fibre networks, has kept access to its own FTTP build closed (vertically integrated). But all of that is about to change. The provider’s CEO, Jarlath Finnegan, just told telcotitans that they anticipate being able to launch a wholesale offer “probably towards the end of 2023“, although it’s still a bit too soon to be exact.

The reality is, you just have to [do wholesale] if you want to maximise the opportunity that’s available“, he said. “If [alternative networks and ISPs] don’t go wholesale, they’re just going to be murdered [by competitors] … Most of the savvy investments have always figured that you’re going to have to go wholesale if you want to compete against Openreach.”

As a former business-to-business focused provider, Giganet is well positioned to understand how best to attract ISPs. This is important because there’s a huge difference between simply offering wholesale and making the related products attractive enough to entice ISPs. In some cases, we’ve seen providers that only offer wholesale as a way to access state aid supported contracts, but they’re often not strong enough to attract lots of ISPs (it costs time and money for ISPs to adopt and promote services over a new network).

According to the report, Giganet also sees wholesale as being linked to the looming wave of market consolidation. Put simply, the operator aims to be one of the consolidators, rather than the consolidated. As a result they’re currently eyeing up potential mergers and acquisitions, whether they add network assets, customers, or partnerships in business or consumer services.

The article also reveals something else that we haven’t seen before, which is the claim that they’ve so far managed to cover more than 50,000 homes with their own FTTP build (it’s unclear whether these are all ‘Ready for Service‘ premises or not), and they expect to reach around 100,000 by June 2023. Giganet hasn’t been building for long and so are now moving out of the training wheels stage and into the rapid build phase.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ben says:

    Interesting — do we think the other Fern Fibre brands will also go wholesale?

    1. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Yes of course, it’s inevitable. Fern setup Vitrifi in 2021 as a group company to build a common software platform for all of their brands. Presuming Vitrifi will enforce a common wholesale offering too.

      See page 13 https://ferntrading.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2022/01/Octopus-IHT-Fern-annual-report-30-June-2021.pdf

      So no doubt Vorboss, Swish and Jurassic will follow Giganet. Once the founders of those Fern brands have met objectives set by Fern, possibly premises past / connected customers – I expect we will see all 4 brands rolled into one. A smart move for Fern in setting up Vitrifi ahead of time to ensure this goes well.

  2. Avatar photo Fatmark says:

    Cover up for all lies about homes passed and rfs, why so few customers they can not be that bad at marketing

    1. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

      Got to be honest I’m a little disappointed by Giganet’s role out myself. Was promised I could sign up in October, then November and now 2023. Get a new date each time I ask. Its odd you can see they are doing a lot of work but seem in no hurry to activate anything until the whole area (4 towns) are fully laid. Got little choice but to wait. Trooli is only alternative and they are in the same position.

  3. Avatar photo StillWaiting says:

    I’m hugely disappointed by Giganet’s lack of FTTP progress in Tadley – since middle of last year, every time I contact them, it’s always “3 months away”, despite there being a big green box just down the road and OR conduit (for a nearby community fibre project serving a small group of houses) running along the road at the end of my drive…

    I used to see some signs of actual work going on last year, but that stopped, and now….nothing. Seriously not impressed, if they can’t or won’t do the work, at least tell us and let some other company finish the job

    1. Avatar photo stuckat30 says:

      Signed up nearly 18 months ago in Tadley, a lot of digging up roads and temporary traffic lights and now gone quiet. Messaged them today, to receive the following response.

      ”unfortunately we’ve had some issues crop up on our Tadley build which has caused some significant delays. We’re working to rectify these issues as soon as possible and once they have been sorted, we will be able to provide you with a realistic expectation for when our service will be available to you.”

      There is very little information provided or updates from them, just hope customer service is better if it ever arrives.

  4. Avatar photo Stuker says:

    Giganet is a classic case of over promising and under delivering. They rolled into Storrington around this time last year with great fanfare and said they would be connecting homes by late summer 22 and after a flurry of early build activity have all but vanished without a connection being established. The target connection date keep being pushed out by three months with current target “by end of Q1”. They have left rolls of fibre tacked to telegraph poles in the area. Is this just like towels on the sun beds ?

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