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ISP Country Connect Expands Full Fibre Cover to 3,709 Premises

Saturday, May 13th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 1,264

Alternative network provider Country Connect, which since 2021 has been building a new gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network in South Wales (here), has confirmed that their relatively small and rural-focused network now covers 3,709 premises (up from 2,750 in April 2022).

The ISP first started building across the village of Ponthir and town of Caerleon, although they’ve since expanded to include parts of Usk and have another 166 homes currently in build (due to be completed by the end of Q2 2023). A good chunk of this new fibre is being run via Openreach’s existing cable ducts and poles using PIA (Physical Infrastructure Access).

NOTE: The premises passed figure of 3,709 are all said to be Ready for Service (RFS).

The provider, which is “very proud” of being a “micro-entity altnet” that focuses on poorly serve communities, has also managed to grow their customer base to 745 (i.e. take-up of 21%) and they’re currently adding another 35 subscribers per month. “We are not setting the world alight, but we are consistently delivering across our very small coverage area,” said Mark Tomlinson, CEO of Country Connect.

However, the provider is admittedly still a bit behind their previous target, which last year was set at reaching a total of 5,000 premises (RFS) by 1st September 2022. Tomlinson confirmed that they’ve had to revise their build schedule after suffering from some of the same strains as other networks, thus they now expect to reach 4,500 premises (RFS) by the end of 2023.

Otherwise, customers of the service tend to pay from £25 per month for a 100Mbps (symmetric) package, which rises to £59.99 for their top 900Mbps package (500Mbps upload). The ISP also offers a “social tariff” for those on benefits, which gives you symmetric speeds of 50Mbps for just £15 per month, as well as an included router and free installation on a 12-month term.

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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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5 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Spyder Lodge says:

    Maybe the micro entity altnets will end up creating more shareholder value than most ? Great to see community focused altnet rather than all the normal corporate PR with unrealistic build plans.

    1. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      I hope that some of the altnets manage to carve a viable path, and this certainly sounds a little different. Underneath the slightly different focus the critical maths is the same, with the same primary dependency on how much they invest in total divided by paying customers. And crucial to that is the conversion rate amongst properties passed, and then churn.

      In this case of course the company’s main vulnerability is probably if the Welsh Assembly are pushing money at OR (via Project G or other mechanisms), because the commercial case for OR FTTP is presumably poor compared to OR’s other investment options.

  2. Avatar photo John Evans says:

    When I had Fibre installed by openreach for talk talk nobody told me I would loose the land line .be warned

    1. Avatar photo Peter says:

      It says on TalkTalk’s website when signing up and is in the terms of contract, clearly you didn’t read this so don’t blame anyone else

    2. Avatar photo Mike says:

      If keeping the landline (PSTN) number is important, the right thing to do is have it
      ported to a VOIP (Voice over internet) provider. I used Sipgate, and it costs £25.

      There is an advantage in this method, the ‘landline’ connection is then independent of
      your broadband supplier. Hence should a cheaper altnet go by your door the landline
      stays put ….. Move to Spain, and it will still work (:->).

      Be warned, Equinox numbers (ie OR FTTP) currently can not be ported – so Sipgate informed me.
      So do the port just before having FTTP installed.

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