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Grain Bring FTTP Broadband Rollout to Blyth in Northumberland

Friday, Jul 14th, 2023 (8:10 am) - Score 952

Homes and businesses in the Northumberland (England) town and civil parish of Blyth have been named as some of the next to benefit from Grain‘s (Grain Connect) ongoing roll out of a new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network – using Point-to-Point (PTP) architecture.

Grain says they’ve already started work on their latest addition of Blyth, and indeed we were able to spot quite a bit of activity in the areas around Princess Louise Road. In terms of gigabit-capable competitors, Openreach will be the provider’s main competition in the town (they’ve deployed a lot of FTTP), while Virgin Media exists in a few small patches. But it’s worth noting that the town is also on Fibrus’ commercial build plan.

NOTE: Grain recently secured £130m of funding (here), which is on top of the £90m already raised.

The operator has so far unveiled full fibre builds for over 50 locations (plus 150 new build housing developments), which includes parts of various urban areas like Leicester, Liverpool, Accrington, Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Scarborough, Carlisle, Barrow-in-Furness, Hartlepool, Newport, Sunderland, Blackburn and so forth. The initial phase of their rollout aims to cover 400,000 premises, but Grain remains silent on their delivery progress.

Head of Sales and Marketing, Tracy Karam, said:

“We are pleased to bring our services to the residents of Blyth and pride ourselves on great pricing, fair contract terms, reliable service, and super-fast speeds.

Our Loyalty Price Promise means that we never increase our prices mid-contract and ensure fair and competitive pricing when the time comes to renew. This is especially important to us now, with customers being impacted by the rise of broadband prices nationwide, due to inflation.”

Customers of the new service, once live, normally pay from just £25.99 per month for a symmetric 100Mbps package on a 12-month term (currently discounted to £19.99), which goes up to just £49.99 for their top 900Mbps plan (discounted to just £34.99). All of these packages come with unlimited usage, free installation, a router and a pledge to ensure “no in-contract price rises.” The ISP also has a social tariff for those on benefits.

In addition, customers who sign-up in Hull and book an installation by 31st July 2023 will be in with a chance of winning one year of free broadband, in an exclusive prize draw.

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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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17 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Kris says:

    I don’t understand some of Grain’s rollout.

    They seem to build in areas with huge competition.

    Blyth was just completed by openreach and Virgin Media may only be live in some estates but the rest of the town will be enabled very soon as there’s been roadworks all over town installing toby’s.

    There’s a number of very nearby towns that don’t have anything other than FTTC.

    Surely being the first gigabit provider to an area would give a signicsntlg better take up than being second or third to roll out?

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I’d also be very interested to know how they’re doing with take-up and premises passed in such areas, but they haven’t provided any solid figures.. ever. I have observed that they sometimes only seem to focus on poorly served patches within competitive areas, which might play into their strategy, but I’m unsure if that’s their primary approach or just an isolated facet of my own casual observation.

    2. Avatar photo Hello says:

      “I have observed that they sometimes only seem to focus on poorly served patches within competitive areas”

      As somebody close to the area I would have imagined that they’d build in Ashington, Bedlington, Cramlington, Morpeth, Newbiggin, or one of the surrounding towns/villages first instead of Blyth if that was the case.

      Blyth might have a population of 10,000 more than say Ashington or Cramlington but Kris is right about Virgin and Openreach being there already. I think even Hyperopic have a tiny footprint too.

      On a sidenote; Virgin have deployed a massive fibre network across the South East of Northumberland. It’s not active in my town but it has been going live around the area. Avonline appear to be the ones doing it, who also have a unit on an individual estate in Cramlington

    3. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      Presence in a lot of apparently prime areas looks attractive on a prospectus for potential acquirers I guess.

      Obviously it’s a nightmare as far as actually operating and selling go.

      No scale in any particular area so fixed costs per premises high, having to move sales and installation teams around, anything other than super focused advertising is pointless as low coverage meaning higher marketing costs, etc.

      Then as mentioned their penchant for building in areas with Openreach FTTP + VMO2 + CityFibre either built or in progress + altnet that will build way faster due to PIA built or in progress.

      Even plugging gaps doesn’t really make sense. They’re digging all the way: by the time they’ve done a street someone else with scale and coverage in the next one along could’ve planned and built a PIA solution for a fraction the cost per premises passed.

  2. Avatar photo Somerset says:

    3 roads in Weston-super-Mare and no sign of more building.

  3. Avatar photo Steven Brown says:

    Took me 2 months to get a static IP from grain, I feel like they don’t have enough staff to cope with their current customer base never mind all the new areas.

    1. Avatar photo Scott says:

      I have Grain available in my new build that I moved into in April (outside Glasgow). I never signed up though because residential customers couldn’t request a Static IP. Nice to see they’ve now added that option. I ended up just going with Aquiss instead, via Openreach FTTP.

  4. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    When you look at the BIDB site you have the ability to see all postcodes that have at least one house with Grain. And it shows my postcode as having it even though I have just pre-ordered and the cable hasn’t even been laid yet. But the point is, there is barely any postcodes with it in Newcastle. There is probably only maybe 5-10 houses ordered. I am not sure how they are therefore making money. It is a shame as they are very competitively priced!

    1. Avatar photo James says:

      It will only show the postcode if it’s been looked up at least once

    2. Avatar photo M says:

      (bidb author here)

      Grain is a strange one as they accept orders and mark them as serviceable very early on. So a lot of these points now have gone to not live too.
      TBB may have a better idea of their coverage but I’d be very cautious trusting any data regarding Grain.

  5. Avatar photo Chirag says:

    Grain is weird. They’ve covered all streets around us but ours.

    No clue when it’s coming either.

    1. Avatar photo Anthony says:

      If its not been done and the build in the area is complete, its likely not going to be. However what they will say is if you can get a couple of your neighbours to agree to sign up alongside yourself they will do it. This is what they said for me and I had to get my next door neighbour to also sign up.

  6. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    I think a lot of these Altnets are simply (or were) simply speculative investments so that once the cables had been laid in areas that for example City Fibre hadn’t covered then they would become attractive for a takeover by City Fibre (or other) and the investors would make a quick buck. How that works out in practice remains to be seen. Richard Tang of Zen Internet was suggesting this in his to Linx 18 months ago here:- https://youtu.be/bJ73FMEzIBs

    1. Avatar photo Anthony says:

      That might be the case for other ISPs but Grain are weird in that they deliberately build in areas there are already multiple FTTP providers already available. In Newcastle in my area we have CityFibre, Virgin and Openreach and yet Grain are still building here.

  7. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

    Barrow-in-Furness is tiny compared to Newcastle, but trying to find the handful of streets they have actually covered is quite difficult. Seems an odd rollout pattern.

    1. Avatar photo Richard of says:

      Grain do seem to build in areas which appear to be well served but are actually patchy and so specifically badly served.

  8. Avatar photo Tom J says:

    They’re laying fibre in Hull right next to KCOM and MS3 Networks (another altnet wholesale provider). Very ‘competitive’ areas. Albeit not from any ‘big’ players besides KCOM.

Comments are closed

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