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Trouble for UK Full Fibre Builds as Makehappen Enters Administration UPDATE

Friday, Jul 21st, 2023 (1:35 pm) - Score 8,664
Makehappen van and engineer

Several key deployments of gigabit-capable full fibre (FTTP) broadband networks across the United Kingdom are likely to be impacted after the Makehappen Group (website offline due to a bad SSL certificate), which is a civil engineer firm, fell into administration this week and effectively put 165 staff out of a job.

The Leeds-based company first cropped up in 2019 after the FibreNation project, which at the time was part of TalkTalk (until CityFibre acquired it), announced that they were partnering with Makehappen Group to deploy their own Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across the UK. Since then, Makehappen has also signed various other full fibre contracts, such as with operators like Upp and CityFibre (e.g. York, Chester, Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon).

NOTE: CityFibre’s rollout in Chester, which had previously been paused after problems with Telent, was only restarted in Dec 2022 with the appointment of Makehappen (here).

Despite this, the company appears to have been struggling and the latest update from The Gazette lists them as having appointed joint administrators – Neil Morley and Howard Smith – from Interpath Ltd on 18th July 2023.

According to a report on Insider Media, Makehappen recently began experiencing “significant pressure on cashflow after a number of contracts were withdrawn by their customers“. Sadly, the business ceased to trade just before the appointment of an administrator, which has left little prospect for the impacted staff to return.

Neil Morley, Director at Interpath Advisory and Joint Administrator, said:

“There continues to be a number of opportunities, but also challenges for businesses involved in the building of fibre optic broadband infrastructure across the UK and unfortunately, Makehappen was the latest casualty of these challenges.

As we commence an orderly wind-down of the business, our priority will be to provide support to all of Makehappen’s employees, including providing them with all of the information they require to make claims from the Redundancy Payments Office.”

As most of our regular readers already know, network operators are currently under a lot of pressure from rising costs (build, leases etc.), competition from rivals (e.g. overbuild) and the related need to secure a viable level of consumer take-up to satisfy investors. Due to this, several providers have already restructured or scaled-back their build plans, which naturally has an impact on their contractors too.

Back in February 2023 we reported that another key street works firm, Light Source, had similarly “entered administration” and now we have another one. This could lead to some disruption for the builds they were involved with, which often results in many months of additional delays as new contractors are hunted to fill the hole.

UPDATE 25th July 2023

A spokesperson for CityFibre said last week: “We have been made aware that Makehappen Group has entered into administration. We would like to assure residents that work sites have been made safe, and we will remain in close conversation with our local authority stakeholders while we review our plans.”

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Mark-Jackson
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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Comments
29 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Anon says:

    Openreach also have been using MakeHappen and Fibre Network Services to deploy a lot of the FTTP round here. At the time they were working like one team and were part of the same group.

    There is also something more going on, Fibre Network Services has the same directors and address as MakeHappen, however the persons with significant control changed on 10 July from MakeHappen to another holding company. @Mark worth digging into what is going on?

    1. Avatar photo Matt says:

      FNS is part of the “Make Happen” group by the looks of it – Check their accounts filed and you’ll see 4 subsidiaries listed. Pretty standard company behavior it seems to me.

    2. Avatar photo Not another altnet says:

      FNS used to be part of Makehappen until 10th July when it was transferred 100% to Majestor Holdings Limited (a company created on 26th June with a single director who is also a director of Morpheus Lending Ltd which was created on the exact same day)

    3. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      If anybody has reasonable suspicion of malpractice in relation to companies going into administration, then they should report it to the Insolvency Service:

      https://www.gov.uk/guidance/make-a-complaint-to-the-insolvency-service

    4. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      With regards the comment on the same directors being listed for FNS and Make Happen Group – it’s also worth noting that one of the listed directors at Make Happen Group was also a listed director at Cityfibre (which is surely a conflict of interest? Being one of their key customers…) but said person now shows on companies house as resigned from Make Happen Group, just one week before the news broke that they were going into administration.

  2. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

    I guess they couldn’t ‘make it happen’ then – boom boom.

  3. Avatar photo Altnet industry starting to implode... says:

    The Altnet industry startng to implode…

    Sadly, as we already know, it’s simply not sustainable.

    1. Avatar photo Bob says:

      It would have made sense for the government to have given out contracts for each of the 9 English regions, It should also have laid down standards so all the networks i n the9 regions would be compatible. This would have prevented overbuild reduced costs and speeded up the roll out, This would mean most areas would have BT plus an Alt net

    2. Avatar photo John H says:

      @Bob Yes, with hindsight, sounds like a sensible idea, but the reality is we now all realise there too many Altnets competing for too few customers, far too much overbuilding, etc. It’s all going to go bang.

      I’m afraid over the next six months we’ll be seeing investors pulling out, companies consolidating and many redundancies.

      Of course the CEO’s will continue bigging everything up with their awe inspiring speeches, reassuring their faithful employees.

    3. Avatar photo Andrew G says:

      “The Altnet industry startng to implode…”

      Whilst I share similar concerns about the altnet sector, this isn’t an altnet, it’s a civils contractor. And to go bust as a civils contractor in this day and age is very unusual, given the amount of work available from different industries. Without knowing the inside details it’s difficult to make much of this.

    4. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      @Bob

      that is largely what we did in the 1980s/90s with the cable companies – and even with these regional monopolies, and with every advantage in their favour (BT’s fibre aspirations dampened and being explicitly banned from offering TV services) they were still financial basketcases who cherrypicked to the extreme and didn’t really offer anything that BT and Sky couldn’t

  4. Avatar photo Bob says:

    In most cases it is not worth taking over an alt net as if you do you pick up the debt. So in most cases they companies will go under but may buy the network off of the administrators

    At present most Alt nets roll outs are going slower thn planed and the cost of the debt is increasing and investors are less willing to lend to them Add in slow take up plus in most cases the alt nets are competing against BT and other alt nets. I think we will see many more alt nets go under over the next 12 months

    1. Avatar photo Phil says:

      Make happen is not an alt net

  5. Avatar photo Feel bad for the Workers says:

    Not good news for the people on the ground.

    But from what i heard the guys at the top of makehappen were just to stubborn and didn’t take advice on board.

    1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      I think that’s true of a lot of companies these days. It seems management egos trump common sense.

  6. Avatar photo Martin says:

    Business models that looked good 2 years ago when inflation and interest rates were low are not so clever now. It just takes one company to go bust, and there are horrible issues for their suppliers and customers in terms of not getting paid or subcontracted work not getting done.

  7. Avatar photo Daminous says:

    The Alternet technology companies, industry is really losing their funding it seems and imploding. It’s the same story as all the energy companies and Solar panel companies all shot up, and now are dropping like flies into Administration.

  8. Avatar photo Groucho says:

    Even though there seems to be no shortage of companies around here, BT have turned up, put posts right next to trees, hacked our trees about, cracked the paving stones with their lorries then run off. We, the ‘private’ residents, are left to pay for the damage and watch our trees die off, as they have in the past. All so a few people can sit in their houses and play computer games a little bit faster. There must be more to life.

    1. Avatar photo Flame Henry says:

      Daily Mail Online will load faster for you too

  9. Avatar photo Steve says:

    The telecoms privatisation right from the mid 1980’s has been badly thought out. When other nationalised industries such as the railways, gas, electricity etc were privatised it didn’t result in multiple railway tracks or electricity pylons running parallel to each other. Instead the main infrastructure was shared by multiple operating companies who retailed their services to the public.
    The same principle could have applied to telecommunications infrastructure with mast sharing for mobile from day one and deployment of local network fibre cables starting in the late 1980’s by one heavily regulated organisation which wasn’t involved in retail at all but that function was left to multiple competitors to provide. If this had happened then the construction standards would have been higher instead of what we are now witnessing which I fear won’t stand the test of time and will be expensive to maintain and repair long after many of the Altnets have disappeared.

  10. Avatar photo Bobby says:

    Another Alt net bites the dust. Sad to see

    1. Avatar photo Facts says:

      They aren’t an alt-net

    2. Avatar photo Facts says:

      They are not an alt-net

  11. Avatar photo Ajay says:

    I knew they would go pop. I subbed to them a few times and they were horrendous to work with. They would let their own men pick and choose what they wanted to do and pay us to do the bigger work because they couldn’t be bothered.
    To say there was no organization was a understatement. In the end I refused to work there. They used to give you loads of stores even though they knew there was no work. The stores must of cost a fortune and now just sat in my shed! Another company with no clue or control of operations.

  12. Avatar photo CF Employee says:

    Probably one of the worst BPs that CF has ever worked with. Feel sorry for the labourers but this was a long time coming and good riddance to them at the top.

  13. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

    The arrogance of those at the top has caused this. Feel so sorry for their employees and families.

  14. Avatar photo Xpander says:

    Are these guys back up and running? I see a number of their Vans here in Batley and saw them doing work up in the Soothill Area yesterday.

    1. Avatar photo Ian says:

      There is a van parked in Eccleshill, Bradford, BD2 doing work as I type this on 26-10-2023 12:06 . I’ve not heard of them before and hence why I have ended up at this page.

  15. Avatar photo Topsecret says:

    Makehappen sprung out of FNS to just do city fibre work,
    Those staff who did openreach work have never been employed by makehappen even though the vans say otherwise hence why we’re still working

Comments are closed

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