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Full Fibre UK ISP Fibrus to Launch Openreach Broadband Plans

Tuesday, Feb 27th, 2024 (1:04 pm) - Score 4,480
Fibrus Telegraph Pole Engineer

Infracapital-backed network builder and UK ISP Fibrus, which is rolling out a 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network across Northern Ireland and parts of North England (Cumbria), has revealed that they plan to expand their off-net retail provision and coverage by launching Openreach-based packages.

The operator, which recently had to scale back some of their own network builds and cut jobs (here and here), currently covers 339,000 premises (up from 300,000 in August 2023) and they were aiming to cover 400,000 by March 2024. But the provider, which also serves almost 80,000 customers, is now putting extra focus on an “aggressive customer acquisition plan” to help boost take-up.

NOTE: Infracapital-backed Fibrus has attracted over £750m of committed capital, including £235m from investors, £220m from a banking consortium and the rest as public subsidy (e.g. £197m Project Stratum – 85,000 premises by March 2025 in N.Ireland – and the £108m Project Gigabit contract for 60,000 premises in Cumbria, England – Hyperfast GB).

However, the challenging climate (i.e. competition, rising build costs and high interest rates – making it difficult to attract fresh investment) appears to be helping to drive the operator’s latest strategic shift, which will – for the first time – see Fibrus’ broadband packages becoming available outside their own network areas.

According to a recent report on Telco Titans, Fibrus will soon launch retail broadband services over Openreach’s network, starting in its home city. The focus here will naturally be on locations that their own fibre network has yet to reach, and they’re hoping to see customer growth track along a similar pace to their on-net areas.

Dominic Kearns, Fibrus CEO and Co-Founder, said:

“We’ve done it at a network level, and now we really want to go after the big guys at a retail level too. Whilst the money market is expensive, what we’re going to do is take our strength at a retail level and start to push our ISP onto other networks, taking on BT and [Virgin Media] on their home ground effectively. An obsession with growth is ingrained in the Fibrus culture, and we need to get after it.

We won’t approach off-net any differently [to on-net]: we’ll get our proposition out there; we’ll get our boots on the ground; and our marketing effort will be the same as in our own network areas.”

The move is a logical one for Fibrus and will no doubt help to boost their customer figures, which investors will appreciate. On the other hand, they’ve yet to reveal their Openreach based packages and prices, which makes it difficult to judge how competitive they’ll end up being.

The talk of initially making this available in their home city is also understandable, assuming they’re treating it like a sort of live customer trial. But in order to make a real impact they’ll ultimately need to leverage Openreach’s wider national FTTP coverage (c.13 million UK premises passed).

NOTE: Fibrus reveals that their latest 339,000 premises passed figure (end of Jan 2024) falls to 321,000 for those Ready for Service (RFS) by customers.
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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
6 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ex Telecom Engineer says:

    In other words they’re struggling to create enough margin/scale through solely building their own network, why didn’t they also use Openreach from day one? Doesn’t have to be one or the other. Openreach was always the sensible choice for any CP, since OFCOM ensure pricing/margin for CP’s are protected. I believe Openreach will eventually be spun off from BT, which is likely what OFCOM have been pushing BT toward; Probably around 2030/31 once the pension deficit is resolved, rollouts completed, and Telereal Exchange lease deal comes out of contract.

    1. Avatar photo K says:

      Fibrus was a company basically created by the NI executive and British Government to roll out ultrafast broadband in N.Ireland under the DUP agreement to support Theresa May. It initially had nothing to do with Openreach or BT except politicians wanted a local company to roll out the broadband in NI.

    2. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Because Openreach weren’t available in many of the areas Fibrus built their network. They only exist because there was a huge contract to build a fibre service to areas that weren’t getting served by existing providers.

    3. Avatar photo K says:

      To this day people say the 160m quid should have just been given to Openreach to roll it out. Then the public would have a choice of providers at least and be properly serviced. Fibrus used to have a problem with reliability. Dont know about now though.

  2. Avatar photo - says:

    A very immoral and nasty company, taking advantage of regulated wholesale pricing for infrastructure installed with others private capital meanwhile offering unregulated rip off (much higher than Thier own retail prices which include Cs,router,transit etc) wholesale access to the infrastructure built with taxpayer monies.

  3. Avatar photo JP says:

    I’ve never seen a company publishing so much news about big plans and sponsors at a time when they are laying people off and looking for efficiency’s, you’d think they’d spend some time getting the house in order before talking about taking on the big boys.

    From my dealings with Fibrus I expect in the not too distant future this company will end in tears, a network hardly fit for purpose considering it was largely funded by public money, recent abysmal storm responses show they hadn’t the capability to fault/locate damages without their teams endlessly driving the country looking for damaged cables instead of using tech that’s been round for decades to report the location ‍♂️

Comments are closed

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