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Street Works Firm OCU Sets Up Own UK Full Fibre Biz – Artemis Fibre UPDATE

Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2024 (10:40 am) - Score 1,600
fibre optic coloured lights 2020

Civil engineering (utilities contractor) firm OCU Group appears to have established a new Stockport-based company called Artemis Fibre (15129999), which sounds as if it might be looking to deploy and operate its own UK full fibre (FTTP broadband, Dark Fibre and Ethernet) network to help serve the needs of their clients.

The development was revealed as part of the company’s application for Code Powers from Ofcom. Such powers are typically sought to help speed-up deployments of new fibre and cut costs, not least by reducing the number of licenses needed for street works. The powers can also help facilitate access to run new fibre via Openreach’s (BT) existing cable ducts and poles (PIA).

The application notes that Artemis Fibre Limited will be used to help facilitate the deployment and ongoing operation of a system of infrastructure comprising a fibre network and associated infrastructure, such as ducts and chambers (as opposed to their current approach of merely building the fibre infrastructure for other network operators).

Essentially, it seems as if the OCU Group are looking at an approach that will involve some degree of co-operative build and management of the final network, which appears to be targeting smaller network operators that may lack the scale to make pursuing their own Code Powers for a future build viable.

Ofcom’s Statement

The Applicant envisages that the proposed system of infrastructure would support a range of projects including:

• the provision of fibre to the premises (FTTP) access networks for small telecom providers who may not have the expertise to apply for Code power or who lack the scale to justify obtaining Code powers;

• the provision of inter datacentre fibre connections for datacentre providers whose requirements typically do not justify the acquisition of Code powers; and

• the provision of FTTP access networks on its own initiative.

The Applicant anticipates that the proposed system of infrastructure would be deployed at selected locations across the UK, depending on its customers’ requirements and the opportunities it identifies. In all cases, the Applicant would maintain the system of infrastructure and provide wholesale dark fibre services to its telecom provider and datacentre provider customers.

Such applications are rarely rejected by Ofcom and so it’s reasonable to assume that the regulator’s provisional approval will become permanent. On the other hand, it’s not unusual for such applications to be quite aspirational in their wording, which doesn’t always reflect the reality of what operators may end up delivering.

Nevertheless, this does sound like an interesting solution for the OCU Group to offer, and one that gives them a bit more control over what they build. But we aren’t currently sure whether this will make Artemis Fibre an alternative network (AltNet) in their own right. We have contacted the OCU Group for a comment and will update again if they respond.

UPDATE 1:18pm

A spokesperson for the OCU Group has provided some clarity to ISPreview: “OCU Group are setting up Artemis Fibre Limited at the request of some of our clients who do not hold Code Powers but do require connections between builds or datacentres. We are not looking to build our own network or becoming a supplier.”

Separately, we understand that Dolomite Solutions did the Artemis Code Power Application for OCU.

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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 Sceptic says:

    They must be high…..starting an ALTNET in this market is insane.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      As the article indicates, it sounds more like a co-operative approach that means they can do more for AltNets, particularly smaller players, than just build the physical ducts. So I’m not sure if we can call the new company an AltNet in its own right, yet..

  2. Avatar photo Crotchety says:

    Cooperation seems to be a dirty word with the cable layers in my area, openreach ducts are already in the ground , in the last 2 months we have had virgin laying their cables at about 100-200 mm below pavement level with no protection only tarmac on top, now Ogi I have laid their ducting and have been doing it for 2 weeks and still not finished and not likely to for another week at least. Why oh why don’t these companies realise that you can lay one trunking with enough room for 4 or 5 idol’s at a significant cost saving to themselves, to say nothing of the consumers and their having to put up with roadworks for months at a time.

    1. Avatar photo Crotchety says:

      4 or 5 isp’s

  3. Avatar photo Billy Shears says:

    Thank you for explaining that, I was puzzled. But it’s ISPs. No apostrophe, there isn’t a letter omitted, nor do they belong to anyone.

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