New East of England ISP to cover 100,000 homes by 2022
Lightspeed Broadband has emerged with a new 1Gbps Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network that could cover homes across the East of England by the end of 2022 - and eventually reach one million homes by 2025.
With a plan to invest £300m, this is not your typical startup. Instead, Lightspeed has already secured the backing of an international investment consortium. Backed by Kompass Kapital, who focus on infrastructure projects, and AtmosClear Investments, the deal includes an initial investment of £55m with the potential to raise a further £300m in private investment as the work progresses.
The initial target to reach 100,000 homes with high speed broadband is described as being ‘fully funded’ with the initial rollout focusing on towns including Boston, Kings Lynn, Skegness and Spalding, plus other towns in South Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas.
It’s an impressive start for a new player although the team behind Lightspeed includes former TalkTalk and BT players including CEO Steve Haines, COO Dave Axam and CCO Joanne King.
Openreach already has some FTTP and inferior G Fast technology in Boston and Skegness. However, the coverage from those gigabit-capable networks can be patchy and other towns have no real options when it comes to high speed coverage. That delivers real growth opportunities for Lightspeed Broadband with its first mover advantage.
CEO Steve Haines said Lightspeed is delighted to be part of moves to bring real gigabit digital connectivity to Eastern England and unlock the region’s potential. Haines added that Lightspeed recognised the need for high speed broadband more than ever with the demands for professional home working, home schooling, face to face video calling and high quality, high speed entertainment and gaming.
He credited the wealth of experience behind Lightspeed for its success, citing the lifelong expertise of its telecom experts and managerial team.
Lightspeed said the intention was to reuse the existing infrastructure wherever possible, running its own cables using Openreach ducts and poles. This approach is increasingly common as a result of Ofcom’s changes to make PIAs more accessible and flexible.
The ISP aims to start connecting customers later this year, expanding into neighbouring counties including Norfolk after the initial rollout. However, Lightspeed might not have things all its own way as it begins to expand. B4RN, County Broadband and Symmetris are all active in the area.
No details on packages and pricing have yet been released by Lightspeed, but in an area crying out for reliable high speed broadband they’re unlikely to be short of customers.
Matt Warman, MP and Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said it was the government’s mission to roll out next generation broadband and ‘build back better’ after the pandemic. The government is currently investing £5bn in connecting hard to reach areas but welcomes additional investment in dependable high speed broadband.
Warman praised Lightspeed’s hard work and dedication in putting homes and businesses in Lincolnshire on the high speed broadband map, with reliable gigabit speeds designed to deliver new jobs and open up the area for new business and investment.