New ISPs to rollout gigabit broadband across the UK
Digital Infratructure, Cuckoo and Quickline are racing to bring full-fibre and gigabit broadband to UK homes and businesses in the North and Midlands. Using a range of different approaches, these ISPs are aiming to bring their networks to over a million customers in towns and remote areas.
Digital Infrastructure to roll out full-fibre in Crewe
First new ISP Digital Infrastructure, which has announced a five-year partnership with Aberla Utilities to deliver FTTP broadband to 38,000 homes across Crewe. Originally deploying a wholesale network approach for urban and suburban locations not currently served by full-fibre, Digital Infrastructure will now be working in direct competition with at least three other providers: ITS Technology, Zzoom and VX Fiber.
Digital Infrastructure has started the survey and road and roping process. Cabling will take place later in the year through Openreach's existing ducts. According to the startups LinkedIn, they're aiming to connect one million homes in 84 cities across the UK, but may face stiff competition from existing providers.
Cuckoo launches first FTTP packages
Meanwhile Cuckoo, who launched a year ago and is currently offering a single package through Openreach's slow Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) technology, will launch their first gigabit FTTP packages in October. Unlike most providers, the packages will be rolling monthly contracts that can be cancelled at any time. Cuckoo's current package costs £29.99 a month on a rolling contract plus setup fee.
Although it's unclear what options will be available when the FTTP packages launch, Cuckoo may harness both City Fibre and Openreach platforms to deliver their service. These networks aim to cover 86% of UK households by 2026.
Cuckoo raised £4.3m in their April funding round to help future expansion. Alexander Fitzgerald, Founder and CEO of Cuckoo Broadband, says the company has always aimed to disrupt a broken market with simple, flexible and fair pricing and contracts. This ISP's USP is taking 1% of each bill and using it to bring connectivity to different projects of the customer's choice including developing communities, conflict zones and natural disaster sites.
Quickline acquires Boundless
In an aim to bring Gigabit connectivity to rural areas, FTTP and FWA specialists Quickline has acquired Boundless Networks. Boundless currently supply 100Mbps FWA services in the rural North of England and share a natural overlap with Quickline.
Quickline has recently secured £500m investment from Northleaf Capital Partners. This will enable the ISP to extend their FWA infrastructure and FTTP mix to half a million premises in the North of England. The acquisition of Boundless satisfies the requirement that the investment be used to fuel growth, with the Boundless takeover adding scale to Quickline's existing infrastructure and internet operations and a high level of wireless and full-fibre expertise.
The combined group was over 10,000 customers and 100 employees, with the expectation of creating hundreds of additional jobs in the region. Sean Royce, Quickline's CEO, said they were delighted with the acquisition of specialists in high-speed rural connectivity, helping to change people's lives for the better. He added that Quickline could now advance at scale and bring better connectivity to areas that have had to make do with sub-standard broadband.