Despite competitive concerns, the UK's alternative broadband providers are projected to dramatically increase the population's connectivity -- including high-speed broadband, a new study finds.
These so-called "altnets" (such as CityFibre , TalkTalk and Hyperoptic ), which in the US would be considered Tier 2 or Tier 3 operators, primarily worry about overbuilding by larger competitors such as Openreach , as well as access to backhaul services and potential issues working with developers and local authorities around new housing plans, according to a report conducted by Point Topic for the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA).
"This report shows that the altnets are making great progress in both urban and rural areas," said INCA CEO Malcolm Corbett in a statement. "They are delivering the future-proofed digital infrastructure the country needs for long-term prosperity. The investment and competitive dynamic these companies have introduced mean that we will get ultrafast full fiber networks and high-speed wireless broadband much faster than simply relying on the incumbents."
These alternative broadband providers connected almost 1 million properties by the end of last year and are on track to pass almost 14.25 million UK premises with fixed broadband infrastructures by year-end 2025, according to the report, "Metrics for the UK Altnet Sector," released on Thursday. They're primarily using FTTH/B or FTTP.
BT has been under pressure to accelerate its deployment of fiber-based broadband and in February said it would expand its program to reach 3 million homes by year-end 2020; the previous goal was 2 million in that timeframe. Openreach is expected to attain the 10-million mark by mid-2020, CEO Clive Selley has said. (See BT & Openreach: Splitsville Ahead?)
Fiber is definitely king, but fixed wireless is also gaining traction among large and smaller providers, the research found. While almost 2 million premises will be able to order high-speed broadband by the end of next year, about 554,700 subscribers will leverage that option, Point Topic found.
In 2017, about 100,500 subscribers used altnets' fixed wireless access infrastructure in the UK, according to the study. Fixed wireless, while more difficult to assess than fiber, may have passed or addressed up to 2 million premises last year, Point Topic said.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter @BroadbandWN or @alisoncdiana.
(Home page art source: "Metrics for the UK Altnet Sector," Point Topic / INCA)