AltNet FTTP Coverage Reaches 5.5m Premises
Connections have surpassed 1m and investment and expenditure to reach £17.7bn by 2025
Report shows independent network operators are integral to nationwide NGN coverage and creating a truly competitive UK telecoms sector.
Compiled for the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) by Point Topic using data provided by independent network operators, this year’s ‘Metrics for the UK independent network sector’ report shows that AltNets have increased their full fibre network footprints by 111% to reach 5.5 million homes and businesses throughout the UK with ambitions to pass around 11.6m premises by the end of the year. For the first time, AltNets are providing over 1m live connections with aims of increasing these to 10.3m by the end of 2025.
The Point Topic report provides an overview of the UK’s independent network operator sector as of end-2021 and early 2022 in terms of scale, coverage, ambitions and concerns. The independent network sector has again doubled in size since last year with operators continuing to be a draw for private investment firms. Investment and expenditure commitments by the independent network sector is expected to reach £17.7bn by 2025.
The report also outlines operators’ concerns with the top two being planning and street works delays along with the threat of overbuild from other operators through Project Gigabit procurements. In joint third place are delivery times for services from Openreach or other operators (e.g. EAD circuits, PIA); getting wayleaves; and BDUK’s pause on community-led ISPs Gigabit Vouchers affecting current and future deployments. There have been shifts in concerns however, with the sector’s top concern last obtaining wayleaves moving slightly down the list. Given the unprecedented amount of investment in the sector, access to finance moved down to the bottom of the list this year.
“The progress of the altnets continues to be impressive. They have started to execute their plans and continued to attract funding to cover their deployments. It is an exciting time for the sector overall and the operators are ably demonstrating their importance to the UK and are already making a significant contribution to full fibre coverage.”
AltNet fixed full fibre network infrastructure is expected to reach over 11.5m premises at the end of 2022 with an estimated 1.4m live connections, with 10.3m expected by end-2025.
By 2025 infrastructure competition will be in full swing with full fibre investment by the major suppliers, AltNets and government funding expected to reach £36.7 billion.
The UK is on track, for the first time in its history, to have real broadband infrastructure competition, offering consumers real choice and drive innovation.
Openreach’s long-term FTTP pricing offer (Equinox) which could substantially help Openreach overbuild existing AltNet networks and impact their deployment plans, particularly regarding wholesale was in the top five of sector concerns.
Access to qualified skills and labour, particularly post-Brexit, was viewed as a very significant challenge by 29% of operators compared to 10% in the previous year.
Most survey respondents (72%) reported that they were at the start of the migration process for implementing Ofcom’s ‘One Touch Switch’ system due to come into effect in April 2023, compared to 8% who were ‘substantially ready’.