Altnets spread wings across UK

Alternative broadband providers from northern and southern countries, plus leading indie provider in metropolitan area, boost gigabit options  

The solid uptick in reach of gigabit broadband from the UK’s alternative broadband network supplier sector (altnets) was one of the key trends of 2022, and this has carried on onto 2023, with updates from providers Community Fibre, Toob and MS3.

Describing itself as London’s best quality broadband provider, Community Fibre has announced that it has broken the 200,000 residents and businesses barrier with “faster, more sustainable” fibre broadband. The company’s full-fibre network is said to be the largest in London and currently covers more than 1.3 million properties across and around the capital.

“We are proud to announce that more than 200,000 customers have chosen to join Community Fibre to benefit from the fastest speeds, best prices and best service in the market,” commented chief executive officer Graeme Oxby. “We look forward to welcoming even more customers in 2024 as we increase our focus on driving customer growth.” 

To the west of the Community Fibre’s backyard, full-fibre broadband company Toob has grown out of its south coast stronghold and is to bring 900Mbps connectivity to of homes across Reading, Slough, Maidenhead and Bracknell. The service has been made possible through a deal with infrastructure provider CityFibre, which has an extensive footprint across the county of Berkshire.

“We are delighted to be able to offer our full-fibre broadband service across Berkshire,” said Toob CEO Nick Parbutt. “We believe that fast and reliable broadband is a necessity that should be available to all, and we are committed to delivering the fastest, most reliable service, using the latest full-fibre technology, at an affordable price.”

North of Toob and Community’s reach, wholesale-only fibre network operator MS3 Networks has expanded its full-fibre coverage to more than 60,000 premises across Lincolnshire, including homes in Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire.

The growing network is designed to enable economic expansion across the region by facilitating gigabit internet speeds while delivering more choice of service provider to locals. With expansion into Scunthorpe nearing completion, MS3 said its research had shown that the finished network could add up to £9m to Scunthorpe’s GDP and create up to 100 local jobs.

In addition to offering greater internet speeds, MS3 says the roll-out could also offer savings to both local businesses and residents through partnerships with internet service providers (ISPs) across the area. Boasting a network of over 30 ISP partners, the network expansion facilitates more choice in broadband provider with increased competition helping to drive down prices.

Furthermore, it noted that the North Lincolnshire communities that will benefit from MS3’s FTTP roll out have historically endured poor connectivity, often excluding them from the digital economy.

“Supporting economic growth across regions that are at risk of digital exclusion is a hugely important part of our work at MS3,” said MS3 Networks CEO Guy Miller. “Access to full fibre broadband not only attracts new businesses to an area, but also encourages local talent to stay, which is key in driving the economy of regions such as North Lincolnshire.”

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