Hyperoptic take step closer to 5 million FTTP homes

simon chandler
By Simon Chandler

hyperoptic hub logo© Hyperoptic

HYPEROPTIC have appointed Floyd Widener as their new Chief Sales Officer, as the internet service providers (ISPs) plans to bring fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband to two million homes by 2022 and five million by 2025.

According to Hyperoptic, Widener has "extensive international senior leadership experience in building and managing high growth organisations", experience which will no doubt prove invaluable to their attempts to expand their gigabit network.

Not only that, but as the ISP's chief sales officer, he will be responsible for strengthening Hyperoptic's relationship with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, at a time when the department's Minister - Matt Hancock MP - has spoken extensively on the need to make the UK's future "fully fibre".

All of this suggests that Hyperoptic are set to move beyond their current status as an ISP connecting some to 350 homes and businesses to FTTP broadband, and become a more major rival to BT and Virgin Media in the years ahead, helped by their often superior speeds and reliability.

Growth

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In itself, the latest piece of Hyperoptic news isn't particularly interesting, yet it symbolises the ISPs ambition to grow beyond a niche supplier and become mainstream, lifting the UK's internationally average broadband speeds in the process.

As recently as last November they had setting their sights only on passing 500,000 premises by 2019, yet it would seem that they've been galvanised by a number of recent events.

Aside from the appointment of Widener, the most recent one was their receipt of £100 million in funding, coming from the following four "tier one" European investment banks: BNP Paribas, ING, RBS and Dutch investment bank NIBC.

With such funding, Hyperoptic are now plotting to go beyond 500,000 premises and to connect at least two million premises by 2022, a figure which would then reach five million three years later.

To put this in perspective, BT - who are much bigger than Hyperoptic in terms of customers, revenue and assets - are currently planning to bring FTTP to two million premises by 2020, a target they may seem less ambitious now that the smaller Hyperoptic plan to go beyond it.

To ensure that we reach and exceed our targets it is imperative that we strategically build our network, partnerships and government relations. Our offering is the best on the market and by maximising our first mover advantage we will lead the UK into a better digital future
Floyd Widener, Hyperoptic

Meanwhile, Virgin Media plan four million FTTP connections by 2019, although the ISP have recently had to revise down some of their targets after problems reaching their intermediate stages.

Yet beyond outdoing the big fish with their longer term plans, Widener - an appropriate name for someone looking to expand the reaches of a business - will be overseeing Hyperoptic's attempts to grow beyond the 28 cities in which the ISP is currently operating or installing.

The live areas include:

BirminghamBrighton & Hove
BristolCardiff
EdinburghGlasgow
LeedsLeicester
LiverpoolLondon
ManchesterNewcastle
NottinghamPortsmouth
Reading Sheffield
SloughSouthampton
ThurrockWatford
Welwyn Garden CityWoking

Acceleration

Yet as impressive as this list is for an ISP who currently have only 350,000 connections and kitted out their first ever building in only 2011, customers getting excited about Hyperoptic should take note of their business model.

Namely, they do not in fact connect whole towns or cities when they first move into a new one, or even a whole area or street (like Openreach and Virgin Media).

Instead, they connect individual buildings (residents can express their interest on Hyperoptic's website). This ensures that they can deliver FTTP broadband cost effectively, yet it has the drawback of making their outwards expansion somewhat gradual.

Still, their announcement that they plan to overtake two million connections by 2022 (in five years), and then five million by 2025 (a mere three years after the previous milestone), indicates that their growth will accelerate exponentially in the future.

Awards

Yet aside from resting content that they're just about getting their skates on, customers should also be aware that their super and ultrafast speeds aren't as expensive as they might have guessed.

For example, it was recently noticed that several of their packages - such as their 100Mb broadband and phone bundle - are cheaper than some of Virgin's respective broadband products, including the latter's 100Mb broadband and phone deal.

Added to this, Hyperoptic have seemingly been winning awards virtually since they launched, having picked up the Best Superfast Broadband gong for the fifth consecutive year at the Internet Service Providers Association awards in July.

They also won the "Inclusion and accessibility" award at last year's Choose ISP Awards, largely in recognition of their work in connecting tenants with the Hyde Group housing association, once again belying the notion that they're focused on more affluent types.

This all serves to underline that, when they do indeed begin approaching their two and five million landmarks, the state of the UK's broadband will most likely have improved significantly.


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