A new network provider called British Fibre Networks has made the bold claim that they wish to have a 1GBps capable fibre broadband network available to over one third of new British homes by 2021.
The ambitious new service provider has been started up by the former CEO of the controversial i3 group. i3 group, along with its subsidiary H20 networks were initially pioneers of the modern fibre optic network. They had some limited success in creating networks in some cities including Dundee and Bournemouth but were ultimately held back by difficulties such as disputes with contractors.
It all ended in a rather unsavoury manner when the Serious Fraud Office uncovered criminal activity. This culminated a year later in four people being sent to jail for being at the heart of financial fraud operation thought to have earned its actors somewhere in the region of£160 million. The four culprits were sentenced for 44 years between them, the CEO of the group however, Elfed Thomas was found to be innocent and cleared of any accusations of wrongdoing. Since then, Elfed has been crafting his next foray into the world of high speed broadband and hopes to cash in on the increasing demand for fibre optic internet. There has recently been a huge cash injection into the industry, which has been aided by increased regulatory support from Ofcom as well as greater financial backing from the government.
Vodafone and Cityfibre will doubtless be looking to get involved with this part of the market, having acquired i3/H20’s network assets when the company went into administration. There is little doubt that Elfed and British Fibre Networks will be facing competition from myriad experienced and well financed competitors. Mr Thomas is confident however that his companies “speed, capacity and choice will make it a compelling alternative for house builders and home owners alike”.
BFN has also entered talks with a “leading price comparison site” which will help the ISP to create a platform in which they can offer greater options to the customer. Before they can get listed however they will need to create an infrastructure and at this stage it is not confirmed from the press release exactly when we can expect BFT to rollout services.
It’s impossible to say at this stage whether the rather ambitious plan from BFT to have 35% of new British homes connect to high speed fibre optic by 2021 is feasible. One thing they have on their side is that dealing with strictly new builds will make the job a lot easier, as it gets rid of a lot of hassle if you can place the fibre optic network in the area before the buildings go up.