Next Generation Broadband Players

There are now three large scale players that have announced significant investment in next-generation broadband – BT, Virgin Media and Fujitsu.

BT

In the private sector BT announced £2.5bn in their roll-out plans mainly for FTTC with some FTTH and other technologies in not-spots (e.g. BET  and satellite). They have also announced that if they win all £830m they will match it with further investment, though some commentators argue that this is what BT are likely to anyway.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media isengaged in an extensive programme to upgrade their network to the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, capable of delivering up to 100mbps downstream. Currently there no plans for significant extensions to the existing cable footprint covering around 50% of the population, mainly in urban areas.

Fujitsu

In April 2011 Fujitsu Telecom (Ftel) announced an investment of £1.5-£2bn in next-generation broadband focused on the rural 'Final Third'. This took many commentators by surprise. Fujitsu is not a company well known to the general public, but it is a big player in the telecoms industry as a supplier of broadband and mobile infrastructure. The partners in Ftel’s plans include Cisco, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. The plan is to create an ‘open access platform’ and starts with two substantial players in Internet services. The inclusion of Virgin potentially offers the prospect of Virgin extending its cable footprint beyond the existing franchise areas.

Local schemes

A variety of smaller, more local schemes using various mixes of public, private and community finance are in existence or under development. They include:

  • Rutland Telecom, [link to case study]
  • Independent Fibre Networks Ltd,
  • The flagship Alston Cybermoor co-op in Cumbria, [link to case study]
  • Other initiatives in Cumbria like Great Asby Broadband, Wennington and Wray in Lancashire,
  • Next Genus CIC delivering village-level FTTH in different areas, [link to case study]
  • Vtesse
  • The Welsh Assembly Government- supported Fibrestream Project in North Wales, delivered by Geo, [link to case study]
  • County Broadband in Essex, 
  • South West Internet and others.

Broadband procurement offers an opportunity to support local initiatives and projects and can thus be seen as part of the broader localism agenda