The UK’s independent network providers (altnets) connected nearly 1.3 million premises in 2018 to increase their full-fibre coverage by 30% compared to the previous year, says a new report.
The report, called ‘Metrics for the UK independent network sector’, was compiled by Point Topic for the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA).
The total number of premises either passed or addressed by altnets now stands to close to 3.32 million, which includes more than two million premises that are estimated to be covered by Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).
The report revealed that altnets are targeting to connect 3.38 million premises with full-fibre at the end of 2020 and by 2025 want to achieve the figure of 15.96 million premises.
INCA CEO Malcolm Corbett said: “The scale of investment in the UK’s independent network sector over the past year has reached an impressive level, with £3.36bn of private funding being committed. This has contributed to the flourishing independent sector in the UK and the great work that is being done to connect homes, schools and businesses across the country.
“It is crucial, however, that we stay mindful of the challenges identified in the report. For the government’s ambitious targets to be met, our main concerns remain – planning and street work costs, delivery times from Openreach, access to ducts and poles, and overbuild. Access to a pool of labour with suitable skills in a post-Brexit era is an additional concern which needs to be addressed.”
The report said that the majority of the connected premises by altnets are using ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises or Home (FTTP/H) and Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) technology.
The live connections made by the independent full-fibre providers reached a little under 300,000 in 2018, which is an increase by 43%, compared to the previous year. FWA operators had close to 110,000 connections in 2018, which marks an increase of 9% since the previous year.
Point Topic principal associate Annelise Berendt said: “Independent operators have a significant role to play in promoting a healthy, well-functioning broadband sector as the UK looks to deliver on its ultrafast targets. This report highlights they are stepping up to this role, playing their part both now and for the future.”