A wise head on young shoulders

Philip Lee, head of channel at ITS Technology Group, talks to us about his views on how the full fibre market is progressing, the drivers, and challenges to overcome.

The UK fibre market is still relatively young, how do you see it developing?

The full fibre rollout is a ‘once in a generation’ project. ITS and other providers – both the incumbents and the altnets – are shaping this new marketplace. There are several drivers facilitating this including government funding, significant private investment, technological advancements including cloud, AI and automation, and the fact that the copper network is reaching its end of life. This will create demand for fibre as businesses continue to adopt cloud technologies and increase IT spend.

The latest government targets are to reach 85 per cent Gigabit-capable coverage by 2025 and 100 per cent full fibre by 2030 – it is full fibre that provides futureproof Gigabit capability.

While the full fibre market is young, it makes up for this with technical know-how, and design, engineering and delivery capabilities. The sheer scale of the infrastructure projects that are underway across the UK is incredible.

This infrastructure is on track, but there still needs to be more support and recognition of the role that altnets are playing, particularly when it comes to policy making, to help overcome some of the barriers that add complexity to builds.

We like many other altnets, are members of INCA, which gives us a much stronger voice to help drive change for the better – better for the altnets, channel, and ultimately better for the end-user. Collaboration and common ways of working will play an important role in helping the sector to continue to accelerate.

What does 2022 look like for ITS?

We are building our full fibre Faster Britain networks at pace, while also installing connectivity to end-users for our 300 plus partner network. We will continue to build where there is business demand and density, and we are on track to pass more than 25 per cent of business premises by the end of this year.

We provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 services to the wholesale and reseller community and have invested heavily to build a self service portal and API to it as easy and straightforward as possible for them to sell on our Faster Britain networks.

What are the main challenges?

There are a number of challenges. Skills is an industry-wide challenge. Finding, recruiting and retaining good people is difficult in a fast paced market that is growing rapidly.

It is also important that the policy makers recognise the importance of the altnets contribution. Our collective investments are now comparable to those made by BT and Virgin.

How is your wholesale offer developing?

We are specialists in connectivity. Our partners work with us because of our reach, the quality of our full fibre products, our flexibility, and our speed to install. We work with our partners, and listen to what they need. It is how our current portfolio has evolved.

Our partner relationships are at the very heart of our Faster Britain initiative, and by working together, we can shape the build programme to develop and deliver solutions which the market demands.

Between our own networks and through our trusted operator partnerships we can connect and provide connectivity services to any business in the UK.

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