ITS Technology Group secured Aviva-backing at the end of 2019 and has been increasing its full fibre footprint across the UK at pace ever since. Philip Lee, head of wholesale at ITS Technology Group, talks about the infrastructure builder’s recent full fibre extensions and new build networks across West London to meet demand from partners for gigabit capable connectivity for their end users.
Tell us more about the full fibre builds across West London.
“ITS’ West London network began in 2017 with a ground-breaking partnership with London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham which allowed us to use H&F Council’s existing underground CCTV ducts to build our networks. This concession agreement was an important milestone for ITS in terms of demonstrating the success of our reuse or ‘dig once’ approach to building networks, as well as delivering full fibre services to an area that needed high quality, high speed connectivity.
“By reusing existing infrastructure, ITS can build networks and install connections faster, with the minimum of disruption as it avoids digging up the roads to lay cables. The ITS and H&F Council partnership forms part of council’s Industrial Strategy with Imperial College London to make Hammersmith & Fulham the best place to live, work and socialise in Europe alongside the council’s Upstream campaign with local businesses and leaders.
If we fast forward to 2020 and into this year, we have put considerable full fibre into the ground across West London, putting Gigabit capable connectivity in reach of even more businesses.”
Why did ITS make the investment in West London?
“At the heart of our delivery approach is ‘Faster Britain’ – an initiative that enables both ITS and our partners to achieve cut through with the business community whose connectivity needs are lagging behind the rest of the country. Faster Britain aligns behind the government’s 2033 target to bring Gigabit capable connectivity to the entire UK, and has become an important programme to help us to collaborate with our partner community, educating the market on full fibre, as well as helping us all to grow our businesses.
“In terms of our investment plans for West London, there were a number of factors that came together. In 2020, as part of Faster Britain, we launched ‘Vantage’, a programme focussed on partner-led network builds. Vantage’s mission is to deliver full fibre where there is demand, which allows our partners to create opportunities, grow their customer base, and ultimately grow their businesses.
“We already had our rich full fibre spine across Hammersmith and Fulham, and a number of partner clusters coming together identified end user demand beyond this, so as a result we have built out and expanded our footprint. This demand approach also avoids unnecessary overbuilds.”
With fibre in the ground, are you seeing this translate into connections?
“As our network builds have been demand led, we are seeing this translate into installs. There are a number of drivers for this. For example, businesses are migrating to hosted services, and need consistently reliable connectivity to underpin them, and businesses that are mission critical also need to have fully diverse connectivity to ensure uptime.
“In the depths of the pandemic, we introduced a contended full fibre product based on partner feedback, which is attractive to businesses that want many of the benefits of a dedicated fibre without the price tag, particularly in London where many businesses are served by older infrastructure and cannot access Superfast. Our breadth of full fibre connectivity solutions means that we have products to suit businesses of all shapes, sizes, and budgets for connectivity.
“We have long term customers such as businesses at the Translation & Innovation Hub (I-Hub) facility in White City, which includes businesses that have been part of the battle against Covid, who require reliable high speed services to underpin their research and development.”
Are you seeing further demand across London?
“ITS’ Faster Britain network build continues at pace across the capital having recently expanded into Park Royal, Kensington as well as Greenwich and Woolwich. Specifically, the West London full fibre network currently covers Hammersmith, Fulham, Chelsea, Kensington, Acton, Waltham Green, Park Royal and Harlesden, with further locations in the area to be launched soon.
“This increased footprint, coupled with our partner and wholesale model and capabilities means we are continuing to build our active partner base and deliver full fibre to where it is needed most.”