A series of innovative pilot schemes aimed at delivering superfast broadband in the hardest to reach parts of the UK has demonstrated smaller suppliers can compete against the likes of industry giants like Virgin Media and BT Openreach, a report published on 3 February has revealed.
The pilots were set up to look at different ways of delivering superfast broadband in some of the UK’s most sparsely populated rural areas to better understand the capabilities of alternative suppliers to BT Openreach and Virgin Media. The pilots have now been running for over a year testing alternative technologies and commercial and operational models to provide good quality superfast broadband services to some of the most remote households across the UK.
The success of the pilots have given smaller suppliers the confidence to bid for Phase 2 contracts of the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband, currently on track to take coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017. Five independent suppliers have won contracts as the rollout now moves into its second phase, having already reached almost four million additional homes and businesses.
The seven Pilot projects include Avanti and Satellite Internet, who are using superfast-capable satellite; Airwave, Quickline and AB Internet, who are using fixed wireless; and Call Flow and Cybermoor, who are using a mix of fibre and fixed wireless technologies.
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Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said:
“The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband is the fastest of its kind anywhere in the world and is a truly massive engineering project. Our pilot scheme has demonstrated that alternative technologies can help us take superfast speeds to the hardest to reach areas of the UK and I’m very pleased that smaller suppliers are now competing for, and winning, contracts for the next phase of the rollout.”