Collaboration is key to delivering full fibre

Technology

The race for gigabit capable connectivity by 2025 is on. Building full fibre networks in the right places is an important driver in terms of levelling up the country, as access to this connectivity is a catalyst for fuelling innovation, digital economies and job creation. The pandemic has amplified the importance of high-speed connectivity, which coupled with the copper switch off means investment in full fibre delivery is paramount.
 
Securing Aviva-backing in late 2019 has resulted in ITS scaling up…

The race for gigabit capable connectivity by 2025 is on. Building full fibre networks in the right places is an important driver in terms of levelling up the country, as access to this connectivity is a catalyst for fuelling innovation, digital economies and job creation. The pandemic has amplified the importance of high-speed connectivity, which coupled with the copper switch off means investment in full fibre delivery is paramount.

Securing Aviva-backing in late 2019 has resulted in ITS scaling up, launching our Faster Britain programme and increasing our network footprint significantly over the last 18 months to cover areas across the UK where there are gaps in full fibre services – particularly in business dense locations. ITS has identified that businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SME) are significantly underserved with flexible fibre-based solutions. Using the latest technology, ITS offers a flexible ‘on demand’ type service, pledging on-net installs within 15 working days, a step ahead of the traditional operators who often take months to provide links.

A key aspect of being able to offer flexibility is our public sector relationships which help to overcome some of the barriers to delivering full fibre. Our asset re-use approach has enabled us to build new networks quickly. For example, back in 2014, we started with a concession agreement with London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to use its CCTV ducts to rollout fibre. We have now expanded this network across West London and continue to work with our partners to identify end-user demand for reliable high-speed services. 

This public private collaboration is a vital component of being able to accelerate the delivery of full fibre across the UK while also fulfilling strategic drivers for the local authority in terms of growth and development. A great example of this is our recent deal with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA), the largest UK public procurement bid to be undertaken during the pandemic – a breakthrough joint-venture between LCRCA, ITS and NGE, known as LCR Connect. The JV brings together the capabilities of the public and private sectors to stimulate the digital economy across the Liverpool City Region. 

With the build of the 212km full fibre infrastructure underway, the design allows us to really flex our reuse muscles, minimising road works and disruption. We will utilise LCRCA’s existing infrastructure in association with the six authorities in the region. Having already delivered in Runcorn, Halton, one of the authorities, the project will see us connect transatlantic cables and major economic clusters. We will be installing digital infrastructure in carriageways, footpaths, and cycleways over the next two years.

As well as public sector collaboration, working with other sectors, such as property, is essential to achieving the governments targets and supporting local government plans and ambitions. Our mission is to provide wholesale open access connectivity that enables end users to embark on their digital journeys. Often partners will talk to us about how their customers have not had the quality of service that allows them to really be able to benefit from the hosted services that run over the top of fibre. A reliable, high speed internet connection should not be a postcode lottery. It is effectively the foundations of digital transformation.

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