STOCKPORT, UK — Nearly one million homes and businesses in the UK are now in reach of ultrafast full fiber connectivity provided by alternative network providers (altnets), approaching double the number of premises reached by BT Openreach. Produced by Point Topic for INCA, and drawing together data from survey responses from INCA members, UKWISPA and Point Topic research programs, the report also estimates that altnets with fixed wireless access networks can reach up to a further two million premises, mainly in rural areas.

“It’s fantastic to see the growth of the new companies building fiber and wireless networks,” said Digital and Culture Minister Margot James. “We’re creating the right environment to stimulate industry investment, and I’m delighted by the altnets’ ambitious plans to reach millions more homes and businesses over the next few years. We are also supporting these goals through government investment in new fiber networks, 5G projects and by removing business rates for new fiber deployment for five years.”

Altnet Fiber to Pass 14.25 Homes by 2025
By 2025, it is expected the number of premises passed by full fiber infrastructure supplied by altnets will rise to nearly 14.25 million homes and business, covering 50 percent of the UK’s population, which may include some double counting from overbuild. This will include around 4.8 million live connections.

The report also forecasts that an estimated 1.92 million premises will have the ability to order altnet fixed network high-speed broadband services by the end of 2019, with an estimated 554,700 subscribers connected. Altnets currently account for 207,500 live connections on fixed networks and an estimated 100,500 on Fixed Wireless Access infrastructure in the UK.

Continued Government Support
“This report shows that the altnets are making great progress in both urban and rural areas,” said INCA’s CEO Malcolm Corbett. “They are delivering the future-proofed digital infrastructure the country needs for long-term prosperity. The investment and competitive dynamic these companies have introduced mean that we will get ultrafast full fiber networks and high-speed wireless broadband much faster than simply relying on the incumbent. Government support for the sector is tremendously helpful and with continued support altnets can speed up the deployment of new networks and services.”

These latest figures place altnets collectively as the third competitor in new full fiber infrastructure provision, alongside BT Openreach and Virgin Media. The altnet sector has been buoyed by announcements of more than £2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) of private sector investment and a supportive public policy environment.

Altnets deploy pure fiber networks (fiber to the home (FTTH), -premises (FTTP), or -building (FTTB), occasionally fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) as well as Docsis, fixed wireless networks, hybrid networks and satellite broadband services, operating in urban and rural areas without a copper phone network. Over the years, there has been a growing number of businesses building new digital networks to provide an alternative offering to mainstream broadband providers.