The newly created wholesaler is aiming to connect four million UK premises to its upcoming fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network
With ambitious fibre targets for 2025 set by the government, investment in the UK’s fixed broadband sector has been booming in the past couple of years, with numerous new players emerging to fight for their share of the spoils.
In August last year, one such emerging player was Axione Fibre, a new subsidiary of French operator Axione, who announced that they had received £300 million in initial funding to build an open access wholesale fibre network.
The plan had been a long time coming for Axione UK, who in fact first mentioned the possibility of deploying a gigabit-capable wholesale network back in October 2019.
At the time of the funding announcement, the company said it had goals of ultimately connecting four million premises across the UK, noting that they would specifically target small towns and villages. However, the exact location of the rollout was previously unknown.
Now, reports from local media sources in Scotland are suggesting that the deployments may be beginning in St. Andrews in Fife, with Fife Today
noting applications to install numerous street cabinets around the town.
That this first deployment will seemingly take place in Scotland is to be expected; Axione UK has focussed on this part of the country for numerous years, having previously secured part of a £22 million network contract in Aberdeenshire, as well as expressing interest in Scotland’s R100 procurement that was ultimately snapped up by BT.
The UK is already a playground for dozens if not hundreds of altnets of various sizes, all struggling to compete with the likes of Virgin Media and Openreach, meaning Axione Fibre will surely have their work cut out for them to reach their sizable target of four million premises. For the sake of comparison, CityFibre, the UK’s largest altnet, currently has plans to invest £4 billion in order to reach eight million people with their own FTTP network.
Nonetheless, the scale of the Axione Fibre’s investment is considerable and, as Axione president Pierre Vanstoflegatte noted back in August, the company has “proved the strength of its model in France”, where it already operates around 22,000km of fixed line infrastructure.
For now, the future of Axione Fibre’s rollout is unclear, but it certainly has the scale and the experience to become a considerable fibre player in the UK.
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