The Broadband Pioneer Award was a new category for the 2016 World Communication Awards and attracted some great entries. Hyperoptic stood out for their great work enhancing broadband in the UK. Total Telecom asked Chief Customer Officer, Steve Holford, some questions.
Please tell us in your own words why Hyperoptic is a Broadband Pioneer, what the entry was about and who is matters to.
Hyperoptic has pioneered a new approach to the provision of broadband in the UK, via Fibre-to-the-Premises that enables the fastest broadband on the market – symmetrical gigabit speeds. Since its launch, the company has acted as a catalyst for the industry – in the last year all of the major players have announced that they will be rolling out Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband in the future, and in Autumn statement the government announced that it is creating a £400m digital infrastructure fund for the rollout of full fibre broadband.
Hyperoptic works with property owners, developers and professionals, designing and installing dedicated fibre infrastructure to new buildings, and retrofitting improvements to existing developments. Hyperoptic initially focused on bringing its services into new and existing developments with 50 or more units. However, it is now also servicing new housing estates, such as the Bellway at QEII, a development of new homes in Welwyn Garden City. Hyperoptic is now actively engaged in discussions with developers who are building new housing estates across the UK, to coordinate installation of its award-winning Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband at the build stage and ensure that the residents have access to its symmetrical gigabit speeds from day one.
Why do you think the entry appealed to the judges of the World Communication Awards?
The entry would have appealed because of the continued success of the company and the support Hyperoptic has received via funding, customers and new markets.
The last year has been phenomenal for Hyperoptic – we have experienced massive growth, rapidly increasing the locations where the service can be supplied. Our symmetrical are now available to consumers and businesses across 20 cities and towns across the UK. In July 2016 we announced that the European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide £21 million for investment by Hyperoptic – its largest ever dedicated backing for an internet network investment in the UK. This significant investment from EIB along with Quantum Strategic Partners Ltd. (Quantum), a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC, brings the total investment into Hyperoptic to more than £75 million. EIB’s investment along with continued support from Quantum further validates Hyperoptic’s business model, execution ability, and its ability to remain the largest FTTP broadband provider in the UK.
As the business grows, more developers have seen the professional installation process Hyperoptic provides and more buildings want to be connected. In the last year Hyperoptic has also been working closely with councils to help them increase digital inclusion in their areas.
What makes it stand out from other broadband offerings? How does Hyperoptic differ from other altnets?
Hyperoptic appeals to all demographics and is available in a wide range of properties from affordable housing to iconic developments such as Knightsbridge Apartments in central London. Hyperoptic has also developed a targeted, low cost 5Mb service, aimed at developments with high volumes of social tenants, that costs just £9 per month – no extra costs, no line rental, just the lowest cost fibre broadband in the UK.
Hyperoptic customers are able to choose the service that best suits them, including Broadband Only (no need for a phone line at all), Broadband & Phone bundles, 12 Month Contracts or No Contract (just 30 days’ notice, no minimum term). This means that its customers can choose the fastest speeds, but have the flexibility of a short-term contract, all at affordable rates. Hyperoptic’s 100Mb service costs less than competitor “up to” 76Mbps services, and includes 100Mb upload speeds (compared to “up to” 19Mbps for FTTC suppliers).
Hyperoptic works closely with other alt-nets; we address different sectors we tend to work together rather than compete. In September we collaborated with our alt-net peers to advise the government on the steps it needs to take to enable Gigabit Britain: http://www.inca.coopews
How have you judged success? Are there specific KPI’s by which you measure success?
Hyperoptic continues to grow at a rapid rate, launching the service in 8 new towns or cities, and significantly increasing customer numbers. This is a large investment for Hyperoptic, as it has to not only have dedicated fibre to connect the development to the exchange, but also cable the entire building, ready to supply service to each individual home within it – usually at no cost to the building. The fact that this investment still makes sound commercial sense, and the growth rate continues unabashed, means that the service is clearly in demand in every building it expands into.
What’s next for Hyperoptic? Will there be developments in the product offering. Where will we next see major deployments from you?
We have very ambitious growth plans for the UK and we are well on the way to reaching our target of passing half a million homes and businesses by 2019. We already offer the best range of products on the market, but will continue to innovate to ensure that we give customers the very best and most flexible service. Our services are live across the UK, and installations are taking place nationwide across 20 towns and cities. We are also actively seeking new ways to engage with more public sector areas to help grow the access to ultrafast broadband.
Why did you choose to enter the WCA, what does winning mean to your organisation?
As the WCA recognises and rewards the very best in industry innovation and performance, we thought that it would be an excellent opportunity to showcase our success in redefining the broadband market in the UK and setting the industry gold standard for fibre broadband.
Getting the accolade as a broadband pioneer is hugely rewarding – especially when it meant winning against our industry juggernaut, Openreach. We have worked tirelessly to educate the market that our Fibre-to-the-Premises approach is the best and only solution that will enable our country to achieve its full digital potential. The validation from WCA strengthens our resolve to keep leading the pack to give the UK the connectivity it deserves – so that businesses can thrive and consumers can enjoy all the opportunities that unfettered Internet access enables.
Four companies made the shortlist for the Broadband Pioneer Award for the 2016 World Communication Awards, with Hyperoptic joined by ITS Technology Group, Openreach, and Telkom Indonesia.
The CEO of Hyperoptic, Dana Tobak will be speaking at Connected Britain on the 14 June 2017, where she joins the panel discussion "Preparing the UK’s infrastructure for a digital future" with Ian Dabson, Project Director, Infrastructure and Projects Authority (HM Treasury), Matthew Braovac, Head of Competition and Regulatory Affairs, Vodafone UK, and Ben King, CEO of WarwickNet. Book your place to attend at totaltele.com/connectedbritain