Ahead of his speaking slot at Connected Britain 2019, I caught up with Six Degrees CEO, David Howson, to get his thoughts on how the rollout of high-capacity networks across the UK is bringing new opportunities for the channel industry.

How is the rollout of high capacity broadband infrastructure across the UK changing the channel industry?

The rollout of high capacity broadband infrastructure across the UK presents both opportunities and challenges to the channel industry. Now more than ever, organisations rely on high capacity connectivity in order to achieve greater agility. At Six Degrees, we are seeing how connectivity plays a key role in enabling the cloud-led revolution for our mid-market clients. 

Many of the organisations we work with deploy hybrid cloud environments, with SaaS, PaaS and IaaS communicating across a huge network ecosystem. A key challenge the channel faces is to deliver a consistent level of performance regardless of location; in a multi-site deployment, one weak link can hamper productivity and limit agility throughout the organisation.
What key strategies are Six Degrees implementing to capitalise on the opportunities this is bringing?
At Six Degrees we are actively developing our SD-WAN capabilities. I see SD-WAN as being fundamental to our ability to effectively harness the agility and speed enabled by high capacity broadband. By building SD-WAN into our infrastructure layer, we can significantly improve our speed of response and deliver a feature-rich network that supports our clients’ needs without being tied to any one carrier or connection type.
What do you see as the key opportunities for the UK resulting from the rollout of high-capacity digital infrastructure? 
It really is time for the UK to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to high-capacity digital infrastructure roll-out. The Nordic countries have blazed a trail with their roll-out of high speed internet access, with amazing fibre penetration and mobile capabilities, and this is reflected in their strong GDP per head. There is a very real link between the UK’s connectivity network, the ability it offers organisations to accelerate their digital transformation activities, and our overall productivity as a nation. The truth is that high-capacity digital infrastructure deployment in the UK is lagging behind the huge advancements we’re seeing in cloud technology capabilities. Once it catches up, the possibilities it will open up for the UK midmarket will be massive.
What are your key predictions for the next 12 months? What trends will most shape the industry?
We’ve seen significant private equity investment in UK fibre infrastructure over the past 24 months, and I expect this to accelerate in the coming year. Whilst some of the larger players have been slow to adapt to the changing communications landscape, private equity-backed firms are taking the lead when it comes to expanding the UK’s fibre footprint. This will be great for the UK economy; high speed internet is a currency, and commercial and residential developments will be attracted to locations that offer the best possible connectivity options.
If you’d be interested to hear more from David and Six Degrees join us at Connected Britain, being held at the Business Design Centre, London on 18th and 19th June.