THOUSANDS of businesses are set to benefit from a faster, more releiable internet connection, thanks to a major new infrastructure investment.
CityFibre, the UK’s largest alternative provider of full fibre infrastructure, has made a multi-million-pound investment into Portsmouth to make it one of 42 ‘Gigabit’ cities across the UK.
More than 70km of cables have been laid across the city, and even extend out to Solent Business Park and Segensworth, to bring the ultrafast internet speed.
A launch event was held last week at the Spinnaker Tower to promote the new services to business leaders.
Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said: ‘As the thirst for greater internet speeds continues to grow on all sectors, it is fantastic to be able to offer cities the world-class digital infrastructure they need to meet the demand.
‘As a Gigabit City, Portsmouth will be on the digital front foot, able to complete and success in a a digital world.’
He said that full fibre connectivity means that businesses of all sizes will be able to enjoy the speed, efficient and productivity benefits previously only accessible by the largest businesses.
It means that businesses will be able to rely on cloud computing giving greater flexibility, upload files at an ultrafast speed, revolutionise their communications by taking up VoIP telephony and holding meetings via video conferencing tools, plus businesses can reliably store data remotely.
This ultrafast internet has been packaged up and will be sold by two companies – Fareham-based M12 Solutions and Southampton-based Vostron.
M12 Solutions has created a brand name for this new connectivity – Giganet.
The service will bring full fibre connectivity to around 1,500 businesses along the existing fibre route; while further expansion and roll-out will bring even more business customers within reach of full fibre.
Giganet has also made a significant investment into key exchanges in the south, initially Basingstoke, Winchester and Salisbury, with more coming on stream soon.
Matthew Skipsey, technical director at M12, said: ‘For a long time, Portsmouth has suffered the duolopy of BT and Virgin. They both talk about fibre cables, but their infrastructure is actually based on copper cables.
‘With CityFibre it is pure fibre the whole way, it is completely futureproof. The unreliability of copper is removed. Copper can corrode, you get interference, and the longer the wire the slower the service.
‘CityFibre has taken up city streets and put down fibre cables. It is a completely new infrastructure.’
Paul North, from CityFibre, said the need for speed had grown exponentially over the past few decades. He said that in 1992 companies needed 100 GB per day to operate, but in 2015 they needed 20,235 GB per second – and they are projected to be needing 61,000 GB per second in 2020.
He said that despite this, the UK was only the 35th in the world for broadband speed and that the country had ‘for too long been reliant on BT.’
He said: ‘The copper infrastructure in the ground is cracking under the demand for technology.
‘We want you to join us in our David and Goliath battle.’
Sam Strover, managing director of Vostron, said: ‘The partnership with CityFibre is about creating competition and driving the cost down for the SME.
‘We are delivering a piece of infrastructure that will make everybody’s jobs easier.’
The government has also shown its support for the scheme by offering grants of up to £2,500 to help businesses get set up.
Andrew Skipsey, managing director of M12, said: ‘This gives us a genuine competitive advantage in the delivery of next generation Gigabit-capable fibre connectivity.
‘What we couldn’t have anticipated is that there is now a government voucher scheme available to help cover the installation costs.
‘This means that small firms can now get a full fibre service with a sensible price tag. We’re expecting the pot of money allocated by the government will run out soon, so urge companies to take action quickly.’
The Giganet team has gained a wealth of voucher experience over the last five years, after helping more than 700 customers claim government connectivity funding support via previous connection voucher schemes.
M12 Solutions has also recently undertaken a significant upgrade in its London core to accommodate the anticipated growth of businesses requiring Gigabit connections.
In these datacentres, the business has fully duplicated connections to main carriers, giving a direct connection that promises to avoid any slowing down during busy periods.