Everywhere we go in the UK, streets are being dug up to lay Fibre for the nationwide roll out of Ultrafast Broadband.   Fibre is the future, and huge amounts of time and money are being ploughed into this program.   In part there is literally a land grab going on, with the investment markets supporting an independent network sector of many regional #altnets who are being selected to build out fibre in defined areas.   Some choose to focus on wholesale services, while others engage directly with consumers in the retail space.   For both approaches, the challenge it to drive adoption by homeowners and light the fibre.

According to the INCA Metrics report 2023 the independent network sector is expected to pass 14 million premises by the end of 2023, with 16% of the homes passed being active connections.      This is an encouraging start with evidence showing that customers trust and prefer the #altnets and are therefore signing up to their services.    Trustpilot scores and Google Reviews show that the Altnets outperform the national incumbent providers.

As operators build out these new networks, the business cycle follows a clear pattern:

  • First stage: Build out the network to get coverage
  • Second stage: On board customers to generate revenue
  • Third stage: Optimise the network and create value added services to grow revenue

Whilst the network build continues at a pace, the growing numbers of active users with bandwidth hungry internet services, puts the Altnets well into the second stage and facing the need to optimise the network and create value added services.

Ofcom has recently revised its guidance on net neutrality with the intent to help broadband and mobile providers to innovate and protect their networks when traffic levels reach the limits.   This does not make net neutrality any less important but gives clarity to operators on steps they can take innovate with new services, and how they can use traffic management to avoid network congestion at peak times – opening new revenue streams from new services whilst avoiding unnecessary expense on excessive capacity.

Premium new services might be created for groups of users such as gamers who require low latency, or business customers who may require additional cybersecurity or traffic prioritisation, and for new classes of applications in areas like healthcare or driverless cars 

  • These services will have specific network requirements e.g. low latency and assurance monitoring will be important to underpin their value.  Operators will therefore benefit from a service monitoring solution that can gives real time and reporting data to stay on top of this and keep customers informed.

For Traffic Management, Ofcom sets a requirement of 95% for accurate traffic identification and notes that industry solutions are available to support this.  It then stipulates that all traffic of a given type should be treated equally and gives guidance on how this can be achieved. 

  • When congestion occurs, it blocks traffic and has a direct impact on customer experience – slow application response, buffer stalls in video streams, delays waiting for page loads and so on.   Effective traffic management smooths out the traffic peaks to stop congestion setting in and so enables operators to maintain high quality services for their customers, without having to buy capacity for excessive peak demands.

At EssentialNet, we work with Sandvine, the gold standard in Application traffic classification, Quality of Experience and Optimisation.   Our customers gain real time insights into application traffic with greater than 95% classification and use this for analysis, monitoring, troubleshooting, optimisation, and service creation.  We help our customers use this throughout their businesses and to integrate into their key business processes.  

If you are interested to learn more, please get in touch.  You can reach us at talktous@essential-net.com.