BT, Virgin Media and Sky are perhaps the biggest household names when it comes to broadband, but there are still many smaller brands across the UK. Companies such as Community Fiber and Hyperoptic bring super-fast solid fibers to the market in numerous regions of the UK. Some even offer speeds in excess of 1 Gbps – that’s almost 20 times faster than the UK average. These companies are called Alternative Networks (altnet) and some new research suggests that it will gain serious momentum in the years to come.
A study compiled by the Point Topic team and commissioned by Netgem states that Alternative Networks could have around four million customers by 2025. This corresponds to a market share of around 14 percent and a jump of two percent compared to the current user base.
Although the big names of BT, Sky, and Virgin will still have the majority of customers, the thought of smaller businesses stealing users should definitely keep them busy and could help improve speeds and keep prices down too hold. The broadband market is now flooded with providers, companies like Shell and the Post even offering broadband to households.
What makes the emerging alternative networks so attractive is that they own and operate their devices and cables and don’t depend on the BT OpenReach network.
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That means you can find that your home can achieve much faster download speeds than many of the major internet service providers. This is due to the fact that in many of the houses looked after by Openreach, aging copper pipes still lead into the property. This can slow a snail’s pace. Most alternative networks run a fiber optic link right through your walls, which means the signal inside your property is just as good as it was when you left the main switch.
For example, Community Fiber has just announced that it is launching a service that will offer its customers an incredible 3 Gbps speed.
At this fast speed, 46 times faster than the UK average, downloading a Hollywood blockbuster in crisp HD quality would take just 11 seconds.
About the new study, Netgem UK CCO Shan Eisenberg: “To get the most out of the gigabit broadband revolution, Altnet and Challenger ISPs need to think about giving their customers more options to get the most out of their faster connection when they take the plunge from copper to fiber and the leap from familiar names to newer entrants. This could help make the growth projections even higher than the data suggests.
“In fact, we now have market evidence that 50% retention rates can be achieved for both television and overall home WiFi, allowing ISPs to expand their fishing pool and ARPU, exceeding their growth targets.”
And Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, added, “These are exciting times for broadband in the UK as operators really push their full fiber infrastructure upgrade. As Gigabit broadband becomes widespread in the next few years, providers should leverage value-added services to help customers get the most out of their connection. “