Hyperoptic plans to implement "fiber-to-the-home" broadband technology in more than 500,000 British households within 5 years.
Hyperoptic, a local supplier of 1-Gbps fiber broadband, has just won a £50 million ($75 million) cash injection from a finance group led by high-profile investor George Soros.
The three-year-old company is basing its plans on the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) approach, in which optical fiber comprises the final connection to the subscriber's premises. In contrast, with rival technology FTTC (fiber-to-the-cabinet) the new access network architecture ends at the street, with the final leg of connection back down to older (and, according to FTTH advocates, much more constrained) copper wires.
The FTTH approach is much less common in the U.K. than in countries like Japan, where it makes up around half of all high-speed connections; or the U.S., where it accounts for about 10%, according to data from the Fiber to the Home Council Europe. In addition, the U.K.'s dominant player in fiber, BT, has plowed the bulk of its investment into an FTTC topology.
It seems Hyperoptic sees a big future in messing with BT's plans. The startup's website claims to offer service that's 10 times faster than "the nearest major competitor" and 140 times faster than the U.K. average of 7 Mbps.
Hyperoptic plans to use its investment cash to implement service in more than 500,000 British homes within the next five years. (To put that goal in perspective, the company currently boasts a mere 20,000 customers in London.) It also wants to start offering a commercial broadband to business and commercial clients, and to develop new products, such as IPTV and cloud computing offerings.
According to Louis Armstrong, one of Hyperoptic's non-executive board members, "The U.K.'s major property developers, managers, investors and owners alike are awakening to [superfast broadband] and will soon begin to realize the significant benefits -- including increased value and marketability of a property -- of 'future-proofing' their assets, taking smart decisions today about what will be absolutely critical for tomorrow." In other words, Hyperoptic hopes home buyers will be more likely to lay down cash for a property that could boast FTTH capacity. The company cites consumer surveys to give this idea some credence. >>Read more