New broadband operator Hyperoptic is overtaking its better-known competitors by some distance by becoming the first supplier to offer 1GB per second broadband to its users, via its full fibre network.
BT, Virgin Media and other popular household broadband names are floundering in the wake of Hyperoptic’s top speed service, which is already 10 times faster than the best that they can come up with. Between them, the aforementioned competition is largely responsible for the UK’s current average broadband speed of 7Mbps, just 993 short of the new-kid-on-the-block’s 1,000Mbps. Despite the UK being one of the most broadband-reliant countries, it lags behind in 25th place for global broadband speeds and is only the 16th fastest in Europe.
Although one gigabit per second – enough to download an HD movie in seconds – is probably way more than most domestic users could possibly need at the moment, the company was in fact founded in 2011 in response to market demand and the people behind it believe that future-proofing their broadband infrastructure is the way to go.
Hyperoptic – the Ferrari of broadband
Managing Director, Dana Tobak said:
“You might not need one gigabit now, but history shows people will use it as time goes on. I wouldn’t pretend there is a need for a gigabit, but there isn’t a need for a Ferrari either.”
Given the current cost to the individual of getting a full fibre connection to their door (BT are planning to make it available on request at £1,000 next year), it’s no wonder that consumer reports suggest that over half of home buyers would pay more for a house that was pre-covered by super-fast broadband. So, are Tobak and business partner Boris Ivanovic onto something?
Having already enjoyed success together, the pair clearly knows a thing or two about the broadband industry. In 2004, they founded the broadband provider Be Un Limited – the first supplier in Britain to offer an “up to” 24 megabits per second service via BT’s copper wires into homes. A year and a half later, they sold that network to O2 and it became the basis of the broadband service that was sold to BSkyB last month.
Having gained valuable experience in the process, the two are even more ambitious for this latest project, unveiling exciting plans for Hyperoptic’s future, which includes branching out beyond broadband. They have brought Darren Shenkin, a former senior executive at BT Vision, on board to help develop their own television service.
They are also not deterred by the fact that they probably won’t see any of the government subsidies that are available for urban super-fast projects, with local councils seemingly preferring to only work with the big boys and not unknown start-ups.
Hyperoptic plans to target large apartment blocks where installation costs are low and return on investment is high. It is encouraging residents in blocks of flats to join together to ask councils to add them to its new network. Where demand is strong enough, the fibre optics will come, Tobak says. With 20,000 homes in London having already installed its fibre optic network, it looks like she might be right.