Our client, Hyperoptic has been make a big noise in the Broadband space. Whilst other providers continue to get their wrist slapped by Ofcom for over-inflated speed claims - up to 20 meg my arse! - Hyperoptic have blown them away with 1 gig. And the first building has just come on stream.
Read on for the full scoop. By the way one of the tasks we had was to give the brand and the service a name. The Times has a view on that!
Anybody who has been caught in the traffic on the South Circular heading through Wandsworth will not associate the London suburb with speed. Yet Wandsworth may go down in history for the country’s first commercial launch of a 1 gigabit a second broadband service, which is roughly ten times faster than the top service elsewhere on the market. By today’s standards, this is nosebleed-fast broadband.
Hyperoptic – an obscure name for a telecoms operator that sounds more like a Thomas Dolby hit than an emerging challenger to BT – has wired up the Prices Court riverside development in Wandsworth with its fibre optic cables.
The service, which goes live today, will be available to just 133 flats, so it’s very small beer in terms of network rollout. Yet Hyperoptic has plans to expand across London over the coming year to cover tens of thousands of premises and has already tapped into buildings located in the Docklands in the east to Shepherd’s Bush in the west of the capital.
Its building-by-building approach may smack of Ballardian images of privileged communities living in isolated high rises, but it also provides a glimpse into the future when 1 gigabit will be the standard for a fully networked society.
It will be easy for BT and Virgin Media to shrug off the start-up operator but Hyperoptic is noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly it is one of the few providers to openly shun the debate around the so-called digital divide.
The business is only interested in urban areas with high population density, which is both pragmatic in terms of its business model but also highlights the fact that many suburban dwellers are not yet benefiting from superfast broadband with the Government’s attention largely focused on rural areas.
The other reason to sit up and pay attention to Hyperoptic rests on its track record. The company’s founders are the team that launched Be Broadband back in 2005 before it was sold to O2 less than a year later at a very tidy profit.
Be was the first operator to launch a 24 megabits per second service at a time when the big players were arguing that 2 megabits was enough for most people’s needs. Hyperoptic is bracing itself for the jump to fibre optic networks to be more dramatic than the upgrade from dial-up to broadband over the past decade and is determined to once again be the market pace-setter.
BT and Virgin Media have engaged in a headline-grabbing race for the top billing in the broadband speeds but demand for the superfast services has lagged the hype. Most people are prepared to stay in the slow lane in terms of broadband speeds based on their current usage. However the lesson learnt from the smartphone revolution is that bandwidth demand can rocket overnight if consumer behaviour changes.