17 May 2022

Delivering full fibre via public private partnerships

The rollout of full fibre has gathered serious momentum over the last few years. There are many drivers for this, not least that at more than a century and half old, the copper telephony networks are reaching end of life and the PTSN switch off is set for 2025. With the government’s targets now settling on universal access to Gigabit capable broadband and 4/5G mobile connectivity by 2030, it is also one of its 12 missions to level up the UK.

A significant driving force enabling this transformation are the alternative network operators. A huge amount of private funding is giving this community considerable financial firepower, comparable to the scale of many of the investments made by BT and Virgin.  

Reusing public assets 

ITS Technology Group designs, builds, and operates open access wholesale full fibre networks across the UK. Through our ‘Faster Britain’ partner programme, we deliver access to Gigabit capable connectivity, enabling UK businesses to develop and innovate in the digital age. We are on track to pass 25% of UK business premises by the end of this year, as our delivery programme has been accelerated having recently secured a further £100m from Aviva Investors. 

ITS forged its first local authority partnership with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham back in 2017, a concession agreement to use the council’s CCTV ducts to build a full fibre network. This more sustainable reuse, or ‘dig once’ method is something that ITS pioneered and continues to apply to all its network builds. We have since signed agreements with several local authorities, including the flagship digital infrastructure project with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. 

Case study: LCR Connect 

Under Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority prioritised investment in this city region wide digital infrastructure to underpin access to next-generation future-proofed and cloud-enabled technologies.  

LCR Connect is a 212km full fibre, ultrafast, Gigabit-capable network spanning the Liverpool City Region. A £30m Joint Venture, it is 50% owned by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which is investing up to £15m, while the rest of the investment is coming from Joint Venture partners ITS and NGE. 

Underpinning growth 

The network which will be completed next year will underpin economic growth, innovation, inward investment, and job creation. In fact, experts estimate that, with 100% full fibre coverage across the city region, the economic boost could be worth up to £1bn, creating thousands of local job and training opportunities.  

Only a few weeks ago the Combined Authority unveiled its aim to invest 5% of its economy on Research and Development (R&D) by 2030 – nearly double the government’s UK target. This would create 44,000 jobs and help the UK ambition to be an innovation superpower.  

LCR Connect offers the digital infrastructure to enable this ambition; with futureproofed capacity throughout the city region, connecting research assets and clusters. Already we are seeing interest for edge computing applications, based on hyper-localised data processing, to further drive low network latency.  

The benefit of an open access network 

ITS has built an extensive partner network (300+ and counting) which includes other network operators, Internet Service Providers, and IT resellers who use our network to offer services to end customers. It is these relationships, including sector specialists, that enables LCR Connect to offer such an extensive portfolio of connectivity, voice and cloud services. 

The network offers a holistic design over a wide geography, encompassing six local authorities; and takes a state-of-the-art approach, with resilient rings, four data centre points of presence with 25 cabinets providing localised access points for internet traffic.   

Crucially, the Joint Venture shares a cultural alignment, with each partner offering industry insight and expertise, an ambition to lead in a novel method of digital infrastructure delivery and a dedication to LCR to transform not only digital connectivity, but to support economic growth and digital inclusion.  

Guest blog by Claire Delahunty, Faster Britain Ambassador from ITS Technology Group. For more information visit: www.itstechnologygroup.com — Follow ITS Technology Group on Twitter and LinkedIn

To read more from the Future Private Networks campaign week check out our landing page here

Private Networks User Guides & podcast

Private networks: a new user guide by techUK

Our #techUKPrivateNetworks campaign week celebrated the publication of a new user guide techUK has produced, to help prospective private networks customers, across enterprise and the public sector, understand the key benefits of adopting advanced connectivity in their organisations. The guide helps users as they formulate a business case for investing in enhanced private networks, and the key success factors. We also shine a spotlight on several case studies. 

Private networks: a techUK user guide

Gain a clear understanding of the benefits of adopting private network technology for your business with this techUK user guide.

Download for free

Private network ecosystem: Management model - A new techUK guide

techUK's Advanced Communications Services Working Group created a new guide for organisations considering building out services using 5G networking technology entitled 'Private network ecosystem: Management model'

It introduces and describes the principles of neutral hosts, and then goes on to describe the architecture and ecosystem which supports the provision of shared services, particularly in the context of high capacity/low latency applications, which will drive 5G deployment. While this paper is focussed on 5G, many of the principles of neutral hosts, and the discussion of edge versus core provision will apply to other technologies such as Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 6.

Private network ecosystem: Management model

A technical guide by techUK for users of private networks, outlining how the ecosystem is managed. It outlines the architecture of edge native applications in the architecture of the ecosystem, the value chain and operating models, resilience, operations, and the role of Neutral Hosts. 

Download for free


The techUK podcast: Making the case for Private Networks

In this episode of the techUK podcast, we explore the topic of private networks for enterprise, specifically, how we can accelerate the deployment of private networks from beyond the testbed phase and drive adoption across industry and the public sector.  

The episode covers the key challenges for enterprise customers that the telecoms sector can address with advanced connectivity services, including 5G and Wi-Fi 6, and how we, the supplier base, can effectively deliver on the benefits of private networks. 

Sophie James, Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy at techUK, joins a conversation with Simon Parry, CTO at Nokia EnterpriseCatherine Gull, Consultant at Cellnex and Dez O’Connor, Senior Manager at Cisco. Sophie also catches up with Mike Kennett, Senior Consultant & Head of Regulatory Affairs at Freshwave