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Greater Manchester-based altnet Freedom Fibre has announced the appointment of a new executive to head up its business channel as work starts to onboard the first business customers for its B2B-enabled FTTP network. Meanwhile, CityFibre has named Newark as the next town in line for a multimillion-pound investment into its £8bn cross-UK digital infrastructure.
Freedom Fibre offers ultra-fast broadband to almost 20,000 homes across parts of Cheshire and Greater Manchester through its use of BT ducts and poles, and its ultimate business plan is to reach more than two million premises in its chosen locations. The company is on track to reach 70,000 premises by the end of this year and expects to boost customer penetration through its wholesale agreement with TalkTalk to use its fibre-optic connections. Freedom Fibre will be seeking to add other broadband service providers over time as it scales.
In May, the company secured £100m commitment of scale-up funding and has now appointed Lee Sutch to lead its B2B strategy for sales, partners, and the onboarding of business customers – an important and integral part of its long-term business plan as well as working to support continued growth. Sutch has extensive experience in telecoms, including roles at Verastar and TalkTalk Business.
Freedom Fibre founder and CEO Neil McArthur said: “I am delighted Lee is joining the team at Freedom Fibre as head of B2B. He is joining just at the right time. B2B is an important part of strategy to build a converged consumer and B2B-enabled FTTP network. Having agreed a funding package totalling £100m in June this year, Freedom Fibre has now been able to launch the planned B2B programme alongside the scale-up plans for consumer fibre products.
“FTTP is highly disruptive to the current generation of B2B services available and will deliver increased bandwidths, lower latency, higher availability, and reduced pricing across the full bandwidth range. Lee has extensive experience in the B2B channel and is well known to many colleagues at Freedom Fibre, having been part of the B2B team way back in our Opal Telecoms days.”
Sutch added: “I am really excited to be joining the team at Freedom Fibre and at such a crucial time. Having built up successful partner channels for Verastar, XLN and TalkTalk Business, I am really looking forward to helping the team to build an industry-leading and enviable B2B wholesale partner operation. The Freedom Fibre network is delivering the very latest in technology, allowing us to open up a vast array of market-disruptive fibre and ethernet services backed by creative deployment.”
Meanwhile, hot on the heels of recent roll-outs in the Midlands region, CityFibre is set to invest £10m in a new town-wide network in Newark that is designed to bring fast and reliable full-fibre-enabled internet services within reach of almost every home and business. Construction work on the full-fibre network in the Nottinghamshire town will begin this November.
“Access to this type of technology will help to close the digital divide and ensure a future for Newark’s digital economy, at a time when our district is benefiting from new developments as a result of government investment,” said Rhona Holloway, portfolio holder for economic development and visitors at Newark and Sherwood District Council. “This full-fibre roll-out will be especially important for our businesses and those working from home and will transform their connectivity.”
Network services in Newark will be available from an increasing range of broadband providers. CityFibre is already working with launch partner Vodafone to supply full-fibre infrastructure for customers on selected Vodafone Pro Broadband plans, while TalkTalk, IDNet, Giganet, Zen Internet and other providers are expected to join the network soon.