A pair of North West based internet providers have joined forces in a deal worth up to £15m as they bid to take on the UK’s broadband market and bring ultrafast connectivity to 500,000 businesses and homes.
Greater Manchester-based 4th Utility and Cheshire-based ITS Technology Group have this week rubber-stamped a new eight-year partnership that paves the way for the duo to accelerate the rollout of commercial grade fibre broadband.
With 4th Utility investing £15m into the project, the two companies plan to provide 100,000 homes with ultrafast connectivity in the next 12 months, rising to half a million within three years.
4th Utility, which recently received a long-term £25m investment from DIF Capital Partners, work with residential landlords, property developers and house builders to install and upgrade their properties with full fibre connectivity.
Meanwhile ITS design, build and operate gigabit capable full fibre digital networks, often re-using existing infrastructure which drastically speeds up installations, most taking just a few weeks.
Through its ‘Faster Britain’ full fibre network, ITS and 4th Utility will help meet the soaring demand for fast internet connections of gigabit capable connectivity.
As the Government promises 100% Gigabit capability by 2025 and with its announcement of Project Speed, the two companies expect to play a key role by rolling out the Faster Britain network across the UK.
4th Utility CEO, Tony Hughes, said, “This deal brings together two exciting UK broadband providers and by leveraging the ITS network, we will be able to significantly broaden our reach and the pace of our UK-wide rollout.
“We believe in investing in high-quality fibre infrastructure and we offer a reliable solution that means super-fast full fibre broadband can be ready to go from day one. That’s become more important than ever with so many people across the country now working from home for the foreseeable future.
“We’ll be rolling out thousands of new and retro fit installations in the coming months and we’re pleased to have agreed this long-term partnership that will allow us to deliver our ambitious plans for growth. We’re excited for the future, but we’re only just getting started.”
In September, 4th Utility revealed a huge recruitment drive that will see as many as 60 new roles created in Greater Manchester to support its UK expansion, with recruitment giant Morson Group providing HR support.
On the strategic partnership and plans for the coming years, ITS CEO, Daren Baythorpe, said: “We’re really excited to be working with 4th Utility. Our Faster Britain network has been lighting up whole regions of the UK with ultrafast full fibre and this partnership enables us to build more network to more places. The plans we’ve drawn up together are going to improve the digital lives of the homes and businesses we connect.”
The partnership between ITS and 4th Utility goes some way to supporting the broadband pledge which formed a major part of the Government’s election manifesto at the end of 2019. Earlier this year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed the government would invest £5bn into its plan to roll out full-fibre broadband across the UK.