How OS data is being used to support the roll-out of faster broadband

5 minute read
Remote working has become a way of life and with lockdown keeping people at home, the demand for faster and more reliable broadband has never been greater.

The added pressures of home-schooling and working from home has put further strain on existing broadband networks, largely due to the bandwidth required for video conference calls and staying connected across numerous devices. It is no surprise that there was a surge in households signing up to streaming services during lockdown as we tried to find ways to be entertained and alleviate boredom.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, stated that ‘internet access should be a basic human right’, and during lockdown it has certainly been a lifeline for many, allowing individuals and companies to adapt and carry on.

There has been a significant rise in number of regional fibre broadband companies entering the market, largely in response to the government’s pledge that everyone in Britain will have access to full-fibre broadband by 2033.

OS data is supporting 15 regional fibre broadband companies across GB to identify target locations for the roll out the network, as well as planning ongoing maintenance. Regional companies using our location data include Freedom Fibre, Jurassic Fibre, Lightspeed Broadband and WightFibre.

OS AddressBase provides access to Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRN) to find properties and hubs that require better connectivity, with address level accuracy on multi occupancy buildings such as offices and flats. OS Mastermap Topography allows providers access to accurate data about the changing landscape and infrastructure. This ensures that the fibre optic broadband is delivered efficiently and cost-effectively.

Founded during the Covid-era, Freedom Fibre is installing FTTP (fibre to the premises) broadband and using OS data to improve connectivity issues in rural and remote areas, as well as hotspots in densely populated areas. The fibre optic broadband technology offers faster speed and a more reliable internet connection when compared with the ‘copper last mile’ that has traditionally underpinned the broadband network.

"Understanding the lay of the land from the terrain through to density of housing is fundamental to what we do. OS data provides reliable and accurate location data which enables us to make smarter and more viable business decisions to ensure we can deliver increased connectivity to our subscribers and guarantee that more premises across the UK have access to fast, reliable and stable connectivity."

David Waine, Chief Technical Officer, Freedom Fibre

By the end of 2022, Freedom Fibre’s aim is to rollout the network to 100,000 subscribers in the North West.

Another company using OS data is WightFibre and by the end of 2025, its goal is to achieve almost universal coverage of the Isle of Wight with circa 70,000+ premises already identified using OS data. WightFibre full-fibre broadband is of a ‘point to point’ design which means every connected home receives its own dedicated fibre optic connection without the need to share with neighbours, and upload speeds the same as download speeds.

"OS data was the only reliable source of data on premise location and is fundamental to our planning activities. The detailed data provided by OS has allowed us to plan efficiently and cost effectively to maximise the number of premises we can serve. WightFibre’s full-fibre network will make the Isle of Wight one of the best-connected places in terms of both speed and the percentage of premises served."

John Irvine, CEO, WightFibre

Lightspeed Broadband is also providing full fibre FTTP broadband to residents and businesses in towns across South Lincolnshire and West Norfolk.

"The data we’re able to access from OS is essential in enabling our full fibre network roll out to run as eco-friendly and efficiently as possible, making sure we accurately reach as many homes and businesses across the towns in South Lincolnshire and Norfolk as we can. Our reliable, stable gigabit full-fibre broadband will help unlock the digital potential of these communities."

Dave Axam, Chief Operating Officer, Lightspeed Broadband

John Cartledge, Commercial Lead, OS said: “OS has long history of supporting utility and telecoms customers as they understand the value our location data can bring to their operations. It’s great to see new companies accessing and using our trusted data across all parts of their business. It’s all about collaboration and our customers get accurate, address level data, with access to UPRN’s which in turn improves data sharing with third parties. This is a fast-growing sector and if you are involved in the rollout of fibre broadband and not using OS data, then get in touch to find out how we can improve operations.”

Looking for utilities and telecoms services?

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