12 June 2017
| Jason Mcgee-Abe
Energy giant SSE is reportedly exploring major investments in ultrafast broadband infrastructure and is looking to create its own network, according to the Telegraph.
If the reports are true that the energy company is presently looking at the business case of deploying a network of fibre-optic cables, it could threaten a fresh challenge to BT and Virgin Media.
David Walter, the director of SSE's broadband division, reportedly confirmed with the Telegraph that no final decisions have yet been taken, but said it is looking at ways of boosting its presence in the telecoms sector “all the time”.
Options reportedly being explored include the potential of taking over rival broadband providers and Walter is cited as saying that SSE would invest alongside partners in new fibre-based infrastructure, with the cost of building new connections being shared with retail rivals, adding that the idea of plugging into backbone networks that already exist, such as those created by CityFibre and Vodafone, is also on the table.
“To compete with BT and Virgin media, SSE will need to select the right tools for the job. Whilst the industry will always rely on deep fibre to feed bandwidth into neighbourhoods and urban areas, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) is not cost effective and is disruptive to deploy,” said Jaime Fink, co-founder and CPO at Mimosa Networks.
“SSE should take lessons from internet providers in the US and use fixed wireless to deliver broadband to the home, which offers speeds akin to FTTH, at nearly one-tenth of the cost. New US broadband market entrants such as Google and Facebook are leveraging fixed wireless, with established players such as AT&T and Verizon also considering this approach for rapidly commercialising 5G. The technology could help SSE serve all environments efficiently across the UK, undercutting the market with the speed and price of its service.”