How high-capacity connectivity is shaping the digital landscape

How high-capacity connectivity is shaping the digital landscape

Neos Networks Simon Willmott new.jpg
Simon Willmott

Simon Willmott at Neos Networks talks about how 400Gbps takes things up a level.

Today, low-latency, high-capacity connectivity services are viewed as essential as businesses become more reliant than ever on digital practices and high-speed internet access to operate.

Recent figures show how such services are coming to the fore and increasingly becoming the norm. Some 70% of companies were, for example, found to have sped up their cloud migration over the previous year in a recent survey on global IT decision-makers. Expansion of the UK’s own growing appetite for cloud is also reflected in revenues from that sector growing 25 to 30% annually in recent years.

“The growing adoption of next-generation and cloud-based services is exponentially driving end-user traffic,” says Simon Willmott, business development director for wholesale at UK business fibre provider Neos Networks. “This naturally increases the demands on network providers, which want to deploy high-capacity and backhaul services as close to their customers as possible.”

Recently, there’s been a call for higher capacities for backhaul connectivity as the market looks to take things up a notch. Neos sought to address that need this August, when it launched its national 400Gbps optical-wavelength service across an initial 26 data centres in the UK, with plans to add more of its 600-plus points of presence in the coming months. “Our new 400Gbps optical product bridges the gap for partners who need more than 100Gbps backhaul, but either cannot or do not want to move to a self-managed dark-fibre solution,” says Willmott.

Furthermore, putting 400Gbps in place means that the larger capacity is there for the longer term, avoiding the need for repeated upgrades and changes in the future. “It creates a simplified connection compared to having to manage multiple 100Gbps wavelengths, along with reduced cross-connect charges,” says Willmott. “400Gbps services will also offer better value in pounds per gigabyte than their 100Gbps counterparts.”

Expanding options

Coupled with a variety of initiatives to bring a growing amount of direct fibre connectivity to UK businesses, such moves are creating more choice and competition in the market.

Neos has embarked on a campaign in recent years to unbundle hundreds of BT exchanges, providing it with a broad network reach that spans the UK. More recently, Neos has also diversified its offering by launching its first metro access networks, providing direct end-to-end connectivity in four metro cities: Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and London.

“The launch of our metro access networks was a great step for us,” says Willmott. “They allowed us to provide our wholesale partners with a clearer route to market alongside better visibility over their entire connection, due to only one supplier – us – providing the end-to-end service.”

And the company is looking to make further improvements too by extending the capacities of some of its other services, including increasing the speed of its Managed Dedicated Internet Access service to 10Gbps.

Meeting ever-changing demand

These combined approaches are strengthening alternative options for UK connectivity, at a time when reliable, dedicated access is becoming a growing requisite. But what does the future hold?

Willmott paints a picture of even greater demand for bandwidth to meet the requirements of increasingly advanced services. “Higher-capacity services such as 800Gbps and above will be needed in the not-too-distant future as a market alternative to dark fibre, with the expansion of sensing technologies in vehicles like cars and trains, along with emerging technologies that create huge amounts of data that need to be moved around or into the cloud.”

In the meantime, Neos is plotting out its route to these forthcoming realities under the fresh perspective of new CEO Lee Myall, who joined the company in September from data centre provider Kao Data and has significant experience in implementing transformation strategies.

Willmott believes this comes at an exciting time for the company, when there is a real opportunity to support high-capacity access to enable the government’s digital ambitions. And he thinks it is essential to get this correct right now given all the changes that are afoot in both the UK and around the world. “Next-generation technologies including IoT, 5G and AI will require robust networks to truly succeed,” says Willmott.

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