Q&A Interview with Sarah Mills of Neos Networks

Q&A with Sarah Mills, MD for Wholesale and Smart Infrastructure, Neos Networks

20 April 2021 | Jason McGee-Abe

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After the news that SSE Enterprise Telecoms had rebranded as Neos Networks at the end of March, Capacity caught up with Sarah Mills, Managing Director of Wholesale and Smart Infrastructure, to find out why the relaunch took place and how it ties into the company's ambitious network and product expansion plans.

Q. What were the key drivers in rebranding SSE Enterprise Telecoms to Neos Networks?

We believe the market needs a new network alternative to existing providers. Rebranding as Neos Networks (which literally means “new network”) not only supports this ambition, it also reflects our state-of-the-art UK-wide infrastructure and the investment we are making to build more, new network over the next 18 months. Neos Networks shows the market that we have truly innovative aspirations to support the UK’s digital future.

Neos Networks was our name up until 2003, and brand research showed that this name is still recognised in the industry today and continues to hold strong positive association amongst our customers. And as the first company to launch national Ethernet services across the UK, it already has a challenging and innovative heritage that we are keen to embody with the rebrand.

Our business transformation journey started in 2019 when Infracapital acquired 50% of the business, with SSE Group retaining the other 50%. We felt it was important to continue the transformation journey by establishing a clearer, more recognisable and relevant long-term identity in the telecoms market. With ambitions to further consolidate the company’s position as the premier B2B connectivity partner across the UK, we wanted a name that would establish our place in the industry, independent from our investors.

Q. How will the launch of Neos Networks positively impact the UK’s digital ambitions and connectivity aspirations?

As Neos Networks we will continue our significant network expansion, while collaborating and partnering with like-minded businesses to keep UK organisations connected and to facilitate future digital technologies.  

Our goal is to create a network alternative to existing providers and meet the need for high bandwidth, high resilience services across the UK. That’s why we’re offering connectivity services of up to 100Gbps, and using our network to underpin technologies such as 5G and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This year alone, we are in the process of doubling our network reach, with over 550 exchanges due to be on our network by the end of 2021, helping to better connect the nation.

Q. Neos Networks is undergoing a period of significant network expansion, how does the rebrand tie into this? And what further opportunities will it present?

We have already begun work to deploy high capacity connectivity in regions across the UK, helping to future proof local economies, create jobs and lead large-scale digital transformation programmes for local government institutions.

We are currently deploying full fibre projects across the country, including in Aberdeenshire, to bring gigabit-capable connectivity to public sector sites such as priority NHS and education facilities, helping to deliver improved and efficient public services.

Expanding our network and delivering high capacity, future-proof connectivity services are core commitments of our brand, as is continuing to provide the outstanding service that our customers have come to rely upon.

Q. One of the first product launches as Neos Networks is Ethernet over FTTx (EoFTTx). Could you explain more about this service and what its launch will mean for UK connectivity.

Our EoFTTx service is a cost-effective sub 1Gbps connectivity service, purpose-built to support a growing and currently un-met demand for full fibre connectivity across all areas of the UK. The solution has been designed to revolutionise the market, enabling businesses to access Ethernet services at lower capacities and at a lower price point, without having to compromise on quality.

The service is perfect for organisations operating smaller sites that aren’t ready for 1Gbps services and above, but are too mature for standard broadband connectivity. We’re utilising our own expansive network as well as Openreach’s access product to deploy these hybrid Ethernet services.

The solution will be available via our customer portal LIVEQUOTE which provides quoting, ordering and price comparison capabilities via our own network and those of leading third-party providers. EoFTTx is just one of the exciting product launches we have planned for this year, so stay tuned.

Q. A core ambition of Neos Networks is to further develop backhaul networks to improve UK business connectivity. Please explain your current plans to achieve this.

One of the main benefits of our Ethernet exchange backhaul service is its ability to offer more cost-effective backhaul solutions for service providers, carriers and alternative network customers operating their own networks throughout the UK. Neos Networks’ exchange backhaul enables a higher number of UK businesses access to next-generation connectivity across a business-grade, uncontended network.

Neos Networks offers scalable Exchange Backhaul across our entire unbundled footprint and are continuing to expand our network to connect major cities as well as more rural areas often overlooked. By relying on Neos Networks to provide the high capacity foundations, our customers can focus on developing their own network, without the challenges and expense that comes with managing the dig themselves.

Another key element of the backhaul service is that customers can procure ‘exchange to exchange’ or ‘exchange to data centre’ backhaul capacity from 1Gbps up to 100Gbps, far beyond the average bandwidth typically offered by our competitors. This provides clients with a long-term upgrade path as their demands increase. When combined with the size of our network, Neos Networks are in a prime position to provide services for a wider range of businesses across the UK.

Sarah Mills, Managing Director for Wholesale and Smart Infrastructure, Neos Networks

Sarah is responsible for delivering Neos Networks' wholesale strategy by enabling Mobile Network Operators to achieve their 5G ambitions through high capacity fibre delivery, as well as supporting our Network Operators and Service Providers, helping them to achieve their regional or global connectivity strategies.

Sarah has over 15 years of experience, having worked at O2 for eight years, followed by seven years with Telefonica Global Solutions, leading business development and strategy across Latin America, China and Europe.