What’s in a name? Trials and tribulations of being an altnet


UK alternative network providers (altnets) are experiencing mixed fortunes. On the positive side, the likes of Gigaclear and CityFibre continue to bullishly celebrate their continued expansion, whilst others are falling foul of tough economic conditions – most recently Broadway Partners who went into administration at the end of May.

The situation isn’t eased by the consumer concerns over whether they can trust an altnet.

New research published by comparison website Uswitch found that only 15% of broadband customers answered positively when asked “Do you know what a broadband alternative network altnet is?” and only one-in-three consumers said they would consider using a new or unfamiliar provider.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, commented “The main challenge altnets face is that no one knows who they are. So, when they offer lower prices with incredible advertised speeds, consumers understandably may find it hard to be sure if they can trust them over the big names who have been around for decades.”

The irony of the situation will not be lost on the altnets. Most broadband customers (61%) would like to see more variety and choice in terms of broadband providers in their local area and altnets are well positioned for the current economic climate, generally offering consumers better value for money (up to three times more performance per £ according to Uswitch) – but still consumers are wary.

Today Chancellor Jeremy Hunt meets with economic regulators to discuss how to protect consumers from the impact of high inflation, so maybe this is the moment for altnets to shine? Certainly, this is the view of YouFibre’s CEO, Jeremy Chelot, who commented “Alternative networks like YouFibre, Hyperoptic, and Community Fibre are working hard to offer consumers ultrafast internet at fair prices and it’s time for them to make their voices heard.”

To hear more from the altnets, make sure you attend Connected Britain this September…

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