ISP Review: Interview with Giles Phelps, MD of Spectrum Internet

The Managing Director of Cardiff-based ISP Spectrum Internet, Giles Phelps, has told as part our exclusive interview that the Government’s roll-out of superfast broadband is “about 5 years too late” and that future projects should focus on ultra-fast FTTH/P broadband with fixed wireless for remote rural areas.

As an ISP Spectrum Internet, which has deployed plenty of its own fibre optic and fixed wireless broadband infrastructure around parts of the United Kingdom (they’ve also unbundled a number of exchanges from BT in order to offer more services), is perhaps mostly focused on improving connectivity in southern Wales and the south west of England.

Spectrum also works with BTOpenreach, just like most ISPs, but they still “prefer to roll out our own network where possible.” The provider, which started life as Connect Cardiff in 2008 before a rebrand in 2011, and initially only focussed on the city centre, is also one of the founding members of the Cardiff Internet Exchange (Cardiff IX).

Most recently they’ve also been deploying ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP/H) services to a number of rural and urban locations, such as in parts of Bristol and even to a rural primary school that required them to use micro trenching and redundant utility infrastructure. On top of that they’re also exploring VDSL Vectoring (FTTC) and technology, just like BT.

Suffice to say that Spectrum Internet has a lot of experience in this field, both as an Internet provider and a developer of the underlying infrastructure, which makes their views particularly important. However Giles is “not convinced” that the Government will actually deliver 24Mbps+ speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017/18 as promised and suggests that it would have been better to ensure that “all areas had a minimum level

[of speed] to begin with rather than just talking about top speeds.”

In the following interview Giles also expresses concern about the BDUK contracts in Wales, which he says were “considered as a whole rather than divided … which meant that none of the smaller providers could have bid” and he is worried that in “some cases the timescales for delivery are unachievable … It’s best to be upfront with people if things … are likely to be [delayed].”

However Giles, who is similarly worried about the Government’s plan to spend public money on a Satellite subsidy, also admits that BT was probably one of the only operators that could do the job. “No one else out there could do it faster as the timescales are so tight – but of course it would have been better if there was more FTTP,” said Giles.

To see the full interview, click here.