Alternative full fibre UK ISP Trooli has today secured around £26.6 million (€30m) of funding from European investors, which they say will help them to start building a new Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network to 500,000 premises across the South East of England within 5 years.
The ISP, which is the offspring of Call Flow Solutions and was founded by ex-BT executive Andy Conibere, launched exactly one year ago (here). At the time they had only just completed deployments to two rural towns in Kent and covered 5,000 premises (i.e. Paddock Wood and King’s Hill in West Malling).
Back then the provider said they had enough money to reach a further 10 towns within the next 12 months (potential coverage of around 26,000 premises) and were passing 1,000 per month. By comparison today’s announcement states that Trooli has so far covered 6,000 premises (well short of the expectation), but thanks to this funding they’re now able to ramp-up their rollout to a larger patch of small towns across the South East.
The goal seems to be to cover 500,000 premises by around the end of 2024. Trooli were also one of the first in the UK to deploy ADTRAN’s new 10Gbps FTTP equipment (XGSPON), although other full fibre ISPs have since started to do the same. They’ve also been making some use of Openreach’s (BT) existing cable ducts via the revised Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product.
Ashley Atkins, CFO of Trooli, said:
“There is an urgent need for the higher broadband speeds and more reliable services that only true fibre offers over copper alternatives, particularly in small towns where internet users feel left behind. This investment will enable us to ramp up our build rate and use our rapid deployment method to meet this demand with our ultra-fast broadband services.”
At present Trooli’s packages tend to cost from £50 inc. VAT per month for an unlimited 300Mbps service and this rises to £80 for 900Mbps+ (one-off installation charges range from £80 for self-install to £120 for a Trooli install). However £26.6m will only be enough to get them started and they’ll need to raise significantly more investment to achieve their ambition of 500,000 premises (we’d guess £300m+ given the areas they’re looking at).
On top of that the ISP will face competition from the rising number of rival full fibre builders, although admittedly their decision to focus upon small towns may give them an initial advantage (most of the larger players are currently battling over much more commercially attractive cities and large towns). Eventually those guys will start to focus on smaller towns too but probably not for awhile (enough time for Trooli to potentially build a first mover advantage).
So far their FTTP network has reached Kings Hill, Paddock Wood and Hawking in Kent, as well as Ropley and Bramdean in Hampshire. Call Flow added that their deal for Trooli was advised by Marcus Allchurch at Acuity Advisors.