Job Losses Strike UK Full Fibre ISP Lightspeed Broadband as Build Slows

Alternative network builder and UK ISP LightSpeed Broadband, which aspires to deploy a gigabit-capable full fibre (FTTP) network to cover 1 million premises across the East of England by 2026, has confirmed to ISPreview that some of their staff have been notified of redundancies in the future.

Just to recap. LightSpeed secured an investment of £60m from the Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund in 2021 (here), which was on top of their original backing of £55m from AtmosClear Investments, Kompass Kapital and Thesaurium. The operator has since claimed to be building across parts of 32 towns, such as Boston, Bourne, Braintree, Clacton-on-Sea, Market Deeping, Skegness, Spalding, Stamford and more.

However, the provider, which previously held an initial target of covering 200,000 homes by the end of 2022, today claims that they’re “approaching 320,000 enabled premises“. But after some clarification, the provider confirmed that only 120,000 of those are considered Ready for Service (i.e. live and connectable by customers).

By comparison, the most recent independent data from Thinkbroadband suggests they’re currently sitting at somewhere around 34,000 RFS premises. Quite the gap. The bad news is that Spalding-based Lightspeed Broadband appears to have just become the latest network operator to notify their staff of potential redundancies and a slowing of their network build.

A spokesperson for LightSpeed told ISPreview:

“It’s been a fantastic 3 years and we’ve grown fast!

To date, our achievements are many and significant. We are approaching 320,000 enabled premises, just been awarded the ‘Fastest Broadband Provider’ by Broadband Genie and we have built resources to support our customers resulting in a market leading Trustpilot score of 4.8.

This is all thanks to the talent, hard work, dedication, and commitment of the LightSpeed team. We started with nothing and now have 125 employees. But it’s time for a re-organisation to reflect the fact that we are slowing the network build rate and focussing our resources on supporting our customers and launching new services.

We recognise that reorganisations are always difficult. The detailed plan is not yet complete, but it is likely that the headcount reduction will be greater than 19 staff. That requires us to go through a formal consultancy process, so that’s what we are doing. And, of course, we will support all staff as best we can.

We are undertaking these modifications because we know we can be better, stronger, and even more fit for purpose. And that will result in our customers, staff and shareholders all being better served.”

As we’ve reported before, several other builders of new full fibre networks – even some of the largest players – are currently known to be struggling due to a combination of issues, such as rising costs (build, leases etc.), aggressive competition from rivals (e.g. overbuild) and the related need to secure a viable level of take-up by consumers. All of this has a tendency to dampen the appetite of investors, slow builds and put pressure on jobs.

Residential customers of the service typically pay from £24.95 per month for a 100Mbps (symmetric speed) package on a 24-month term, which goes up to £29.96 (£39.95 after 24-months) for their top 1000Mbps tier. All packages include a wireless router, £30 one-off setup charge and a commitment for “no in-contract price rises.” Suffice to say that they’re competitively priced.

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