SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ high-capacity fibre ring in central London will link to Three UK and O2’s cell sites using London’s sewer system
A need for new fibre
The speed, consistency and ubiquity of 5G is expected to revolutionise consumer services, allowing for near-instant downloads of HD films, while underpinning next-generation technology enhancements such as connected cars, smart medical devices and smart cities. To make 5G a reality, deep, robust aggregation of fronthaul and backhaul access is necessary in order to provide greater resiliency, increase capacity and reduce latency.
The key requirement ahead of the launch of commercial 5G services is high capacity fibre connectivity, which must provide fast, reliable and secure backhaul to core networks, in order to be able to cope with the expected massive increase in data usage: according to Ofcom, UK data usage is set to grow thirteen-fold between 2017 and 2025.
Next generation mobile services are expected to begin in the UK in the second half of 2019 when the first 5G capable devices are released by manufacturers.
Why sewers could be the key to 5G
Following a deal struck in 2017, SSE Enterprise Telecoms is licensed to lay fibre optic cables throughout Thames Water’s waste water network. Following the need for more pervasive networks, SSE Enterprise Telecoms has sought new, innovative routes to create new fibre networks in key locations at a lower cost and with faster deployment times than traditional digs.
The agreement with Three UK and O2 will see approximately 100 points of connectivity exit from this central London sewer network via two BT Exchanges. By partnering with SSE Enterprise Telecoms, Three UK and O2 can operate their own Central London Area (CLA) network, while also accessing spare fibre ducts for future initiatives in London.
“Networks will fundamentally underpin the UK’s digital economy and will be essential to 5G services,” said Colin Sempill, Managing Director of SSE Enterprise Telecoms. “With this high capacity core in the London sewers, Three UK and O2 are tapping into our unique, diverse connectivity and putting their networks in a strong position to trial 5G offerings, while enhancing existing services for their customers.”
Dave Dyson, Chief Executive Officer of Three UK added, “New and innovative models are essential to improving the customer experience of mobile networks by increasing the availability of dark fibre for mobile backhaul and driving competition in the market. Our partnership with SSE Enterprise Telecoms and O2 is one of the first examples of using existing infrastructure to improve connectivity in an urban area.”
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer of O2 shared: “This kind of agreement is essential to allow for continued investment and improvement of services for our customers. This partnership is a great example of SSE Enterprise Telecoms, Three UK and O2 coming together in a collaborative and innovative way to address the growing challenge and pressure of obtaining access to fibre for mobile backhaul in the UK.”
For more information, please contact:
SSE Enterprise telecoms press office
Notes to Editors
About SSE Enterprise Telecoms
SSE Enterprise Telecoms provides class-leading connectivity and data centre services that deliver very high performance, cost efficiency and a competitive edge. The company operates a 13,700km private telecoms network and an estate of 15 data centres that span the UK. With its extensive telecoms and data centre operational expertise it offers commercial security with unrivalled in-house engineering resource.
With a passionate and conscientious team, as well as the backing of the SSE Group, it continues to invest in the future of its customers, staff, services, and infrastructure. For further information, please visit: http://www.ssetelecoms.com/ or the SSE Enterprise Telecoms blog: http://www.ssetelecoms.com/blog/.
About Three UK
Three is a communications company focused on connecting people to people, people to things and things to things.
Today, Three has more than 10 million customers who use over 3.5 times more mobile data than the industry average. Our network covers over 99% of the UK population.
Three has the UK’s leading 5G spectrum portfolio holding more than the rest of the industry combined. Three is the only operator able to meet the IMT 2020 standard for full 5G services.
Three was voted the Best Network for Data at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards, as well as Best Network for Roaming by uSwitch, and the Best High Street Retailer at the Mobile Industry Awards. We have a Net Promoter Score of +13, the best of any UK network, alongside +18 score for Employee Net Promoter Score, reflecting a high level of employee engagement.
Three UK is part of the CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd group of companies which has mobile operations in 11 countries. We employ more than 4,000 people across our offices in Maidenhead, Glasgow and Reading and our 300 retail stores.
About Telefónica UK/O2
O2 is a mobile network operator and the principal commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited, which is part of the global telecommunications group Telefónica S.A, headquartered in Spain and operating in Europe, and North, Central and South America.
O2 was awarded Best Network Coverage in 2018 by uSwitch and with over 32 million connections to the network, it runs 2G, 3G and 4G services across the UK, as well as operating its nationwide O2 Wifi service.
The company is the network of choice for mobile virtual network operators such as giffgaff, Sky Mobile and Lyca Mobile as well as managing a 50:50 joint venture with Tesco for Tesco Mobile.
O2 has around 6,700 employees and over 450 retail stores and sponsors England Ruby, The O2 and 19 O2 Academy music venues across the UK. Through a comprehensive sustainability strategy O2 is also creating work experience opportunities for 16-24 year olds via its GoThinkBig platform, enabling customers to reduce their impact on the environment by recycling their old devices through O2 Recycle and, in partnership with the NSPCC, helping parents to keep their children safe online.
Telefónica UK Limited is registered in England and Wales. Registration number: 1743099.
Its registered office is at: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 4DX, United Kingdom.