UK’s only dedicated enterprise fibre network is ready to connect London businesses, providing direct access to essential fibre infrastructure
Vorboss, a London-based telecommunications company, has installed over 500 km of fibre optic cables in London since 2020 and is investing over £250 million to build London’s only full-coverage fibre network dedicated to business, with a commitment to cover all commercial buildings in Central London.
Vorboss delivers 10 Gbps as the new minimum standard, with services at 100 Gbps already live with customers. This includes 22 Bishopsgate, Britain’s largest office building noted for its visionary approach to technology. The Vorboss service helped 22 Bishopsgate secure a WiredScore Platinum connectivity certificate, the highest possible stamp of approval.
“Internet connectivity has become the single most important utility for most businesses,” said Tim Creswick, Vorboss Founder and CEO. “Our network is designed for one purpose: provide the capacity that London needs. In a market where most businesses are still connected at 1 Gbps or less, we’re proud to be providing 10 Gbps as a minimum, effectively removing bandwidth constraints for our customers. We own our network end to end and sell directly to our customers, which allows us to bypass the resellers that provide access to the Openreach network.”
The majority of London businesses are reliant on legacy Openreach infrastructure, which can only be accessed through resellers. The growing reliance on technology and the steady shift towards cloud-based infrastructure has increased dependency and bandwidth demands on fibre network providers.
Vorboss is disrupting the status quo by providing ambitious London businesses with direct access to critical fibre infrastructure, with simple, transparent pricing, and London-wide coverage.
“London generates a GDP of over £500 billion; yet, many businesses remain at the mercy of restrictive telecommunications products and business models,” said Creswick. “These legacy networks are a limiting factor in critical technology decisions, which can restrict growth. Our network is unrivalled in both scale and quality, and our sole focus is enabling business growth.”
Theo Blackwell MBE, Chief Digital Officer for London, said: “The Mayor of London is committed to world-class digital connectivity for London’s businesses and is creating an investment climate that infrastructure providers can trust. It is great to see Vorboss launch today, with a focus on enabling growth across core sectors where London has a global advantage like tech, financial services, creative industries, and property. Success in these areas will support our plans to boost our capital’s economy and create new jobs.”
The Vorboss approach to building the network is as disruptive as the network itself. Vorboss has created over 300 new jobs for Londoners in the last 18 months; for most, it is their first foray into telecommunications. Much of this has been enabled by the 2019 change in regulation surrounding the use of existing duct infrastructure.
“We’re proud to be in London and believe our team should reflect the diversity of our community,” said Creswick. “We knew this would only be possible if we attracted new people to this industry.”
Over the last 18 months, nearly 200 people have graduated from the Vorboss Academy, which is an accredited in-house programme designed to give people the skills to kickstart a career in the telecommunications industry.
Vorboss now has the most diverse fibre installation team in the industry; nearly 40% of the field-based installation team are women and the company is striving for gender balance across all job roles.
Vorboss was founded in 2006 and is part of the Fern Trading Group, which is advised by Octopus Investments.
The Vorboss network is based on a point-to-point fibre architecture. This means that every customer is connected via a dedicated fibre optic cable, as opposed to passive optical network (known as PON).
Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) providers utilise PON in which customers share capacity on fibre that is aggregated via PON splitters (in the street, in cabinets or on poles). This is necessary in order to meet the price points required for competitive domestic connections. Contention (the sharing of bandwidth between customers) is more manageable for residential users, but unsuitable for many businesses.
Networks that primarily provide FTTH, residential or consumer-grade services will provide their business connections using the same PON network used for residential customers. For them to provide a point-to-point connection, they would typically need to deploy additional cables or infrastructure.
An advantage of the point-to-point architecture is the ability to easily upgrade customer bandwidth, since there is no requirement to coordinate an upgrade with all the customers sharing the same PON splitter and ONT (the Optical Network Terminal at the provider end of the line). Top-end bandwidths are therefore also at least an order of magnitude higher in point-to-point networks, because the capacity isn’t shared: Vorboss already connects customers at 100Gbps using the same cables that provide our 10Gbps service. The only difference is the equipment on the end of the cables. This is not possible on a PON network.
The Vorboss network also uses no street cabinets, which are a common feature of PON networks. Street cabinets create a point of failure, both because they are exposed above ground (and are therefore vulnerable to vandalism, weather, and traffic damage), and because they require electrical power (and as such, a localised power failure can affect all the services in that cabinet).
The point-to-point network design requires substantially more fibre in the network – Vorboss uses cables with more than 800 fibres in a single cable. Each of those cables can therefore connect 800+ customers. In a PON network, a single fibre will typically be shared by around 30 customers (split ratios of 16, 32 and 64 are common).
The result of this is a network with a fundamentally different design that is more expensive to build, but is ideally suited to providing high-bandwidth, reliable, uncontended business services. By being vertically integrated, Vorboss is able to provide access to a superior network at a previously unseen price point: the 10Gbps Direct Internet Access service is priced at £650 per month, fixed for the lifetime of the contract, with a minimum term of only 12 months.