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View from the channel

With Paul Anslow, CEO of Triangle Networks

Triangle Networks is a full-fibre ISP and distributor offering gigabit connectivity to homes and businesses across the UK. It identifies areas where demand for next generation connectivity is high and works in partnership with infrastructure builder CityFibre and other network operators to extend the reach of their full-fibre networks so that homes and businesses can take advantage of its next generation services.

These include a new Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) for Business service offering small businesses a lightning-fast alternative to unreliable copper and partfibre services for a fraction of the previous cost – less than £100 per month for a 900Mbps internet service over CityFibre’s new FTTP network, compared to upwards of £400 per month for a 100Mbps full-fibre Ethernet service or £199 per month on CityFibre’s existing metro networks.

As well as offering connectivity services through a network of IT providers, Triangle Networks works with developers, landlords and local community organisations to install fibre cabling in multi-tenancy buildings and make buildings gigabit-ready for tenants.

Here, Triangle Networks CEO Paul Anslow gives his view from the channel. www.trianglenetworks.co.uk

Technology Reseller (TR): How’s business? Better or worse than 12 months ago? And how confident are you about the future?

Paul Anslow (PA): Business is certainly better than it was 12 months ago. Following the pandemic, digital enablement has become a high priority for business leaders who recognise that their businesses must migrate towards a more digital operating environment. We are fortunate that our business model, working with local IT specialists to deliver full-fibre connectivity to businesses, is now more relevant than ever. Businesses are dependent not only on reliable, fast internet (the bit we do), but also on their IT provider to be a trusted advisor on that digital transformation journey.

GIGABIT CITIES_

TR: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?

PA: Most of the fibre services we’ve supplied over the years have been at a cost point that suits larger businesses or those that have a much greater reliance on connectivity. Most smaller businesses have had no choice but to run their operations using sub-standard FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) or copper connections. However, as awareness of the benefits of full-fibre has grown, small business leaders have been calling out for an affordable solution. We recently launched our business FTTP service over CityFibre’s network, which enables smaller businesses to access fullfibre connectivity for less than £100 per month, and this has generated loads of interest from IT providers and businesses. Clearly, this product is filling an important gap in the market that was previously overlooked.

TR: What recent wins are you most proud of?

PA: We recently launched our ‘Netminded’ communications platform, which gives our partners full visibility of our network performance so that they can proactively manage the experience enjoyed by their customers. This followed two years of hard work, challenging ourselves and our thinking about how much we want to share with our partners. In the end we decided to share absolutely everything we can. We realised the only way forward for us was full transparency, which will enable us to be innovative with the technology we provide to our partners and forge a new proactive model for how end user services are managed.

TR: Where is business proving most difficult?

PA: For so long, businesses have been kept in the dark or in some cases been misinformed about fibre infrastructure. The most common objection is ‘I already have fibre’, highlighting continuing confusion between fibre (fibre to the cabinet) and full-fibre (fibre to the premises). This slows down adoption of much faster full-fibre services, gives a false sense of security and means that business leaders only prioritise a transition to full-fibre when their copper-based connections fail and their operations are brought to a standstill. We work with our IT partners on engagement campaigns to educate local business communities about the benefits of full-fibre, as well as arranging meetups where businesses can come, share their challenges and find out more about the small steps they can take to digitally future-proof their operations.

Image: Mark Mueller

TR: How have you changed/are you changing business operations to exploit new opportunities?

PA: In April 2020, when it became clear people would be staying at home for a lot longer than anyone had anticipated, we saw a significant rise in the use of homeworking tools, including mainstream ones such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and, of course, VoIP platforms. With uncertainty around the future of the workplace, we decided to reach our customers where they now worked – at home. We launched Fibrehop, our consumer full-fibre service, into Milton Keynes and have since expanded into Leicester, Swindon, Gloucester and Cheltenham, with Bath, Weston-super-Mare and Plymouth due to follow early this year. This enables us to support our partners’ customers, wherever they might be working, as the hybrid working model continues to evolve.

TR: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today?

PA: We see differentiation as the key to success in the channel market, but finding your niche is also one of the hardest things to do. Many channel businesses aim to differentiate themselves through their strong customer relationships – ‘people buy from people’ – but at a time when we have become physically disconnected, developing these relationships has become a challenge. Channel businesses need to make sure they have an answer to the question ‘why us?’ and consider how technology can be used in an innovative way to foster stronger personal relationships with their customers.

TR: Could vendors and distributors do more to help overcome these challenges? And if so, what?

PA: Aside from providing innovative technology, competitive pricing and a good service, we see our role as being to help our local partners to differentiate themselves from the big national players and build strong, trusted, long-term relationships with their customers. We also have a responsibility to educate businesses in the communities in which we operate about the importance of full-fibre and having a future-focused mindset. If businesses are not fearful of digital transformation, they will engage more easily, resulting in better performing businesses and even closer relationships between our partners and their customers.

TR: Are customers becoming more demanding, and if so, in what ways?

PA: Whether at home or in the office, workers are now wholly reliant on their digital connection with the outside world, so the impact of any issue with their internet connection is potentially more severe than ever. It’s vital that we, as internet providers, are honest and transparent with our customers about what problems can arise and speak with them proactively about resilience and the cost of redundancy.

TR: If you could change one aspect of your job, what would it be and why?

Triangle credit_Anna_Shvets

PA: Working in one of the fastest evolving sectors at such a critical time, I find myself constantly being pulled from one new development to the next, with no time to come up for air. It sometimes feel like being on a treadmill with no off-switch! Fortunately, the end result is great things for our business and for our customers – so it comes with a huge sense of satisfaction. I’m also enjoying working from home more and spending more time with my family.

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TechnologyReseller: 2021