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A Fibre Revolution: Network Operations Director, David Hough, on Building Networks for the Future

The telecoms sector is now home to over 100 alt-net companies, all with similar goals – to bring full-fibre broadband to homes and businesses across the UK. With so many companies now racing to replace copper, it’s Freedom Fibre’s capabilities, technology, and ultimately their people that set them apart.

As he approaches 12 months with Freedom Fibre, Network Operations Director, David Hough, reflects on his time spent heading up the networks department and his insights into the future of FTTP and the UK Alt-net industry. With nearly four decades of experience in network management and design, David works with his dedicated networks team to plan and design unique XGS-PON networks. Ultimately, allowing Freedom Fibre to deliver a world-class full-fibre network that can withstand the test of time and meet future network requirements.

A Start-Up Mentality

For David, the decision to join Freedom Fibre had been clear from the beginning. The company’s collaborative work culture had been evident as David discussed the position with the Senior Leadership team, and accepting the role was an easy choice.

“My conversations revealed a clearly integrated management style where the senior leadership team were still very involved and where all departments worked together to tackle problems and meet objectives. It's this start-up mentality that breeds the energy and enthusiasm evident at Freedom Fibre, where everyone is ready to roll up their sleeves and dive in, no matter the task.”

The switch to full-fibre has been a long time coming, and David believes the team’s enthusiasm and innovative thinking give Freedom Fibre the capacity to create superior networks.

“We take a radical approach to how the full-fibre rollout is designed and delivered,” David says, “with a clear goal to transform the North West into a technology hub capable of standing tall with other leading tech cities.”

This enthusiasm is also evident in the significant investment capital from large investors such as Equitix and Santander, which show that the Freedom Fibre company ethos of building a full-fibre network accessible to all was a project even outside stakeholders were eager to support. This long-term financial support helps establish Freedom Fibre as industry leaders with the capacity and the energy to deliver outstanding networks.

Stand-Out Technology

One of the most exciting pieces of technology our Networks team deal with on a day-to-day basis is GPON and XGS-PON technology. Freedom Fibre utilises XGS-PON to create a superior and reliable broadband network, giving the company the capability to create outstanding networks and ultimately transform the customer experience. The XGS-PON technology bolsters the increasing demand for bandwidth consumption, supporting high-speed, symmetrical data transfers designed to serve up to 64 customers on a single fibre, with data speeds of up to 10GB/s symmetrically.*

It's this technology that has enabled us to create a range of new and disruptive business products. Using XGS-PON and PtP fibre networks, we have created seven unique Business Fibre offerings carrying assured speeds, guaranteed fix times, and symmetrical services. This ‘Ethernet Lite’ product is typically 59% cheaper annually than traditional EAD services** and sits alongside Freedom Fibre’s EAD connectivity products to bridge the gap between FTTP and EAD.

Future-Proofing the North West

This kind of forward-thinking is essential in an industry that is rife with competition and constantly evolving. The XGS-PON technology used by Freedom Fibre is designed to facilitate easy upgrades for homes and businesses without needing to change the ODN, allowing for future speeds of 25G-PON, 50G-PON, and even 100G-PON when these larger bandwidth networks become available. By reducing the need for a future upgrade cycle, Freedom Fibre has the capacity to future proof homes and businesses in the North West by giving them access to highly gigabit capable products. As the demand for bandwidth increases and the technology sector evolves (think virtual reality, Smart Homes, etc), we can ensure families and business owners are prepared for whatever the future may bring.

All in all, David’s first 12 months with Freedom Fibre have proven to be a dynamic whirlwind of expansion, with further growth on the horizon as the business starts to further grow its B2B presence. The design and implementation of the B2B network is an exciting challenge for our networks team, with a particular interest in what the future holds for the industry as the alt-net sector races to replace copper.

*Dgtl Infra, 2022

**Independent research using publicly available pricing data to compare services including Virgin Media’s “National Ethernet” 10Gb package with our equivalent offerings. Correct as at 31/01/23.


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