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Jul 20, 2023
4 min

How Lit Fibre Brings Subscriber-First FTTP to U.K. Communities Before They Know They Need It

Just over two years ago, Lit Fibre’s CEO, Tom Williams, started on his ambition to roll out a new gigabit-capable “full fibre” broadband network across the United Kingdom. Tom had worked in the broadband industry for over 20 years; he recognized the opportunity to serve subscribers in areas of the U.K. that were overlooked by larger operators—particularly in towns across the country where residents weren’t even aware of how poor their internet connection was in comparison to urban areas. 

“Subscribers may not know it yet, but speeds and services are really quite poor in many of our towns,” said Williams. “That’s what makes ‘full fibre’ so powerful—it's virtually unlimited in terms of bandwidth, reliability, and affordability. But the market needs to be educated about this. Many people have become used to constantly resetting their router or hearing their kids shouting about the Wi-Fi going down. That needs to change. It’s not about speed anymore. It’s about having Wi-Fi that works, with services that complement the experience, wherever people are—in the garden, at the coffee shop, or in the kids’ rooms.” 

Becoming Part of a Community’s Fabric By Building Custom APIs With Calix

With an ambitious goal to cover 500,000 homes in the U.K. by 2026, Lit Fibre has set out to become truly embedded and integrated within local communities. It’s this community-minded focus that led Williams to team up with Calix, who offers an end-to-end platform built with a subscriber-first mindset. Williams recognized that ISPs pursuing true differentiation in today’s market must focus on the subscriber experience to stand apart from those that simply focus on speed—which is a race to the bottom.

“We approach this entire project, which is currently building at a rate of 10,000 homes per month, with an end-to-end vision,” says Matt Headford, CTO of Lit Fibre. “Calix was the only vendor who understood what we were doing for the subscriber in five years, 10 years, and so on. We’re thinking ahead. With our XGS-PON network driven by the Calix Intelligent Access EDGE, ONTs are set. There won’t be any future need to swap out hardware. On top of that, we’ve built out incredible APIs with Calix so our engineers can have service online within minutes and powerful insights with Calix Support Cloud that enable a truly differentiated subscriber experience. This gives us a powerful baseline, so rolling out additional Managed Services to subscribers with Calix will be incredibly easy in the future. We saw this partnership as an investment in making operations and subscriber-first thinking as simple as possible.” 

Starting From Scratch, Growing Fast

For Lit Fibre’s Williams and Headford, the idea of building out a brand-new network was incredibly exciting. Instead of building a legacy architecture, Lit Fibre wanted to simplify its network architecture. Leveraging the power of a platform to deliver operational efficiency meant fewer resources were required to run the network compared to building a legacy architecture, and this allowed the company to really focus on how to transform and redefine the subscriber experience in the home. With insight-driven Managed Services available to their subscribers, Lit Fibre could build its brand while attracting subscribers, driving growth, and increasing ARPU.  

As the U.K. market continues to expand and compete for subscribers, Lit Fibre is consolidating its unique position. “By focusing on the subscriber from the beginning, we’ve built something truly different. It can’t be matched,” says Williams. “This network will bring so much to every community it serves—and we have the perfect end-to-end platform with Calix.” By partnering with Calix, Lit Fibre found a shared vision for community-focused networking and services that is driving subscriber growth and brand recognition amongst customers in underserved towns across the U.K.

To get started on your own subscriber-first network, book time with one of our U.K. specialists today.

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