(English) Media News Centre

13Sep 2017
Parliament Event 2017

(English) UKFOCF to campaign for affordable, high-speed and full-fibre connectivity across the UK

Parliament Event 2017

September 13th, 2017 – Today marks the inaugural meeting of the UK’s first Fibre Optic Connectivity Forum (UKFOCF).

UKFOCF has garnered interest from all corners of the UK’s fibre optic marketplace. Members include providers, manufacturers, operators and consultants – from global operations to UK SMEs whose voices are rarely heard. Senior representatives will gather in central London on Wednesday for the Forum launch. They will hit the ground running with a full agenda of pressing issues at the forefront of the industry up for debate. Discussion topics include: business rates and fibre tax, dark fibre access, the UK’s digital landscape and the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).

The Forum will be a vocal grassroots lobbying group, influencing and educating policy makers as to the most fair and efficient way to put an end to the digital divide. This campaign for affordable, high-speed, full-fibre connectivity extends to all parts of the UK in all commercial and residential buildings and demands a level playing field for all stakeholders.

The campaign’s roots were set in the Houses of Parliament earlier in 2017, at an evening reception entitled ‘Can Fibre Technology Revolutionise the UK Economy?’. The March 15th event, sponsored by data transport solutions provider Sorrento Networks, hosted 200 senior stakeholders from across the industry, in addition to several key members of the Commons and the Lords. Attendees here unanimously agreed that the industry has entered an historic revolutionary period and this is a timely opportunity to create a dedicated and inclusive forum.

Founder and Sorrento Networks’ (Comtek Group) CEO Askar Sheibani remarks, “I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and drive within the industry to help to address this essential requisite to the UK’s digital economy.”

“The UK’s fibre optic infrastructure is drastically and embarrassingly well behind that of many European nations such as Romania, Bulgaria and Sweden. In order for us to catch up, we as the stakeholders need to work together to support and advise the government to deliver policies that can create a fertile and encouraging environment for the rapid growth of the country’s digital economy.”

UKFOCF welcomes the government’s growing recognition of the key significance of fibre optic connectivity for UK business. Recently well-received decisions made by the chancellor include zero rating of the business tax on new fibre optic cable installations for the next five years and the £400m Autumn Statement allocation for digital infrastructure. However, much more needs to be done promptly and effectively for UK business to remain competitive in keeping with bandwidth demands.

Ian Lucas MP, key member of the DCMS Select Committee, and long-standing campaigner for ultra-fast fibre optic connectivity is Chair of the UKFOCF. Mr Lucas comments, “Fibre broadband has shot up the political agenda in recent weeks. The forum is timely and essential to inform policy makers in this crucial area.”

15May 2017

(English) As a proud supporter and member, The Comtek Group attended the CBI (Confederation of Business Industry) annual dinner on Thursday 11th May at Village Chester St David’s Hotel, Ewloe. The annual dinner is platform for members to network with key figures from a diverse range of business sectors from across the North Wales region.

In attendance were not only business leaders, but also serving politicians who realise and share the same goals as CBI members. The attendees listened to speeches from speakers including CBI President Paul Drechsler CBE, Comtek CEO Askar Sheibani and the inspirational Simon Weston CBE.

CBI President Paul Drechsler CBE in his speech highlighted the obstacles that British businesses face in the current economic climate, as well as addressing the impact that Brexit will ultimately have on the country’s industry. Drechsler emphasised the importance of sustaining access to talented employees, as well as the need to maintain infrastructure and improve highways, speaking of the challenge of satisfying authorities’ demands that can often slow innovation and development.

The generosity of CBI members was in abundance when given the opportunity to donate in aid of The Prince’s Trust. Formed in 1976 by His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, The Prince’s Trust has over 6,000 volunteers who work passionately and tirelessly to help unemployed young people into work, education or start a business of their own. Their schemes have amassed vast social and economic benefits.

Askar Sheibani - CBI Dinner 2017

Comtek Group CEO Askar Sheibani Addresses CBI Dinner Participants

In his speech, Askar Sheibani, CEO of The Comtek Group, highlighted the slow development of fibre infrastructure in the UK compared to other European counties such as Latvia and Romania who have greater percentage of connected business premises. With big data in such high demand, it often slows growth of British businesses.

Simon Weston and Askar Sheibani CBI Dinner

Comtek Group CEO Askar Sheibani introduces Simon Weston

Closing his speech, Askar introduced the highly notable speaker Simon Weston CBE. Well known for his charity work and war stories that have featured heavily over the BBC over the years, Simon Weston CBE proved to be an extraordinary storyteller by honouring his listeners with several tales from the Falklands War, including the infamous incident that left him with severe burns. Weston engaged guests with his natural confidence and infectious humour, which ended in a loud applaud from his audience.

Comtek were delighted to support this year’s event for what was a truly exceptional evening, we hope to see you all again next year!

For more information on the CBI, visit their website at http://www.cbi.org.uk

03Apr 2017
Askar Sheibani with Dermot Murnaghan at Wales Media Awards


Askar Sheibani with Dermot Murnaghan at Wales Media Awards

Askar Sheibani interviewed by Sky News broadcaster and journalist Dermot Murnaghan – © Roger Donovan

Comtek were again this year at the Wales Media Awards as headline sponsor, presented by Sky News broadcaster and journalist Dermot Murnaghan. The night was a huge success, dedicated to celebrating high quality Welsh journalism.

The awards ceremony is hosted annually by the Journalists’ Charity, a non-profit organisation committed to helping journalists and their families when they fall on hard times. It was started in 1864 by a group of parliamentarian journalists including Charles Dickens.

Click here for more information on Wales Media Awards. Click here for more information on the Journalists’ Charity.

See below the winners of the Comtek-sponsored categories.

Radio News Reporter Winner Steffan Messenger of ITN/Channel 4 with Askar Sheibani and Demot Murnaghan with Askar Sheibani and Demot Murnaghan

Radio News Reporter Winner Steffan Messenger of ITN/Channel 4 with Askar Sheibani and Demot Murnaghan – © Roger Donovan, Media Photos

Print News Reporter Winner Gemma Parry of South Wales Evening Post - Askar Sheibani and Dermot Murnaghan

Print News Reporter Winner Gemma Parry of South Wales Evening Post – © Roger Donovan, Media Photos

Online News Reporter Winner Sarah Hodgson - © Roger Donovan, Media Photos

Online News Reporter Winner Sarah Hodgson – © Roger Donovan, Media Photos

TV News Reporter Winner  Andy Davies - © Roger Donovan, Media Photos

TV News Reporter Winner Andy Davies – © Roger Donovan, Media Photos

29Mar 2017


Askar Sheibani Parliament Address

Comtek Group CEO Askar Sheibani addresses a full Terrace Pavilion

On March 15th, 2017 the Terrace Pavilion welcomed telecoms industry leaders and cloud service providers to discuss the theme, “Can Fibre Technology Revolutionise the UK Economy?”

Sorrento Networks Parliament Reception 2017 Panel

The expert panel

Sponsored by Sorrento Networks, part of the Comtek Group, the event consisted of a panel chaired by Ian Lucas MP (Wrexham) with the following panellists:

  • Garry Miller – Head of Infrastructure Policy for BT Group
  • Barney Lane – Regulatory Director for Colt
  • Mark Collins – Director of Strategy and Public Affairs for CityFibre
  • Askar Sheibani – CEO of The Comtek Group (Sorrento Networks)

Sorrento Networks CEO Askar Sheibani commenced proceedings, providing an overview on the technology Sorrento Networks partners customers with and the overall state of infrastructure. In his address, he ardently argued the economic benefits where low bandwidths on traditional copper have been restricting growth of UK SMEs with the patriotic desire to build future-proof networks with British manufactured media and equipment.

With the Brexit Bill now passing both the Lords and the Commons, the question whether fibre technology could revolutionise the UK economy setup the panel discussion for a Brexit context on how from a telecoms standpoint British businesses can continue to prosper when Britain will likely pull out of the single market.

Garry Miller, Head of Infrastructure Policy for BT Group faced a grilling over slow investment and growth as well as patchy rollouts in fibre networks, leaving residential areas and businesses with sluggish copper networks, and therefore holding the UK economy. BT is a commercial entity was his rebuttal; to provide profits to shareholders not make it easier for competitors.

An interesting question was posed by journalist Kathleen Hall of The Register. That given the premise that most homes do not require speeds above 30Mbps (megabits per second), then why the need for fibre technology? The panel pointed out that while it isn’t needed now, it is best to future proof the networks of today given the popularity of high bandwidth applications like video subscription services.

The memorable night concluded with drinks at the bar and period of networking. Thank you to all who attended to make the technology reception a success; a night of thoughtful debate.

Sorrento Parliament Event Attendees Photo 1

Sorrento Parliament Event Attendees 2

About Sorrento Networks

Sorrento Networks is a global provider of cost-effective optical transport solutions to carriers and enterprises throughout North America and Europe. Sorrento Networks is part of The Comtek Group, with facilities in the UK, USA, Netherlands, Turkey and Germany.

For more information on Sorrento Networks, visit the website http://www,sorrentonetworks.com