(English) The Comtek Blog

28Nov 2017

(English) The UK Fibre Connectivity Forum’s second meeting took place on Monday November 27th, hosted by Grant Thornton in their London Finsbury Square office. The meeting welcomed key executives from across the fibre optic marketplace, from fibre service providers, manufacturers, government officials and regulators.

UKFCF co-chair and CEO for the Comtek Group, Askar Sheibani, commenced proceedings by highlighting the Forum’s aims and objectives outlined in the recently approved Forum ‘Rules’. Those objectives are to fairly and efficiently push for full fibre connectivity across all commercial and residential buildings in the United Kingdom.


Justin Leese, Local Full Fibre Networks

Justin Leese, Programme Director for Local Full Fibre Networks, part of the governmental Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) delivered a detailed account on the government’s position and progress of full fibre networks in the UK.

He highlighted how the UK as of November 2017 has a poor full fibre penetration of just 3.08% – only behind that of Belgium and Greece.

He went on to present the case for FTTP (fibre to the premises) connectivity, citing statistics surrounding 4K and in development 8K video, the explosion in IoT (internet of things) devices, business applications in the cloud and general reliability.

The former Openreach director demonstrated the government’s progress in detailing key projects currently underway and the provisional plans in further waves later. A voucher worth £3,000 is available to businesses is available to small and medium-sized enterprises to assist them in receiving gigabit connectivity.

To download a copy of Mr Leese’s presentation, please click here.

John Mitchell, Sorrento Networks

Director of Product Management at Sorrento Networks, John Mitchell provided insights into Openreach’s OSA (Optical Spectrum Access) Filter Connect product proposal and Ofcom’s Dark Fibre Consultation – both papers just published in response to recent developments in the dark fibre access space.

To download a copy of his presentation, please click here.

Ben Allwright, Flomatik

The final speaker of the day was Flomatik’s Managing Director Ben Allwright. He offered the case for lowering the cost of FTTP deployments using PIA (physical infrastructure access). He argued utilising PIA brings FTTP and FTTH full fibre networks quicker and at a lower cost, usually up to 50% lower capital expenditure (capex).

The Managing Director outlined the costs Openreach is willing to spend up to £6,000 to connect two or more sites using PIA. He also noted there are often poor records kept by Openreach with often missing poles and duct, so it is essential companies verify information and be adaptive in their network planning.

He drew four points for planning a FTTX network:

  1. Access Openreach records
  2. Carry out detailed onsite survey with a surveyor to verify information from those records
  3. From the survey data, re-design the network and make an application with Openreach to reserve the physical access within their infrastructure
  4. Carry out the work. This may or may not be Openreach but must be Openreach certified to work on their network

Openreach will continue to maintain the core plants of their network while the network operator will maintain the access, i.e. cables.

Further Events

Before the event concluded for networking, Mr Sheibani closed the day’s proceedings with information on two upcoming events.

  • February 23rd 2018 – ‘Full Fibre Connectivity for North Wales’ – 08.00-14.00, Wrexham Glyndwr University. The educational event will include presentations, workshops and funding advice. Comprising all six local authorities of North Wales, speakers include the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, and Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills. Attendees include local businesses and representatives from the public and private sectors including higher education and the NHS.
  • March 21st 2018 – ‘UK Fibre Optic Connectivity & Digital Economy’ 18.30-22.00 – 200 key industry figures will be invited to join us at the Houses of Parliament in March next year to debate a number of topics surrounding the challenges and solutions to deploying full fibre networks nationwide. Hosted by Gavin Robinson MP and sponsored by Sorrento Networks.

Presentation/speaker and sponsorship opportunities are open to companies for both events. For further information please email steph.roberts@sorrentonet.com


Below are a number of photographs from the event. Click on a photograph to view it enlarged on your screen.

02Oct 2017

(English) Comtek is pleased to be exhibiting at The Big Bang for the fourth consecutive year. The event is part of Wales Rally GB, a challenging track on the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar, one of the most high-profile events on the British motorsporting calendar.

The free STEM event celebrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics and encourages young people to consider careers within those sectors.

For more information on how to attend please visit http://www.stemcymru.org.uk/project-strands/big-bang-dayinsure-wales-rally-gb-visitors/

Flintshire CC Rally A5 leaflet
29Sep 2017

(English) Comtek is pleased to be the headline sponsor for “An Evening With John Sergeant”, an event organised by the Journalists’ Charity.

Comtek Group CEO Askar Sheibani remarked, “I am a passionate believer in the importance of a free and independent press. It is an essential ingredient of any democratic society. While we will never always agree with everything the media reports we must support its right to report it.

“An evening with John Sergeant provides the ideal opportunity to celebrate the success of North Wales and Deeside while supporting a worthy cause. It is going to be fascinating to hear, first-hand, John’s insight into some of the most important events of the last 30 years or so.”

Please email billjenkins@spencerdavid.co.uk to take advantage of this limited offer and to book your table or ticket. You will be invoiced for payment.

An Evening With John Sergeant-Prices Reduced

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.”