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



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