According to Andrew Wilson, there was every incentive to join CityFibre as Head of Wholesale, not least because the move offered a chance to help partners unshackle organisations from their bind to copper and migrate them to the sunny uplands of a full fibre connectivity utopia.
Every tactical consideration should impel resellers towards full fibre provision, claims Wilson, who says his experience tells him that everything is to play for in the roll out of Digital Britain. You would be wise to take note: Wilson has worked in the channel for 20 years and has his finger on the pulse of the market. He held senior positions at Virgin Media Business and DWS, moving to CityFibre in September 2019 from Node4 where he was Director of Channel Sales. CityFibre’s disruptive full fibre strategy, and its engineering of a fundamental choice about the network infrastructure available to the channel, proved to be an irresistible magnet.
“We are shaking up the industry, rivalling the incumbent and igniting a spark of entrepreneurialism among channel partners who are excited by the full fibre opportunities we are creating,” he stated. “My role is to harness this interest, working with partners to capitalise on this opportunity and accelerate adoption of full fibre services.”
Since CityFibre’s £29 million acquisition of Entanet in August 2017 the wholesale comms provider has undergone a migration phase that coincided with CityFibre’s scale up to become the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform. The company has also strengthened its channel position, and developed relationships with regional, business and carrier/national partners.
“We’ve seen our partners harnessing the opportunities that come with focusing their sales and marketing strategy on CityFibre’s full fibre services in towns and cities where we have infrastructure in the ground,” added Wilson. “As our network continues to grow, our partners also have a chance to tap into new business opportunities across the UK.”
We are shaking up the industry, rivalling the incumbent and igniting a spark of entrepreneurialism among channel partners
CityFibre’s wholesale network currently covers 28 Gigabit towns and cities following the addition of eight new cities in 2019, putting the network in reach of almost 200,000 businesses. The strategy is to extend to 62 towns and cities and eight million homes and businesses by 2025. “Strong collaboration with channel partners across the UK is central to our continued growth, which is why we’ve developed a new sales structure and focus into three customer verticals across our aligned sales and marketing teams, to ensure we support all partners wherever they sit in the channel ecosystem,” explained Wilson.
CityFibre’s three customer verticals are segmented as regional partners, made up of City Champions and Launch Partners; Business Partners, which represent the largest segment of partners; and carrier/national partners. “By operating an Open Access Network we are now able to support a much wider part of the UK channel,” added Wilson. “The ability to onboard carrier and national partners as an alternative to Openreach means we are now operating a much wider channel ecosystem, and with so much demand for high bandwidth services we are seeing a rapidly growing order book across our three main routes to market.”
CityFibre continues to witness an increase in sales across its 28 on-net cities live on its network. It closed 2019 with record on-net sales, while January 2020 was also a record breaking month as CityFibre sold more circuits in that month than ever before, and also for the first time on-net circuit sales outnumbered off-net sales. “This is a clear indication that the channel is responding to what we are offering to the marketplace, and more and more businesses are now unlocking their digital potential,” added Wilson.
“We offer City Champions and the original Launch Partners that helped us go live in each of our cities a range of sales and marketing support to capitalise on the fresh choice and differentiation, helping them to win connectivity opportunities that lead to further value added sales. We also know that a CityFibre-based solution may not always be an available option for channel partners, so we’ve maintained working relationships with other major UK carriers to provide choice for our channel.”
It’s also important that partners have confidence in CityFibre’s ability to react and adapt to the challenges posed by Covid-19. “Early on we established a dedicated task force to manage our response,” explained Wilson. “We also undertook multiple simulations to test our capabilities ahead of formally closing multiple offices, and in line with the latest advice all of our office-based staff are now working from home. We are also aware of the impact of Covid-19 on our partners and their customers, so we’ve engaged with them to develop flexible options such as temporary bandwidth upgrades where it’s possible to ensure any adverse effect on businesses is mitigated.”