Adtran Wires 12th Century Town for U.K.’s Smart Future


An ambitious new internet service provider is rolling out the first full fiber broadband network in the U.K., and it is using gigabit networking gear made by Huntsville-based Adtran to serve the smart cities of Britain’s future.

Zzoomm, an IPS launched in December 2018, broke ground on its first gig city in January in Henley-on-Thames, an ancient but upscale suburb 23 miles southeast of Oxford.

Zzoomm plans to deliver 2 Gbps to residential customers in this town, chosen because of its affluent, tech-savvy population, loaded with home workers.

In spite of those demographic advantages, “One of the challenges for residential subscribers in the UK,” says the company, “is that many of the residential homes are older and are built using materials that can block Wi-Fi signals.”

How old? The first records of Henley-on-Thames date to the 12th century and the reign of Henry II.

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SmartRG residential gateways, made by Alabama’s Adtran, says Zzoomm, will overcome the challenge of history and extend Wi-Fi coverage across all of Henley’s quaint cobble of homes.

Zzoomm has bigger and older competitors planning full fiber rollouts, but the Oxford-based upstart plans to be the first to deploy, looking to cover 1 million UK homes with a 10 Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network by the end of 2024.

In the town of Henley-on-Thames, where sculling on the Thames is as popular as surfing on the net, 6,800 homes and businesses will be the first in the UK to be connected.

Zzoomm says its strategy is to “target smaller cities and the suburbs of larger cities, which often get overlooked by the initial ‘full fibre’ plans of bigger rivals,” says the UK online trade publication ISPreview.

Zzoomm is telling its customers “Adtran’s next generation XGS-PON solution and equipment, besides delivering an initial 2 Gbps, has the capacity to cover them into the future at up 10Gbps.”

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