Its one of those buzz word terms that you see flying around but what is an alt-net?
Alt Nets Explained
Here in the UK we have our biggest telecoms network provider Openreach which was the first such provider and around 100 years ago they started building the copper telephone/graph network allowing people to make and receive phone calls back then they were part of the Post Office known as General Post Office (GPO).
Openreach are a wholesaler meaning they do not sell direct to the general public instead they sell their products though varies providers such as BT, EE, Sky and Talk Talk.
Virgin Media is the 2nd largest telecommunications network provider in the UK.
An alt-net is a company that builds its own independent telecommunications network an alternative network to Openreach and Virgin Media the vast majority of alt-nets are building pure full fibre networks.
Alt-nets typically build their full fibre networks to areas which have been underserved and forgotten about by Openreach and Virgin Media providing access to ultrafast speeds years before they would be available to these locations if it was left to Openreach and or Virgin Media.
As alt-nets are building their full fibre networks from scratch and independently they can offer more competitive products and services like for example cheaper prices and symmetric speeds where the download and upload speed are the same (see our blog post about upload speeds for more on this).
Not all alt-nets are the same
Larger Alt-Nets such as City Fibre, Full Fibre Fibre Heroes, HyperOptic and Gigaclear build to larger areas covering many towns and cities across the UK where as smaller alt-nets like Lighting Fibre and B4RN focus on smaller areas.
Certain larger Alt-Nets like Full Fibre Fibre Heroes and City Fibre act as a wholesaler meaning they do not sell direct to the public instead giving the end customer more choice by letting serval internet providers offer their services using these networks this provides more competitive services to the end customer.
It is not always obvious which alt-net if any are available in your area and many comparison sites and checkers do not include all alt-nets if any at all. And as the big internet providers like BT, Sky, Plusnet and EE only offer services on Openreach network alt-nets offering a better faster service and price can easily be overlooked when many look for a new broadband deal.
This is one of the fundamental reasons I started this very website not only to raise awareness of Full Fibre Broadband but to raise awareness and provide useful links to check for all full fibre options in your area including how to find out if an alt-net is building/available in your area and you can see this on out Get FTTP page and also contact us for help.