Aberla Utilities forges UK fibre partnership with Gabitel Ingenieros
With the roll-out out of fibre networks across the UK continuing to gather pace despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Warrington-based Aberla Utilities, part of the Aberla Group, has formed a partnership with Spanish telecommunications expert Gabitel Ingenieros to undertake the design, surveying and installation of fibre network infrastructure across the UK.
Founded in 2015, the Aberla Group is a Praetura- and Northern Powerhouse-backed business which operates across the UK. Aberla provides telecoms, energy management, renewables and engineering services to many bluechip companies, such as British Gas, Siemens, Eon and Domis.
A decade older, Gabitel boasts a long experience in the fibre sector, with a client portfolio including a number of boasting many multinational corporations, such as Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange, Nokia and Ezentis. With more than 200 employees, Gabitel has been involved in connecting over nine million homes to fibre networks across Europe and the Americas.
The partnership agreement will run for four years and will aim to reach homes throughout the UK. Aberla said the UK telecommunications sector is growing exponentially, but with investment becoming more focused on projects designed to meet the UK government’s target of all homes having access to full fibre by 2025.
Indeed, the UK government has committed to delivering nationwide gigabit-capable broadband as soon as possible, with the ambition to deliver it by over the next five years. It says such next-generation connectivity has the potential to revolutionise communities and make them more attractive places to live, giving people the freedom to live and work more flexibly and help develop thriving digital economies.
In the Queen’s Speech on 19 December 2019, prime minister Boris Johnson’s then newly elected government indicated it would introduce laws to accelerate the delivery of gigabit-capable broadband across the UK by 2025, a legislative journey that began in January 2020. The 2020 Budget statement confirmed the UK government’s commitment to invest a total of £5bn to roll out full-fibre broadband across the country.
Yet according to Aberla, the latest figures from Ofcom show that existing fibre infrastructure only accommodates access for 10% of premises. This has prompted a number of development actions such as the UK Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme, a supplier-led scheme offering vouchers to be used as part of group projects, to pay towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband to premises providing speeds of up to 1Gbps.
In June 2020, the UK government announce that it was considering whether to give broadband firms access to more than a million kilometres of underground utility ducts to boost the roll-out of next-generation broadband, as it pursues plans to establish gigabit broadband across the country. However, the coronavirus has slowed fibre expansion – mainly due to the lack of engineers being able to enter customers’ homes.
The partnership between Aberla and Gabitel has already seen the development of a digital surveying and design tool, which is intended to enable the businesses to improve response times and ensure accuracy. The partners said such investment and collaboration were essential to achieving the 2025 full-fibre infrastructure target.
Aberla said it is targeting 500,000 fibre surveys in the first year and is currently on track for completion. “We are always looking to innovate and develop the services we provide for our clients. Our partnership with Gabitel complements the existing fibre installation activities we are currently undertaking for multiple clients across the North of England,” commented Aberla Group chief executive officer Paul McCarren.
Gabitel chief executive officer Rodrigo Delgado Diez added: “Aberla has showcased a commitment to deliver on previous projects, and their desire to continuously innovate and develop their expertise outlines exactly why we were so keen to work with them. The injection of investment into the UK’s fibre network infrastructure, alongside our aspirations and Aberla’s expertise, lays the groundwork for an incredible partnership between our businesses.”