Origin Broadband is aiming to create 400 jobs after a ?3million investment by a private equity company. The Doncaster company hopes to grow from 100 to 500 people in the next 18 months after Calculus Capital bought an undisclosed percentage of the firm. Origin is currently advertising up to 40 vacancies, according to boss Oliver Bryssau.
The firm signed 4,500 residential customers in December alone – it’s best ever month. It also has thousands of business customers and a national presence, he added. Turnover is set to hit ?18m in May, up from ?3.5m at the same time last year.
Mr Bryssau said: “We look forward to benefiting from the scale-up expertise and experience of the Calculus team as we move into an exciting new phase in our continuing growth.”
Origin, which has its own infrastructure inside Openreach telephone exchanges, has the sixth largest broadband network in the UK, by one measure. The investment comes after three funding rounds worth more than ?1m by Finance Yorkshire. Richard Moore, investment director, Calculus Capital, said: “Origin places a very high value on customer service, has its own network and is an agile alternative to the unwieldy corporate giants.”
John Glencross, chief executive of Calculus, said: “The continuing migration of UK households to superfast broadband is driving revenue growth, with Ofcom figures showing revenues from domestic customers up 18.5 per cent year-on-year to ?4.9 billion in 2014.
More and more businesses are moving to the cloud.”
HOW MUCH broadband do you need? In the last month, more of us than ever have flirted with streaming TV services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, yet the regulator Ofsted says more than a million homes are still unable to get what it considers a decent internet signal. Exactly what constitutes “decent” is a movable feast, and is likely to rise exponentially the moment you buy a new TV or other video device.
That’s because you’ll want to try out the smart apps that likely came with it, and in ultra high definition, if possible. Streaming TV pictures in standard definition eats up around a gigabyte of data every hour – around 40GB a month for an average user. Once you move up to HD, you increase that threefold, and when you try to stream UHD, you’re looking at 7GB an hour and 120GB a month.
The monthly figures are important only if you pay for a capped broadband service, because your allowance could be gone in a week, if you’re not careful. But the hourly usage is down to the quality of your connection. Bear in mind that if you have a house full of children or teenagers, your own internet use will likely be the tip of a rather large iceberg, and if your connection has to contend with their visits to YouTube, Facebook and goodness knows where else while you try to watch Netflix, you’re going to spend half your evening watching a spinning “buffering” symbol.
Streaming lots of video really needs a fibre-optic connection, and if there’s still time to make a new year’s resolution, you could do worse than making this the year you re-evaluate the way you get online. Broadband is measured in megabits per second, and fibre offers you up to 52Mb or 76Mb, depending how much you pay. Either way, it’s much faster than any standard deal.
Virgin’s cable broadband is speedier still, at up to 200Mb on the most expensive contracts, but you have to live on a street bypassed by one of their cables. It’s a myth that fibre broadband is available only in built-up areas, but it does help if your house is within a few hundred yards of one of the BT roadside cabinets that join the wider network to the local telegraph poles and underground ducts. This last leg of the circuit relies not on fibre-optics but on old-fashioned copper wires, which slow the signal dramatically.
The longer the distance, the greater the speed loss. You also need to pay some attention to the speed at which the signal is distributed within your home. A modern router, which you should have if you’ve upgraded your broadband in the last year or two, will give you wireless speeds of five gigahertz, rather than the older 2.4GHz standard, and you’ll also get faster wired connectivity.
Assuming you are outside Virgin’s cabled area, the best deals are likely to be from Plusnet, Sky, EE and perhaps John Lewis. A less familiar name, the Doncaster-based Origin Broadband, is also worth considering. Factoring in the BT phone line rental you will have to pay, irrespective of supplier, and leaving aside any introductory offers, a little over ?30 a month is where you should aim.
Take into account your expected use next year as well as now – because broadband, like chocolate and money, is something you can never have too much of – and no matter how much you do have, it will soon be too little.
It may be the nation s City of Culture 20171 but Hull is in the slow lane when it comes to broadband2 with the worst speeds in Britain. Famed as the birthplace of record breaking solo pilot Amy Johnson3, Hull residents are on a wing and prayer trying to download films, music and images. For research by comparison website uSwitch reveals households have to put up with sluggish broadband speeds of 12.42 megabits per second (Mbps) compared with superfast speeds of 34.46Mbps just over 100 miles away in Middlesbrough.
It means Hull folk planning a night in will have to allow two hours to download an HD film like Star Wars: The Force Awakens while those in Middlesbrough can settle down to the latest blockbuster in just 18 minutes. And music fans can listen to their favourite tracks in double quick time in Middlesbrough where it takes less than 60 seconds to download an album compared with two minutes in Hull.
PA Worst areas for school truancy revealed – is your town on the list?4
The research also found huge differences in neighbouring towns with homes in Huddersfield enjoying whizzy speeds of 27.71Mbps while 15 miles away in Wakefield, residents were stuck with a slower 17.49Mbps. London was also found lacking with broadband speeds of just 22.44Mbps – way behind Brighton which measured 34.34Mbps and Swindon with 31.83Mbps. The study which charted speeds for six months between August last year and February 2016 found Aberdeen, Milton Keynes and Sheffield were amongst the slowest while Nottingham, Cardiff and Bristol made the top ten.
Reuters ^ City of Culture 2017 (www.mirror.co.uk)