UK-based fibre alternative network provider Hyperoptic recently announced plans to lay off over 100 staff members. Most of the affected employees are network engineers working in Scotland and North West England, where Hyperoptic’s network construction is largely finished. The company aims to reassign around 40 network build engineers to customer build and customer connections teams and will also eliminate a layer of management in its infrastructure division.
Hyperoptic’s CEO Dana Tobak stated, “In support of our continued growth at Hyperoptic, we have refocused around 40 employees on customer-facing engineering roles, and are proposing to make around 110 redundancies in the UK as we increase our focus on areas that offer us the greatest customer reach.” The company will provide support and training for the staff members transitioning to customer-centric roles and ensure those leaving receive appropriate assistance in recognition of their contributions.
The telecom sector has seen several companies announcing job cuts this year. Rival alternative networks Zzoomm and CitFibre have both unveiled plans to lay off hundreds of workers due to macroeconomic pressures. Meanwhile, BT aims to reduce its workforce by 40% (around 55,000 jobs) by the end of the decade, asserting that many existing roles could be performed by AI.
In recent years, the UK’s fibre market has experienced significant investments, resulting in a diverse group of alternative networks competing with incumbent operator Openreach to deploy full fibre throughout the country. However, Openreach’s rollout has been faster than anticipated and, coupled with the UK’s challenging economic environment in the past year, alternative networks are now beginning to feel the pinch.
Consolidation in the industry seems inevitable, but the specifics of when, where, and how it will occur remain uncertain. The evolution of the UK’s alternative network ecosystem in 2023 will certainly be a topic of discussion among operators at the upcoming Connected Britain event.
In related news, final bids for TIM’s fibre network are expected soon, and Mexico’s high 5G spectrum price could result in Telcel being the only bidder in the latest auction. Additionally, the symbiotic relationship between data centers and submarine cables is a topic worth exploring.