Tell us about the company you run
Quickline Communications Limited is an East Yorkshire based Internet Service Provider with one of the largest WiMax networks in the UK.
Since building our first network in Scunthorpe in 2007, we have continued to grow by providing internet and associated services to business and residential customers across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
Quickline is well-known for delivering connectivity into areas poorly serviced by the traditional wired providers and this connectivity is used for renewable energy, CCTV and remote plant as well as business and residential connections, even in the hardest to reach areas of the UK.
How did you get started in the industry?
I was living in Louth, working as Chief Executive at Woldmarsh Producers Limited when I spotted a gap in the market with high customer demand.
I was reasonably technical and although I had no telecoms background, I felt I was ready to do my own thing – it was a very steep learning curve.
Following the successful 2007 pilot in Scunthorpe and the surrounding area, to facilitate rapid growth Quickline acquired the network of Core (previously the Azzurri network) in January 2009 and Hull Broadband in 2012. We took over the customer base of rural Lincolnshire-based Linpop in November 2013 and Scunthorpe’s Diamond-Net in January 2014.
We now continue to invest in our own network built on leading edge technology, ensuring customers have access to a true alternative to providers of traditional telecommunications.
What other areas do you work in now?
The unique way in which our network is structured allows us to diversify into products and services that other providers cannot offer in the area, with interconnects into the leading UK national network service providers such as Virgin and BT.
Quickline can deliver SDSL, Managed Internet Access and point-to-point private circuits in this region using a combination of high-speed fibre and over-the-air technologies, all at competitive pricing. We also provide optional services such as security and content filtering for peace-of-mind.
What type of clients do you work with?
Our customers include the full demographic spectrum; large corporations, SMEs, residential and education.
We also work in niche areas with other public sector organisations. Our biggest current client is The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). We are deploying a £2M pilot to bring superfast broadband to everyone in Northern Lincolnshire, plugging the connectivity gap between the urban and rural areas.
How do you see the business developing?
Our technology is evolving at a rapid rate – our new wireless equipment no longer requires a clear line of site as it had before, which makes it available to even more properties.
I believe that wireless has a major part to play in the telecoms industry, especially in extending superfast broadband beyond the reach of fibre-optic networks.
Horizontal growth (geographically) is our key focus for the network and we are expanding rapidly both organically and through acquisition.
Who or what has influenced your career so far?
Someone once said to me that there are two major rules in business; 1) things are never as bad as you think they are, and 2) things are never as good as you think they are.
We’ve been through some tough times and not just survived, we’ve learned from mistakes and turned them into opportunities. Sheer tenacity is sometimes the only solution.
On balance, even though things are a lot easier now as an established company with good cash-flow, I feel it is important to remember where we came from and always consider any exposure to risk.
How do you spend your spare time?
My wife and I have built a house in the country which has taken up a lot of my time. I like to travel and last year went to the Borneo jungle. I also like good food and drink, perhaps a little too much.
Finally, soapbox. Is there anything that really gets on your nerves?
Yes, in my opinion the marketing of broadband products is highly confusing to the consumer. Firstly, that BT can call their copper-based Infinity product ‘fibre’ – as if telecommunications isn’t confusing enough. Fibre is fibre; adsl (normal broadband) and vdsl (infinity) are both copper. What will BT call ‘fibre-to-the-property’ if they start to do it – fibre-based fibre?
Also the focus on headline speeds. What the consumer really needs is consistency and stability. It is this that allows someone to watch HD iPlayer while their children game online, etc., all at peak times. To me this is much more important than having 40Mbs at 3:00am.