UK-based rural broadband-by-satellite ISP Bigblu Broadband and Avanti Communications are in dispute, and Avanti has seemingly terminated connectivity allegedly “without notice” to Bigblu’s clients.
The news comes just days after a highly positive story in the Investors Chronicle on Bigblu’s trading update for the half-year to the end of May, which reported that BigBlu added a record 7,500 net new customers in the six month trading period to take the total to 120,000, and the implication that that [house broker] Numis’ full-year estimate of 13,000 net additions was on the low side.
Bigblu’s target was said to be to grow its total customer base organically to 150,000 by December 2020. Moreover, customers are increasingly profitable as highlighted by the 54 per cent rise in first half cash profits to £4.3 million on revenues up 21 per cent to £30.5 million.
Bigblu, in a note to clients on July 26th, stated: “We would like to share our apologies once more for the outage which has been affecting our Avanti customers. We’re in the process of contacting you all directly to help reconnect your service. We appreciate the frustration this has caused and would like to reassure those affected that our team are working hard to resolve this issue. If you are currently struggling with connectivity please send us a private message.”
A later statement from Bigblu added that: “On Wednesday, 24th July Avanti took the unilateral decision to suspend broadband services to our customers, we cannot go into any further detail than this at this stage. While we are discussing resolutions with them, we do not have a timescale as to when connectivity will be restored. However, our team are working hard around the clock to rectify the situation for our customers to minimise any further disruption. We understand how frustrating this situation must be for our customers and are in the process of contacting them directly to help them get reconnected as soon as possible.
As an additional gesture, we are offering a free upgrade to one of our next generation broadband packages which offers fibre-like speeds with no limits at no extra cost and with an exclusive offer in recognition of the inconvenience our customers have experienced.”
One web-based comment suggests that Bigblu has recently been heavily marketing the Eutelsat Konnect service, and this is alleged to be potentially a breach of contract with Avanti.
Bigblu confirmed July 31st that it had extended its contract with Eurobroadband Infrastructure (EBI), a subsidiary of Eutelsat. Bigblu says it has signed 10,000 customers since it joined Eutelsat’s Preferred Partner Programme which it signed last December.
Andrew Walwyn, CEO of BBB, commented: “The partnership model with EBI has been very successful to date and has helped deliver a period of strong organic growth across the Company. The original agreement with EBI demonstrated how working closely with our partners allows us to further demonstrate our industry leadership across Europe, underpinning our belief that we will continue delivering on our ambitious growth plans in the upcoming years.
“The extended agreement with EBI across additional European countries, will enable us to target a further 25,000 customers across Europe and assist us achieve our stated target of 150,000 customers by December 2020”