17th May 2023
Simon Holdsworth: Can you tell me a little about Truespeed and its history?
James Lowther: We’re a Bath-based full-fibre broadband provider on a mission to bring ultra-fast and ultra-reliable connectivity to the South West.
The business was founded in 2014 by local people from the Chew Valley frustrated by bigger providers constantly overlooking the South West as a priority. Today we employ more than 260 people from across Bath and the surrounding areas and supply ultrafast full-fibre broadband to both individual residents and larger local enterprises such as Thatchers, Yeo Valley and Charlie Bigham’s.
SH: What sets you apart from the rest of your market?
JL: We want to live up to the “True” part of our name just as much as the “speed” element, and so there are two big points that differentiate us from our competitors – providing both a better broadband connection and better customer service.
While most people are told by their providers that they get a fibre connection, in reality, it’s only the length of their street. before becoming an antiquated copper network. We, meanwhile, are using our own infrastructure to roll out a brand-new full-fibre network across the region that we build from scratch. This means it travels the whole way at the speed of light, connecting customers to a broadband service like never before.
But it’s not just slow internet speeds that people are tired of. They’re also tired of being taken for granted by their service provider and considered just a pot of cash. While so many of our competitors are pushing double-digit price rises and leaving frustrated customers on hold for half an hour to speak to someone, we’re doing things differently. This includes aiming to answer the call within 30 seconds and committing to price freezes this year with no sneaky in-contract price rises.
SH: What are the key challenges you face in your industry?
JL: With so many companies trying to roll out fibre optic networks, this industry is very much locked in a race and our challenge is to grow as quickly as possible to be able to meet the ever-increasing demand. In ten or even five years’ time, the demand for streaming services alone will mean everyone will need a fibre connection, regardless of whether they are in the centre of town or on the outskirts.
There are many companies, often national providers, who just target the easy to connect areas in the centre of towns and cities. They move on quickly, leaving as much as three quarters of the area underserved, including many out-of-the-way areas that face the slowest connections in the country. Our race is very much to cover entire towns, not just to pick and choose the cheapest and easiest to connect locations.
SH: Congratulations on winning at the Bath Life Awards this year! What is it about the city that continues to inspire Truespeed to call it home?
JL: Thank you! It was wonderful to be recognised at such a fantastic event that showcases the city and the close-knit community of people doing great things across Bath.
It never ceases to amaze me what a depth and quality we have in the city in all fields, and while we have an amazing tourism offering, it’s really the business and voluntary community that makes
people want to live and work here. We are at the centre of an amazing hub for talent, with the two universities, the college and a wealth of amazing tech ventures across the wider region.
SH: What does the future hold for Truespeed?
JL: Continuing our journey of growth is a top priority for us. At the end of 2021, our network covered around 37,000 properties and now we have just passed 70,000, almost doubling the size of our network over the course of a year. We want to double it again this year and continue towards our goal of 500,000 by the end of 2025.
It’s a huge target so, in order to do this, we are scaling the company as much as we can. We’ve recruited around 120 new colleagues in the past year, with another 23 starting this month alone. We are continuing to boost every area of the firm, and it’s great that all the new career opportunities we’re offering will in turn benefit the local economy in Bath.