Avanti named new sponsor of the UK Armed Forces Football Teams

Avanti Communications has announced it will be the official sponsor of the Kentish Cup as part of its ongoing partnership with the men’s and women’s UK Armed Forces Football teams (UKAFF).
Through its collaboration with UKAFF, Avanti will introduce innovative technological systems to monitor and enhance individual and team fitness and training. This technology enables players to remain connected and engaged as a team, even when they return to their ships, airbases and barracks.
The Kentish Cup will be held next week, between 20th and 24th June, with the UKAFF team drawn from the best players of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force. UKAFF brings together a team from across the armed forces to represent the UK in matches against other international armed forces.
This year, the UK is hosting the 100th anniversary of the Kentish Cup. The UK men’s team is looking to secure a fifth successive title at the tournament’s Centenary.
Donald Walker, director of government services, Avanti, explained, “We’re honoured to be supporting the UKAFF and the Kentish Cup. These teams represent the best of the Armed Forces’ ethos of team-spirit and leadership and encapsulate the benefits of mental and physical resilience and diversity. This ethos and these qualities also epitomise Avanti Communications, which is why we are delighted to support the Centenary year of the Kentish Cup.”
The Kentish Cup commenced in 1921 and is the oldest international cup competition across UEFA. It was formed in the aftermath of the Great War, the vision of the Kentish Cup was to bring teams from the allied nations back together on the sports field, to maintain the close links and friendships built during adversity and conflict.


Altnets hit full fibre milestone, new report shows

A new report reveals that for the first time, the number of live full fibre connections across the UK provided by alternative network providers (altnets) is above one million.
More than 5.5 million homes and businesses can now connect to an independent fibre broadband network according to the figures, released yesterday.
Compiled for the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) by Point Topic using data provided by independent network operators across the country, this year’s ‘Metrics for the UK independent network sector’ report shows the sector has again doubled in size over the previous year.
The independent sector continues to pull in significant sums of private funding with investment and expenditure commitments predicted to reach £17.7bn by the end of 2025.  When combined with the £12bn announced by BT group, the £5bn announced by government and £2bn planned by VMO2, investment levels will exceed the previous estimates of £30bn for bringing next generation networks to every property in the UK.
“This continued high level of investment, coupled with commitments from others in the private sector like BT and Virgin Media, and the money being put in by government, shows that the UK is on track, for the first time in its history, to have proper broadband infrastructure competition,” said INCA’s chief executive, Malcolm Corbett.
The report also details operators’ concerns, which include planning and streetworks delays; the threat of overbuild from taxpayer-funded Project Gigabit procurements; delivery times for services from Openreach or other operators; getting wayleaves; the impact of BDUK’s pause on community-led ISPs Gigabit Vouchers; and access to skills and labour.
INCA chairman Alex Blowers said the report shows the ‘increasing maturity’ of the independent broadband sector, describing the sector as a ‘key partner in the delivery of a 21st century digital UK.’ 
“It is now crucial that the government and Ofcom ensure momentum is maintained, by evolving the underlying policy and regulatory framework in support of the infrastructure competition that has now arrived in the UK,” Blowers added.
Commenting on the news, Giganet’s CEO Jarlath Finnegan said that it is ‘reassuring to see such high-level investment from independent broadband providers propelling the UK forward in the delivery of nationwide full fibre infrastructure’.
“This future-proofing endeavour requires a diverse and competitive independent offering. As the sector doubles in size and benefits from continued growth, this can only help to drive competition, improve standards and ultimately benefit customers,” Finnegan commented.
Finnegan added that Giganet is on track to connect 500,000 customers over the next three years, priding itself on its flexible contracts and promise to abolish exit fees and mid-contract price rises.


Logitech unveils new mouse-keyboard combos

Logitech has unveiled two new enterprise mouse-keyboard combos that have been designed to improve employee experience and productivity.
MX Keys Mini Combo for Business (pictured above) and Signature MK650 Combo for Business both include Logi Bolt wireless security. They are also compatible with Logi Options+ software, which simplifies product customisation and application-based presets.
Joseph Mingori, vice president and general manager, Logitech, explained, “These new mice and keyboard combos, designed to serve diverse business and employee needs, expand our enterprise product portfolio.
“With this new approach, called The New Logic of Work, we acknowledge that the one-size-fits-all model is no longer viable, and everyone should have the devices that best suit their work styles for the ideal experience in the workplace.”
The Signature MK650 Combo for Business is available in graphite and off-white, with the keyboard including an integrated palm rest and the contoured mouse including rubber side grips. The keyboard’s new one-key productivity shortcuts and typing innovations help increase efficiency while improving the employee experience. The mouse features Silent Click technology, along with SmartWheel technology for ultra-fast scrolling and line-by-line precision.
MX Keys Mini Combo for Business is tailored for employees with more advanced workflows. The kit combines performance and versatility in a minimalist design that opens up more desk space and improves productivity. It is available in graphite and features the portable MX Anywhere 3 for Business mouse and the compact MX Keys Mini for Business keyboard.
The new combos include recyclable paper packaging that comes from FSC certified forests and other controlled sources. Additionally, a portion of the plastic parts used in the Signature MK650 Combo are made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic: 21 per cent for off-white and 28 per cent for the graphite K650 keyboard, and 26 per cent for the off-white and 64 per cent for the graphite M650 mouse.
The MX Keys Mini Combo and Signature MK650 Combo will be available from Logitech resellers in August 2022.


Focus Group partners with Auditel on carbon neutrality

Focus Group has appointed Auditel, which helps organisations reduce their carbon emissions whilst also reducing their costs, to support its journey towards carbon neutrality.
Focus Group will work with Auditel to conduct a six-moth detailed audit of all material Green House Gas (GHG) emissions within its business, including Scope 3 emissions. This initial stage of carbon auditing will deliver a detailed carbon footprint report produced to GHG protocol, corporate accounting and reporting standard.
Ralph Gilbert, co-founder and director, Focus Group, said, “As a group we have already done so much to try and minimise our impact on the planet. It’s great to now have a framework to recognise that work and drive even more effort towards becoming carbon neutral.
“We recognise that our day-to-day operational activities and those of our customers have some impact on the environment. By partnering with Auditel we are making a clear statement of intent to reduce our own carbon footprint in a credible, meaningful, and measured way and to provide our customers with sustainability solutions that will benefit everyone.”
Rob Allison, carbon solutions director, Auditel, added, “We are delighted to be working with Focus Group, a genuine champion of sustainability in the IT, telecoms and connectivity sector. We look forward to working with the team and their supply chain to help them achieve an industry recognised standard of carbon neutrality.”


Intercity acquires Chandler Communications

IT service provider Intercity has acquired telecommunications business Chandler Communications.
The deal follows a successful period of organic growth for Intercity across its Communications, Cloud Security and Managed Services divisions. The purchase is part of the company’s strategy for supporting this organic growth with acquisitions.
Established in 1986, Chandler Communications is based in Northampton and is a family-run business with over 350 customers across the UK. According to Birmingham-headquartered Intercity, the two companies’ people-first approach to business and family-owned background make the two organisations an ‘ideal fit’.
The deal sees Chandler Communications colleagues become part of Intercity, with the business’s Northampton site joining Intercity’s network of UK offices.
Andrew Jackson, CEO of Intercity (pictured above) said the company is delighted to welcome Chandler Communications to the group, commenting: “Having seen how this well-managed business has grown over the last 30 years, and the care the team put into building long-term partnerships with customers, we recognised the huge synergies between our two organisations.”
Perry Chandler, director and co-founder of Chandler Communications, added: “After thoroughly enjoying the past 36 years, and for very personal reasons, it’s time to hand over the reins.  I’ve looked for a company who hold the same important values at their core as I do and have found this in abundance at Intercity.”


North wins £7M connectivity contract with City of York Council

Managed services provider North has announced it has won a £7m contract to provide a fully managed connectivity service to 27 local authority schools and the Council’s corporate estate.
The digital transformation project for Council buildings and schools across York aims to put flexible working, safety, security, and connectivity at the heart of operations.
North said the £7million contract is a significant win and will be the second 10-year managed service contract the company has secured with the City of York Council.
The digital transformation services within the project will oversee the installation of a range of security measures across the network, new digital tools to allow both internal and external threats to be monitored, and faster and more flexible Wi-Fi to support a blended working environment.
Councillor Nigel Ayre, executive member for finance and performance, City of York Council, said, “York’s connectivity is helping to attract investment and jobs to the city, is supporting the city’s recovery from the pandemic and helping us to address 21st century city challenges with innovative smart technology. This has seen us use technology to help us tackle challenges in a wide range of areas transport, social care and make the city an even better place to live and work.
“This long-term investment will help to further improve council services and we look forward to continuing our innovative work with North in the months and years ahead.
Mark Lowe, business development director at North, added, “Digital services have become the essential foundation to deliver enhanced public services across local government with a blended-online approach now commonly adapted in workplaces. Therefore, to ensure businesses are able to operate effectively these structures must be kept up-to-date and secure.
“North will ensure the most advanced infrastructure is established across the City of York’s estate and local schools, facilitating a hybrid working approach that fits the needs of the Council for years to come, while enhancing the education environment for pupils.”


FullFibre switches on FTTP network in Ross-On-Wye

FullFibre has announced that residents and businesses alike in Ross-on-Wye can access the company’s FTTP network across the town. This follow’s FullFibre’s recent expansion into 24 new towns and areas.
Gareth Yardley, area general manager, FullFibre, explained, “A town like Ross-on-Wye was previously overlooked by large network providers so we’re thrilled to make this announcement.
“Having access to ultrafast broadband can be a real benefit to towns looking to modernise their digital infrastructure, bridging the digital divide in the UK.”
FullFibre is a wholesale only network provider and partners with multiple consumer and business ISPs to give local residents more broadband choice. FullFibre’s ISP partners can now Service Ross-on-Wye with full fibre broadband.


Roaming IoT connections to hit 1.8 billion by 2027

A new study from Juniper Research has estimated the global number of roaming IoT connections will grow by 500 per cent by 2027. The study found that these connections will likely increase from 300 million in 2022 to 1.8 billion by 2027.
The study included a Competitor Leaderboard, which assessed IoT vendors against a set of key indicators to derive their relative positioning in the matrix. These included a vendor’s capacity and capability, their product positioning, size of their operations, financial performance and the sophistication of their IoT roaming solution.
The Competitor Leaderboard ranked Vodafone Business, Tata Communications, TNS, BICS, Syniverse, and iBasis as the six leading IoT roaming vendors.
The research also found harnessing AI to detect permanent roaming connections is key to distinguishing services of leading vendors from their competitors. By enabling accurate identification of permanent roaming IoT connections, vendors will support operators in monetisation of these devices.
The full whitepaper can be accessed here.


DataSolutions doubles turnover and nears carbon neutral status

DataSolutions has announced the achievement of its £83m 2021-2022 revenue target, making it the company’s most successful year in its 30 year history.
In the three years ending in March 2022, DataSolutions has more than doubled turnover, going from £40m for the year to March 2019 to £83m for the year to March 2022.
Driving the growth is the distributor’s portfolio of security solutions, which now consists of four main pillars: Hybrid Working, Cloud Security, Zero Trust and Managed Security Services. Its cybersecurity and hybrid multi-cloud divisions have seen growth of 43 per cent over the last year. 
With the growth of hybrid working solutions and the need to secure the cloud, DataSolutions said it has seen demand across its vendors, which include Citrix and Check Point, significantly increase.
In addition to the business growth, becoming carbon neutral in 2022 is described as a key priority for the company. Its ‘Techies Go Green’ movement, aiming to help IT and tech businesses to decarbonise, now has 200 signatories including Softcat, Version 1, Sapphire and ColorTokens.
Over the same period (2018-2021) of business growth, measured using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, DataSolutions has reduced its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions as measured by the Location Based Method by 33 per cent and by the Market Based Method by 75 per cent.
Measures introduced to ensure sustainability goals are met have included installing a heat pump solution, switching to LED lights and a green electricity supplier, installing solar panels and assisting company staff working from home to move to green energy providers where possible.
The company’s new hybrid working strategy has reduced staff commute emissions by 60 per cent, DataSolutions said in a statement, and it is aiming to reduce its business air travel by 50 per cent per annum.
“We made doubling the business and going carbon neutral key objectives, and I’m as proud of reducing our emissions as I am of increasing our profits,” said Michael O’Hara, managing director, DataSolutions (pictured).
“We have also extended these sustainability efforts beyond the four walls of the business, helping the technology sector as a whole to be greener. It’s my firm belief that until companies take reducing their carbon emissions seriously and act on it, it won’t happen. As I have, leaders need to realise that business and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, but mutually beneficial.”


Mode Solutions acquires eacs

Mode Solutions has acquired Cambridgeshire-based managed services provider eacs.
The move aims to enable UK businesses of all sizes to access an extensive range of digital transformation services and solutions from a single source. The enlarged business is supported by a debt refinancing through BlackRock with additional acquisition funds available from both BlackRock and Connection Capital.
Established in 1995, Mode Solutions began as a provider of document management solutions. In December 2019 the company diversified through the acquisition of Nix Communications to incorporate unified communications and network services. 
With this new acquisition, Mode strategically expands its capability into IT managed services as well as expanding its geographic reach and scale to more than twice existing revenues. The newly combined organisation has plans to rebrand in the coming weeks.
eacs delivers managed IT services and solutions to a range of customers including the University of Cambridge, Development Bank of Wales and Kwik-Fit. As an approved supplier on the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace and NHS Shared Business Services, it also provides access to public sector procurement frameworks for cloud services.
The MSP’s accreditations include multiple Microsoft Gold competencies, Cyber Essentials Plus, Apple Services, a 24/7 Network Operations Centre and Security Operations Centre, and a number of ISO certifications.
Alex Tupman, CEO of Mode Solutions, said, “An acquisition of this size and quality further demonstrates our growth ambitions and evolution from our heritage, as well as delivering on our strategic objectives to offer a full trifecta of digital services to UK businesses from a single source with a reputation for providing an outstanding customer experience.”