E15 - Jody Botham at Brsk

James Dean
Jody Botham

By James Dean & Jody Botham

On this week’s episode on The Route to Networking, James Dean, the Director at Hamilton Barnes, sits down and speaks to Jody Botham, the Head of Networks at Brsk. Jody dives into his experiences starting in the industry, what he was doing before and where he sees himself in the next few years.

Taking it back to where it all stemmed… Jody started his own building company back with his business partner in 2006. He started to realise he wasn’t enjoying it as much; the hours were becoming longer, and it came to the point where it wasn’t healthy. He decided to book a holiday to Ibiza and decided it was no longer for him anymore and quit.

After making such a bold decision, he found a job advert in a paper for a local ISP and was successful, starting part-time and very quickly leading to a full-time position. He was there for 13 years, going from Front Line Support to Network Architect.

Applying for that one job advert in the paper is what has led him to his successful career in the networking space. He had a love for computing before starting his career at Brsk. He took A levels in Computer Science and back in the 80s, computers were this exciting new technology, and there was nothing quite like it before.

After leaving his job as a Network Architect, he joined Brsk as Head of Networks. Brsk is an AltNet that provides residential broadband services to West Yorkshire and is currently building Full Fibre out in South Manchester & Burnley and Accrington in Lancashire. More recently they have started building our Full Fibre in Dudley and surrounding areas in the West Midlands.

What sets Brsk aside from its competitors is that they are hugely focused on the customer. Broadband infrastructure in the UK isn’t great and there are a lot of people who accept mediocre services, and the aim of them is to stand out as reliable and strong broadband service. An example of exceptional quality customer-facing skills that happened… “We had a small outage to do with a massive fibre infrastructure being down for a day/day and a half. Once we got those customers back online our community managers went around and delivered chocolates to everyone”.

To be able to understand the fundamentals is key when starting up in the industry, everything is built up around the fundamentals i.e., Ethernet and IP Routing. If you can get your head around those then it’s going to make everything a lot easier. People overcomplicate things to the point where they do not know how to operate or maintain them, and then the customer suffers. Another piece of advice Jody gives to anyone coming into the industry is to read a lot, if you don’t know something then Google it. Watch plenty of videos if you don’t like reading, be interested, ask lots of questions, don’t assume things, and join communities!

The future of tech is very bright… in Jody’s eyes, the ISP industry in the UK is already in the process of evolution. There are over 100 AltNets, over the next few years once they’ve been built we're going to see some consolidation. Out of that, you’ll probably end up with a number of ISPs providing service over multiple underlying access networks whether that’s Openreach, City Fibre, Brsk etc… Regarding the future of networking as a whole, he believes AI will be the big change of the future of tech and says it’ll be the tech that takes over the world.

During the quick-fire round at the end of the podcast… Jody gives some great answers, you don’t want to miss out on this… Listen to the podcast here: