E91 - Tony Hughes at 4th Utility12 July, 2023
Today on the Route to Networking podcast, our Senior Fibre Consultant Aaron Batten was joined by Tony Hughes, the CEO of 4th Utility. The pair delve into discussing all things Fibre, including some of the challenges the industry is currently facing, one of those concerns being digital inclusion. They address the importance of ensuring that everyone has internet access and what 4th Utility is doing to tackle this.
Tony is 30 years into the technology space. He took some time out in 2016 and thought it was a great opportunity to do something different in apartment blocks in the UK. That time off was incredibly important for him to regroup and figure out what he wanted to do moving forward. He advises anyone senior or someone looking for a change, to spend some time out and prioritise their time to think.
Since the pandemic, the world has gone digital. You can work differently than you used to and can work from any part of the world. This is definitely one of the biggest changes he has seen in his 30 years in the industry.
4th Utility provides Fibre broadband into apartment blocks across the UK. They provide full infrastructure completely free of charge and they guarantee to synchronise speeds which is very critical in the digital world we are now living in. This resonates with their customer base very well.
Some areas of concern he is seeing in the industry currently is lots of people across the UK are being told they are buying fibre when in actual fact they are buying Fibre-to-the-Cabinet. With 4th Utility, they ensure they sell full fibre end to end.
Another thing that works heavily is social inclusion in the UK. If we want the UK economy to grow, we must engage with everyone and that is exactly what they are doing. As a commercial business, they are of course there to make a profit, but ultimately, they want to bring people along the journey with them. So, with that being said, they work with social housing providers in the UK to install WIFI in their community centres. They also support training programs for those over 65s and educate them to access the internet to receive health services and tackle loneliness. They are taking the fear factor away and ensuring everyone is included from a digital perspective.
A balanced workforce is massively important at 4th Utility. Culture is ultimately the most important thing in any organisation. If you don’t have that diversity, you’re missing a trick because the more people who interact and give their ideas and thoughts, the more impact it will have on you as a company. They very much focus on that with 1/3 of the business being women (they are aiming to get more). With a diverse culture, it brings different ideas, and different cultures and essentially will be more likely that you’ll become successful.
Tony gives his best piece of advice to those who are considering a career in the Fibre space… Tune in now to hear it!