MPLS Providers UK Firms Might Consider

hSo

Founded in 2000, hSo is a carrier-independent MPLS provider that delivers networking, cloud and IT security services.

We can combine circuits from a wide range of UK network operators, including BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Colt, to create a single MPLS network that can support both voice and data services.

Learn more about hSo's MPLS WAN services.

We differ from many other mpls network providers in that we're quite sophisticated at networking and take service quality seriously. For example, we're able to provide direct connectivity to AWS and Azure, connect you via a variety of underlying providers and route your connections through different data centres to achieve increased resilience levels. We also offer 24/7 UK support.

BT

British Telecom was formerly owned by the UK Government and inherited the General Post Office's unrivalled range of telecoms assets, including telephone exchanges, cables, ducts and telegraph poles. 

These are managed by Openreach, BT's infrastructure subsidiary. As part of its regulatory undertakings, BT has given assurances to UK telecoms regulator OFCOM that Openreach will treat its customers on the basis of 'equivalence.' In other words, BT has promised not to use its infrastructure monopoly to tilt the playing field in favour of its own retail divisions. As a result, all MPLS providers have the option to use BT's network by contracting with Openreach.

Bear in mind that most MPLS solutions involve two elements - the underlying connections, and an MPLS layer on top of that. To physically connect your UK sites, most MPLS network providers will use BT's infrastructure assets for at least part of the journey - directly or indirectly. In the former case, by contracting with Openreach, or by contracting with a firm that contracts with Openreach (BT Wholesale, TalkTalk Business etc).

BT's retail divisions are BT Business (which sells to businesses in the UK) and BT Global Services (which serves multinationals and non-UK customers).

Colt

A pan-european fibre network operator that primarily delivers connectivity to on-net locations i.e. to customers in buildings and data centres where Colt has its fibre already installed.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media resulted from the merger of various UK cable franchises by NTL and Telewest. They also acquired mobile network operator Virgin Mobile, before rebranded as Virgin Media.

To our knowledge, Virgin Media still offers MPLS IPVPN services, though they seem to be hiding these away somewhat, focusing instead on highlighting their SDWAN offering.

However sales collateral on their web site suggests that their IPVPN service still makes use of MPLS and they describe their own network as having a 'fibre MPLS core.'

TalkTalk

TalkTalk was created by mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse. In broad terms, Carphone merged AOL, Tiscali UK and Opal, then expanded the network footprint to help create a mass-market residential ISP.

TalkTalk offers MPLS IPVPNs, or as it labels it, a 'Cloud-ready Private Network.'

Vodafone

Contrary to what you may expect, Vodafone isn't just a mobile network operator. It has equipment in telephone exchanges, as a result of having bought the UK-centric part of Cable & Wireless, Cable & Wireless Worldwide. This included the remains of Thus and Demon Internet.

Spitfire

One of the original local loop unbundling firms, Spitfire originally co-locating its equipment in a few dozen BT telephone exchanges, enabling Spitfire to offer SDSL - the symmetric version of SDSL.

This traditional SDSL has since fallen out of favour and been displaced in the market by EFM (Ethernet First Mile), but Spitfire is still going.

Exa Networks

It has a major focus on the education sector, it also serves general businesses too and is an MPLS supplier.

Gamma

A major supplier of SIP Trunking services and hosted PBX services, it mainly sells its services via channel partners, but it does sell directly in some circumstances. It's also an MPLS service provider.

Glide Student & Residential

Its major focus is connecting multi-tenant facilities such as student accommodation and serviced offices. However, it does serve ordinary businesses too, including with MPLS networks.