Published: 10:00, 04 August 2014 |
Updated: 10:29, 04 August 2014
A communications firm is launching a £200,000 bid to become the UK’s leading niche internet service provider (ISP) after receiving an interest-free loan.
Astro Communication aims to be winning customers for its new online operations by the end of the year after being given £85,000 from the TIGER fund, a scheme run partly by Kent County Council, which is lending £20m to businesses in north Kent through the Regional Growth Fund.
The Dartford-based company, which has operated for nearly 30 years, aims to create eight jobs through the venture.
The firm aims to develop the service using its own core network and reselling other companies’ services.
Co-founder Steve Smith, who is technical director, said: “Astro have always focused on providing innovative and reliable services to our customers.
“By taking this step in delivering our own ISP service, coupled with our existing products and highly technical team, we will be able to ensure that we design and manage every element of the customer’s network and that we provide the best possible service to them.”
Founded by two former BT employees, Astro provides communication services ranging from physical cabling and wireless LANs to cloud-based video conferencing.
Key clients include TGI Friday’s, Bourne Leisure Limited, Impellam Group PLC, Capital FM Arena and Wightlink Ferries.
The move into the ISP market has been prompted by an increase in mergers and acquisitions in the sector, which is dominated by a select few communications providers.
Managing director Steve Hodges said: “In 2007, an Ofcom study found over 700,000 businesses had connectivity and hosting services provided by a niche ISP and since then this market has gone from strength to strength.
“Customers choose to go with such suppliers because of the greater flexibly of service, higher levels of customer care and a more customer-centric approach to solution design.
“Astro have always employed these principles so by being in control of the solutions and choosing very strategic partnerships we feel we can bring a broader range of services to our customers.
“Both the validation of our business plan and the financial support from the TIGER scheme has given us a real boost in terms of the timing and effectiveness of this project.”
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.