2021 ISPA Awards: Who were the winners, what’s changed since last year, and what’s next for the industry?

Who were the winners, what’s changed since last year, and what’s next for the industry?

This November, at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane hotel in Piccadilly, the Internet Service Providers Association, (ISPA) held its 23rd annual awards ceremony. 

ISPA is the UK’s trade association for internet services, and their prestigious annual awards ceremony is the longest running awards ceremony of its kind in the country. The ISPA awards are an opportunity to recognise excellence, innovation, and advancement in the internet industry. 

Air Broadband is very proud of the fact that our Chief Executive, Andrew Glover, is also Chair of ISPA and is heavily involved in spearheading projects that aim to promote innovation, competition, and positive change in the internet community. 

Andrew commented that, “The ISPA Awards are always an opportunity to celebrate the great work being done by industry to roll out broadband and connect consumers and businesses.”

Due to the pandemic, last year’s awards could not be held in person, so this year was a triumphant return for the ceremony and its guests.

Andrew Glover delivers welcome speech at ISPA Awards

Adapting to unavoidable circumstances

Undeniably, the pandemic brought with it an avalanche of change for the internet services industry and everyone had to adapt to a new era of home-working, online schooling, and connecting with family over video chat. Providers have done an excellent job of rising to the challenge and meeting the increased demand for high-speed internet and better customer support services.

In his welcome speech to this year’s audience, Andrew made the point that the award categories are “our way of acknowledging those who lead the way and drive progress in the sector.”

For many of us, the pandemic brought a shift in priorities and the internet industry was not exempt from this. Investment in advanced infrastructure was suddenly at the forefront of future plans. As part of this push to connect the UK with Gigabit internet, and to replace old copper and mixed lines with fibre optic technology, CityFibre announced an investment of up to £4 billion in new full-fibre infrastructure. 

As a partner of CityFibre, Air Broadband is quickly becoming a first-choice provider for locals looking to benefit from this new investment.

A period of transformative change

Also, in his welcome speech at the awards, Andrew emphasised the instrumental role that ISPA is going to play in guiding industry leaders through this transformational period: 

“As we move beyond the pandemic, we all have a critical role in enabling our recovery as we continue to deliver on one of the biggest infrastructure challenges the country has seen in recent times. As ever, ISPA is helping members through its policy work and events to make it easier to roll out networks, helping understand the ever-changing regulatory environment, bringing members together to learn, discuss and debate and share best practice, ensuring our voice is heard by policymakers, and rewarding the brightest and the best at the ISPAs.”

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has played an integral role over the years in making the industry what it is today. Among its achievements have been the implementation of an industry code of conduct and the founding of the Internet Watch Foundation – a hotline for reporting illegal online content.

What does the future look like for the UK internet industry?

However, as we look to the future, new challenges lie in wait, including those presented by the climate crisis. Andrew highlighted the responsibility of the ISPA and its members to affect regulation that limits the environmental impact of the UK internet industry. 

“In this week of COP26 we shouldn’t, and can’t, ignore the environmental challenge we all face. I know that many of you are trying to address the net-zero target both corporately and personally and I’m sure this will become more of a focus for the industry, government and regulators.”

Who were the winners of the 2021 ISPA Awards?

All in all, this year’s awards were a huge success. 

CityFibre picked up the Best Infrastructure Provider award for driving nationwide competition, providing super fast broadband, championing individual cities, and encouraging innovation in their partners. 

And this year’s Social Impact Award went to Community Fibre for their hard work in supporting households who were isolating during the pandemic and helping disadvantaged children access online education with free gigabit broadband and laptops.