TWO successful North-East family businesses have joined forces in a £2.5m deal to drive forward the roll out of superfast broadband across the region.
Stockton telecommunications services company MAP Group (UK) is embarking on a multi-billion pound programme to install fibre optic networks across the UK.
Advanced Vehicle Leasing (AVL), based at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Park Industrial Estate, has been chosen to provide a fleet of 100 vehicles to be used by Map Group engineers working on the North-East phase of the project.
Both companies are run by father and son combinations. Advanced Vehicle Leasing was founded by Stuart Beagrie in 1997 and his fellow director is his son, Clarke. Map Group was launched in 1993 by Chief Executive Mike Carlin, whose son, Matty, is a director.
Clarke Beagrie said: “This is clearly an extremely important project for the North-East economy, and we are delighted to be playing our part in supporting Map Group with the roll out.
“We’ve supplied vehicles to Map Group for the past three years, and they are an outstanding company, so it’s great to be extending our relationship in such a significant way.”
Mike Carlin added: “The roll-out of superfast broadband is going to make a massive difference to the North-East economy, so we needed to work with a company that we really trust. We’ve got to know AVL over the past few years, they’re very honest and straightforward to deal with, and we wouldn’t go anywhere else.”
The 100 vehicles involved in the leasing arrangement are mainly vans, but the deal also includes some cars and pick-up trucks.
Map Group is based at Preston Farm, and employs around 1,000 highly-skilled engineers. Its partners on the fibre optic roll-out include City Fibre, BT Open Reach, Virgin Media, Netomnia, Gigaclear, and toob.
Mike said he expects business to double over the next year, with a predicted turnover of £90m, as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It has been the Government’s plan over the past few years to have a full fibre network rolled out across the country, but the pandemic has placed a much greater emphasis on what’s needed because of the impact of people working from home,” he said.
In the North-East alone, the programme involves Map Group bringing superfast broadband to hundreds of thousands of homes.
Despite the global economic challenges of the lockdown, AVL – a leading provider of vehicle contract hire and leasing – has also been kept busy throughout the past year, creating three additional jobs to keep pace with demand.
“When the first lockdown started back in March, we had a period where we were operating at 10 per cent of normal levels, but business started picking up from around May. It’s gone from strength to strength and we have rounded off 2020 with record figures,” said Clarke.
“The demand for vehicles from businesses has still been there and individuals with more disposable income to spend from being in lockdown are looking to treat themselves on a new car more than ever.
“We really appreciate our connection with The Map Group and genuinely wish them continued success with their new ventures.”