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Easynet and Cyberia

Last Edit: 22/10/19

Easynet was founded in 1994, and were one of the earliest UK Internet Service Providers. Just as with many early independent Internet Service Providers it was acquired by a larger telecommunications company (BSkyB) and then eventually resold and merged (defunct) into another telecommunications company (Interoute). While its a brand name that is probably unknown to millennials, it was one of the most popular UK Internet Service Providers in the 1990s, and in 2005, the BBC reported that Easynet "could be valued at around £150m". Easynet is credited as being a pioneer of unbundling local loop infrastructure at telephone exchanges, so that Internet Service Providers could install their own equipment.

Easynet logo, after it was acquired by Interoute 39 Whitfield Street in Fitzrovia, previous home of Cyberia and BTR
(Pictured: Easynet logo, after it was acquired by Interoute -- 39 Whitfield Street in Fitzrovia, previously home to Cyberia)

In 1994, Easynet was founded by Keith Teare and David Rowe, alongside Cyberia (also founded by Eva Pascoe and Gene Teare), which the New York Times reported in 2004 was "billed as the world's first Internet cafe, opened in the West End of London". Easynet provided Internet access to Cyberia -- believed to be a 64Kbs leased line that powered ten computers -- and the clear links between the two businesses resulted in many Easynet promotions being hosted at 39 Whitfield Street in Fitzrovia, the home of Cyberia. In 2004, Eric Pfanner, in the New York Times, reported that Maurice Saatchi and Mick Jagger were early investors in Cyberia, which used the investment to open branches in European capitals such as Paris, Edinburgh and Dublin.

By the early 2000's, founders of Cyberia, such as Eva Pascoe, had moved onto other projects, and the business was sold to South Korean business interests who rebranded the business to: 'Be The Reds'. The business continued to be based at 39 Whitfield Street in Fitzrovi and was managed by Roger Park. The site is no longer home to 'Be The Reds', and is currently home to Noizé Restaurant, who provide main menu meals such as 'Barley Wraps, Sweet Potato, Chimichurri, Romesco Sauce'.

In 1996, two years after its creation, Easynet was listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) -- a submarket of the London Stock Exchange -- that currently lists Internet base businesses such as ASOS. Easynet remained in the hands of Keith Teare and David Rowe longer than Cyberia, but in 2005, the BBC reported that Easynet was attracting interest from satellite television broadcaster BSkyB. According to the BBC, by 2005, Easynet had installed its own equipment in 250 local BT exchanges; unlike many independent ISPs who paid to access BT's equipment. In December 2005, The Office of Fair Trading approved of BSkyB's purchase of Easynet (£211m). Sky Broadband's purchase of Easynet allowed Sky to become of the few major broadband providers who had access to their own equipment at unbundled local loop telephone exchanges. Following on from Easynet's policy, Sky Broadband continued to expand the amount of its unbundled exchanges.

In 2010, Easynet Corporate services (hosting and cloud services) were purchased by Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), owned by Lloyds Bank, from BSkyB. MDNX acquired Easynet in 2013, to form: Easynet (MDNX). In September 2015, Easynet (MDNX) was acquired by Interoute for £402m. In February 2018, GTT Communications announced they had purchased Interoute for $2.3 billion.