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Everything you Need to Know About UKFast

UKFast is one of the UK’s leading hosting and colocation providers founded almost 20 years ago in 1999. Started by Lawrence Jones and his partner Gail Jones, over the past 19 years UKFast has quickly grown into an award-winning provider of cloud and dedicated server hosting. Throughout its growth, UKFast has invested heavily in their hardware and infrastructure in order to expand and improve their services.

Today, UKFast have over 400 employees and wholly-own and operate four data centres in the UK. For the past six years in a row, they’ve been recognized in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For while also featuring on the Best Workplaces list.

Investors in Technology

UKFast have been strong investors in both hardware and software in order to better their services and expand their range of service. It was reported they invested £12m on hardware and infrastructure for their eCloud services which launched in 2013. This was UKFast’s first foray into cloud hosting solutions, with founder and Chief Executive Lawrence Jones intent on rivalling the services offered by tech giants Amazon and Rackspace.

The investment paid off, with the company reporting a 24% turnover increase from £23.4m to £28.9m in the year ending December 2014. That year under the advice of Sir Richard Branson, Jones split the company’s enterprise division off into a separate entity under the UKFast Group Umbrella.

While cloud technology was a large investment for UKFast, between 2011 to 2015 UKFast invested more than £25m into capital expenditure projects. Aside from the £12m in cloud technology, this investment went mostly towards the development of four new data centres, privately owned and operated by UKFast, along with their flagship UKFast Campus.

What Makes UKFast’s Hosting Solutions Special?

Unrivalled Uptime – UKFast use a multi-10Gb network with multiple transit providers in order to guarantee 100% network uptime.

Powerful Performance – With solid-state drives as the standard for all of their machines, performance across UKFast’s services is lightning fast no matter the application.

Wholly Owned and Wholly Secure – Because UKFast own their ISO-accredited data centres, all of their IT Infrastructure is secure and constantly monitored.

Always Available to Help – With 24/7/365 UK-based support via a freephone number, UKFast promises to pick up the phone (with no scripted answers or automated messages) within three rings.

Connected and Carrier-Neutral – UKFast’s data centres are carrier-neutral with a variety of top-ranking tier 1 and tier 2 carriers along with peering agreements for shared data routing responsibilities, all making for more choice and better connectivity.

What Does the Future Hold for UKFast?

After turning down a £53m bid in 2010 and a £200m takeover offer in 2014, founder Lawrence Jones insisted that he’s not looking to sell UKFast. With strong partnerships across the UK with a variety of private and public institutions, UKFast have also been pioneering a variety of community and societal campaigns.

In August 2017 Jones announced that UKFast was committed to reducing spiralling graduate debt by creating a £1 million “GradCash” fund to help pay off student loans for aspiring young professionals joining the graduate scheme. UKFast has also been very committed to offering apprenticeships, with candidates who complete the company’s two-year course having 100% employment rate within the firm.

With more than 15% of the UKFast workforce made up of former or current apprentices, it’s clear that the company’s investment in digital education for youth is already paying off. If that wasn’t enough, in February of this year UKFast announced they will be looking to bridge Manchester’s technical skills gap even further by opening up their award-winning apprenticeship training programme to other businesses.

Not only looking to cut down the digital skills gap, UKFast also recently announced that their baseline pay gap between genders is 0% and only increases to 0.9% when shift allowance is included. Jones argued that this increase is because the out of hours support teams receiving shift allowances are predominantly male and plans to combat this by working with girls’ schools and education providers to start Code Clubs and offer workshops and work experience opportunities for girls interested in the technology sector. With more senior management positions occupied by women than men and their board of directors a 50/50 gender split, UKFast are at the forefront of promoting gender equality across their company.

UKFast have shown that rapidly growing into a tech powerhouse doesn’t mean you can’t develop societal and community campaigns to reduce the gender pay gap, foster proper digital training and promote apprenticeship training for companies across Manchester and the UK.

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