New Chief Executive and Chair Announced as Wildanet Accelerates £50m Gigabit Roll-Out

Two telecoms industry heavyweights have been appointed to lead Wildanet, the Cornwall-based broadband provider, as it scales up its business and its £50m gigabit rollout to rural communities.

Helen Wylde is announced as Wildanet Chief Executive Officer and Paul Buttery has joined the Wildanet Board as chair.

Helen joined the Wildanet board as a non-exec director in 2021 as part of a strategy that would see her assume the role of Chief Executive Officer in 2022. An expert in innovation and digital transformation, her experience spans Vodafone, O2, Parcelforce and the Transport Systems & Connected Places Catapult. Helen received the Women Business Leaders Award for Technology and Digital 2019 and joined Wildanet from her previous role as Managing Director of East Coast Trains trading as LUMO.

Paul Buttery is the former Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media, where he led the sales, service and network expansion divisions, including overseeing the provider’s Project Lightning roll out of Virgin Media’s network across the UK. He has more than 40 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry spanning BT, Verizon, Cable & Wireless and NTL:Telewest.

Founded in 2017 to bring superfast internet access to rural and hard to reach areas, Wildanet secured a £50m investment from the Gresham House British Strategic Investment Infrastructure Fund in December 2020.

With the roll-out of its gigabit-capable fibre and wireless network under way in towns and villages across Cornwall, and gathering pace, the appointment of Helen and Paul completes a highly experienced team brought together to achieve Wildanet’s mission as the rural broadband provider, connecting people, communities and businesses wherever they are in Cornwall and the South West.

Wildanet Chief Executive Officer, Helen Wylde, said: “I’m delighted to be taking this role. Wildanet is a dynamic, customer-focussed business with innovation at its core and a clear mission to drive digital inclusion. We have a fantastic team here, united by a passion that we’re not just in business to offer a service; we are making sure that future generations of people in Cornwall and the South West are connected to the internet, can work wherever they want to work and have access to all the opportunities that fast, reliable broadband opens up.”

Wildanet Chair, Paul Buttery, said: “There is a burning need for broadband and a quality telecommunications experience in Cornwall and the South West, which is currently underserved.

“To be able to really serve these rural areas you need a blend of wireless and fibre to accommodate the different geographies and Wildanet is uniquely positioned to do that in a way which can be transformational for communities, employment, education and business opportunities here. I’m excited to be coming in at the start of the roll out and to be able to add my experiences from major national network roll-outs to the considerable expertise within the Wildanet team.”

Wildanet’s ethos is that no-one should be forgotten or left behind by the digital revolution because of where they live or the standard of service they receive.

Despite the overwhelming reliance on the internet in so many areas of modern life, latest ONS figures show in the South West there are still more than 220,000 people aged over 16 who have never used the internet. And more than half of those are in Devon and Cornwall.

Wildanet’s mission is to give them the connectivity they need and deserve by providing the fastest and most reliable network for everyone, wherever they are.

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