New CEO and chair at Wildanet

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Paul Buttery

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

Helen Wylde has been announced as Wildanet chief executive officer while Paul Buttery has joined the Wildanet board as chair.

Helen Wylde

Wylde joined the Wildanet board as a non-exec director in 2021 as part of a strategy that would see her assume the role of CEO in 2022. An expert in innovation and digital transformation, her experience spans Vodafone, O2, Parcelforce and the Transport Systems & Connected Places Catapult. She received the Women Business Leaders Award for Technology and Digital 2019 and joined Wildanet from her previous role as MD 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 £50 million 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 Wylde and Buttery 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.

“I’m delighted to be taking this role,” said Wylde. “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.”

Buttery added: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.”