TalkTalk buys Sky’s equity in York FTTP broadband joint-venture and announces expansion to another 40,000 homes and businesses
TalkTalk is buying Sky’s share of their fibre to the premise (FTTP) joint venture in York and will expand the network to cover the majority of the city following a successful trial.
The initial rollout covered 14,000 homes and businesses and has seen 2,400 customers sign up for speeds of up to 1Gbps. The project achieved its costs and adoption targets, meaning the remaining partners, TalkTalk and CityFibre, are starting a £20 million expansion starting next year.
TalkTalk will provide the funding and work to connect another 40,000 premises over the next 18 months will start in the spring.
The company has always been the most vocal supporter of the project and possible plans to take the initiative nationwide, but Sky will remain a long-term wholesale customer for the network. CityFibre remains a shareholder and has FTTP networks in 40 UK towns and cities.
During a tour of York this year, TalkTalk confirmed to TechWeekEurope it had plans to cover 60 percent of the UK population with FTTP if the initial project was a success.
“We are very pleased with the success of UFO in York so far,” said Richard Sinclair, TalkTalk’s general manager for Ultrafast. “We’re very excited to be extending our roll out – York is well on its way to achieving its ambition of becoming the digital capital of the north.”
The government has welcomed the move and has signalled its support for “full” fibre like FTTP as opposed to the fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and G.Fast technologies being rolled out by BT Openreach.
“The future is fibre and TalkTalk’s extension of its rollout of full fibre gigabit speeds in York is exactly the kind of thing we want to see industry delivering across the UK,” said Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital and culture.
“We are working to support full fibre roll out by removing barriers and putting the right incentives in place to help cement our role as a digital leader and get the very best broadband to families and business.”
Digital capital of the north
York City Council has been the anchor tenant for the CityFibre network that provided the base for the initial project and it believes the presence of the infrastructure can allow it to become the digital capital of the north. Its leaders have also welcomed the expansion.
“This investment will transform York’s digital landscape,” declared David Carr, city council leader. “As the first gigabit city in the country to benefit from having access to city wide gigabit broadband, this provides significant new opportunities and support for thousands of businesses based here and a better quality and value to our residents.
“Not only helping to create new jobs and attract investment but making York an enviable business destination.”
The council’s ambitions will be strengthened by a separate rollout by Virgin Media. The company plans to cover 20,000 properties next year as part of a wider £3 billion nationwide investment that will see its footprint increase to 17 million homes and businesses by the end of 2019.
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