TalkTalk And Sky Challenge BT With York Fibre Network

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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TalkTalk, Sky And CityFibre join forces to offer FTTP services in York and model is set to expand to other cities

Sky and TalkTalk have moved to reduce their dependency on the open access BT Openreach fibre network by agreeing a partnership with CityFibre to build a 1Gbps fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) service in York – and plan to extend the model to other cities across the UK.

The joint-venture will build on CityFibre’s existing fibre network in the city and once completed, TalkTalk and Sky will offer competing services to tens of thousands of properties in York, with the first connections expected in 2015.

The partners claim this is the first time a UK city will be connected with such speeds on a city wide basis, and have said they plan to implement the model in another two, unconfirmed cities. CityFibre currently operates local access networks in 56 towns and cities, including Sheffield, Newcastle, Bath, Bournemouth and Peterborough.

York ultrafibre

Virgin Media fibre optic broadband mapTalkTalk has long been critical of BT’s position in the superfast broadband market and has repeatedly called for greater regulation, while Sky is also believed to be threatened by BT’s aggressive pursuit of sports television rights and mobile plans, with a possible partnership with Vodafone reported earlier this year.

Both say the York venture will provide more competition and better value for consumers and businesses.

“We are excited to be working in partnership with Sky and CityFibre to build this new network that will offer significantly higher speeds at much better value than is currently available,” says Dido Harding, TalkTalk CEO. “This marks TalkTalk taking its first steps into investing in building infrastructure as part of our mission to make British homes and businesses better off.”

“Increased competition in the broadband market has brought benefits to millions of households who now enjoy better quality and value of service,” adds Stephen van Rooyen, Managing Director of Sky’s Sales, Marketing and Brand Group. This trial will help us understand the potential for cutting-edge technology to help us give customers an even better quality of service and we’re looking forward to working in partnership with TalkTalk and CityFibre.”

Details such as prices and branding have not been confirmed, but TalkTalk has indicated it will offer business packages helping to grow the local economy and support enterprises who will be able to better compete nationally and internationally as a result. Local leaders have welcomed the development.

“This announcement makes York the digital infrastructure capital of the UK,” claims Cllr James Alexander, Leader of City of York council. “Gaining ultra fast broadband across the city is a huge boost for our economy; providing significant new opportunities for businesses based here and better quality and value to our residents.”

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