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ISP Sky to Expand Unbundled Broadband Network Reach to 90% of UK by 2015

Tuesday, Aug 28th, 2012 (10:29 am) - Score 2,916

Sky Broadband (BSkyB) has announced that its unbundled (LLU) network of UK telephone exchanges has hit the 2,000 mark, which means that their Unlimited Broadband service is now available to 82% of households but the roll-out won’t stop there. Sky has today set itself an even bigger target.

The Berkshire (England) village of Wraysbury officially became Sky’s 2,000th exchange last week, although the operator has repeatedly promised to continue the expansion of its LLU platform until it reaches 88% of the UK by June 2013. Unbundling allows ISPs to offer cheaper / more flexible broadband and phone services than those delivered over BT’s wholesale network.

Interestingly Sky now appears to have raised that target to 90% by 2015, which is similar to the government’s target for superfast broadband coverage. However Sky’s current LLU network largely relates to their standard broadband (ADSL2+) service, while its superfast “Fibre” (FTTC) package is still forced to follow BT’s footprint; this currently reaches 40% of the UK and aims for 66% by 2015 (note: BT aims to achieve 90% FTTC coverage by 2017 but this is dependent upon future state aid support).

Lyssa McGowan from Sky Broadband said:

We’ve invested more than £1 billion in our network over the past six years to enable us to provide our customers with the best possible broadband service and offer value that’s second to none. Since launching broadband in 2006, we’ve grown significantly around the UK with a view to reaching coverage of 90% of the country by 2015. Unbundling our 2,000th exchange takes us one step nearer to achieving that and we’re delighted to bring our totally unlimited broadband to the people of Wraysbury.”

It makes sense for Sky to expand its LLU coverage to 90% of the UK, not least because rival ISP TalkTalk have already done the same. But if BT does push its FTTC service out to 90% of the UK by 2017 then Sky will also want to ensure that its network has similar coverage.

Sadly FTTC doesn’t currently come in a truly unbundled form (only more restrictive virtual LLU / VULA), yet Sky can still leverage some of the capacity cost savings from its LLU network to help feed FTTC connections but only where its coverage matches that of BT’s FTTC platform.

As a side note today’s announcement follows the recent installation of WiFi from The Cloud (BSkyB) in eight venues within Wraysbury village centre, including Caffe Nero, Loch Fyne and the Egham Constitutional Club.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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