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

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 (10:29 am) - Score 2,892

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.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Craig Brass says:

    “Sadly FTTC doesn’t currently come in a truly unbundled form”
    Wish people would stop winging about this. It isn’t possible to make an FTTC product that is fully unbundled without significant cost. Fact is a single fibre goes from the exchange to the cabinet. Individual copper lines then go out from here. ADSL unbundling worked because every line went directly back to the exchange. BT would need to take a fibre from the cabinet for each home back to the exchange to allow full unbundling and even then it wouldn’t be equivalent to ADSL because it has to go via BT’s DSLAM in the cabinet.

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      That, to me, is probably the biggest fail of the FTTC setup – very significant parts of it rely on one operator alone reducing competition and consumer choice, and thereby in all probability, quality.

  2. Avatar Phil says:

    The future of fastest had failed again, what the point of sky forked out their money on ADSl2+ LLU, stuff it! We all want FTTC instead! Sky had million of pounds profit but won’t do FTTC.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      LLU isn’t just about ADSL2+ services and Sky already offer FTTC packages, which make use of LLU as per the article above. It’s not ideal but Sky is at least using what’s available to them.

    2. Avatar Kyle says:

      …and believe me, we don’t all want FTTC either!

    3. Avatar DTMark says:

      Is having an LLU presence at an exchange a stepping-stone to GEA FTTC access?

      As in, there’s dedicated backhaul coming into the exchange which can be married to the GEA kit..

    4. Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      DTMark , yes.

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