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Sky and TalkTalk Launch UFO Site to Showcase 1000Mbps Fibre Broadband

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 (8:49 am) - Score 3,285

Internet providers Sky Broadband and TalkTalk have launched a new website called Ultra Fibre Optic (UFO), which appears designed to showcase the forthcoming commercial launch of their new 1000Mbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) network for residents in the city of York (England).

As a quick recap, Sky and TT joined forces with urban fibre optic developer Cityfibre last year to roll-out a 1000Mbps capable FTTH service to homes across York (here) and two further cities (the other two have yet to be confirmed). The network would harness Cityfibre’s existing 10Gbps capable and 103km long fibre optic ring network in the city (The York Core).

Each ISP is known to have contributed £5m to the first phase, which will cover 20,000 premises and that leaves roughly 60,000 left to be completed at a later date (more investment will be required). According to the latest status update from TalkTalk (here), some 1,200 of the 20,000 premises required for phase 1 are already within reach of the network and the first customers should go live during the Autumn 2015 window.

At present Sky Broadband and TalkTalk together already serve approximately 45% of all broadband customers in York and so they’re in a good position to sell the advantages of the new service, with speculation mounting that existing subscribers in related areas might also benefit from a free or automatic upgrade to the new ultrafast connectivity.

But for the time being the new website merely acts as more of an advertising platform, which adds very little in the way of new information (except perhaps for some slightly irritating auto-play sound effects). The website does at least offer a pre-registration system and coverage checker, although right now the coverage is so limited that you’re unlikely to see a “service available” response (give it a few more months). Sadly there are also no details about packages or pricing.

Separately TalkTalk claims that the build costs are so far proving to be in line with their target of under £500 per home passed, which is impressively low for an pure urban fibre optic deployment. At this level the ISP believes that it could eventually bring the network to around 10 million UK homes, albeit requiring a strong uptake of 30%-40%. But that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon as such a network would take many years to build and consume a huge investment.

One thing to be aware of here is that some of the most frustrating, time consuming and difficult parts of any FTTH build come when you have to physical start connecting properties. At this point costs can rise due to the complexities of such work and that may yet test the £500 feasibility benchmark.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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27 Responses
  1. Avatar adslmax Real

    BT Openreach should be doing FTTH/P not FTTC (still slow on copper and distance on cabinet) or FTTPoD (overpriced)

    Well done Sky & TalkTalk on doing cityfibre!

    • Avatar dave

      there is no reason for them to do that as they are rolling out fttc. In a few years the govt will pay for rolling out FTTP and BT will win nearly all the contracts as they already have fttc installed so will only need to dig from the cabinet to the home. This was the government’s way of rolling out fttp to the public but only letting bt get the contract, pure corruption.

    • Avatar DTMark

      Indeed. This much – where this was going – was obvious from the very outset of the BDUK programme. To kill any notion of private investment and competition so encouraged in other industries which provides the driving force for improvement and to declare broadband to be a ‘State affair’.

      BT will probably get the taxpayer to pay for G.Fast first, though.

      By the end of all this, the cost to the taxpayer, versus a commercially funded rollout and competition from and between multiple players, will be astronomical.

    • Avatar GNewton

      FTTPoD has been virtually abandoned by BT, using some lame excuses, and it won’t come back any time soon, if at all.

    • Avatar SammyJ

      @ GNewton – Nice to see you trolling again. I suppose you missed the G.fast and FoD announcements?

    • Avatar Bill

      @SammyJ – what exactly was the FoD announcement?

    • Avatar GNewton

      @Bill: BT suspended its FoD back in January, see http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2015/01/bt-wholesale-suspend-new-orders-330mbps-fttp-demand-broadband.html. I am not aware of any new announcements that BT has resumed this product. It never was a nationwide product in the first place, and it would have been in competition with BTs own leased-line business. So don’t expect anything to come any time soon.

    • Avatar SammyJ

      What about the FoD trials in Gosforth and Huntingdon? I guess GNewton forgot about those and how FoD forms BT’s future fibre deployment strategy.

    • Avatar DTMark

      “BT’s future fibre deployment strategy”

      If this involves getting people to pay upwards of £500 to have their property wired up when Virgin Media will do the same for nothing, I’d suggest that strategy has a number of flaws.

    • Avatar DumbDumb

      “What about the FoD trials in Gosforth and Huntingdon? I guess GNewton forgot about those…”

      Or more likely unlike you he realises they are G.Fast trials and not FoD which as he rightly points out has been abandoned with no further orders. Helps if you know what product you are blabbering about.

      Oh and LOL @DTmark

    • Avatar SammyJ

      It would seem like there are some people with multiple personalities on here…

      “Or more likely unlike you he realises they are G.Fast trials and not FoD which as he rightly points out has been abandoned with no further orders. Helps if you know what product you are blabbering about.”

      Care to explain how BT will be trialling 1Gig then with G.fast?

      It’s funny how you BT trolls seem to know more than BT, who incidentally have recently been briefing ISPs on the next stage of their commercial fibre deployment. I seem to recall FoD being pretty important.

    • Avatar GNewton

      @DTMark: “getting people to pay upwards of £500 to have their property wired up”

      Not sure were you get this figure from. The last published costs for setting up a Fibre-on-Demand on a premise, before BT suspended this product, were much higher. E.g.

      Fixed Connection £750 Exc VAT + Distance Based Charge £350 up to £6,125.00 (depending on line length) + Annual Rental £1,188 for a simple up to 330Mbit/s/30Mbit/s fibre line.

    • Avatar DumbDumb

      There is no FoD trial in Huntingdon or Gosforth. It is G.Fast a product that uses COPPER still…..

      FoD/FTTPoD is no longer a product which can even be ordered as was pointed out to you. BT in typical fashion spoke a load of BS why they said it would be reorder-able in May. I await to be called a troll and other similar stupid angry little man name calling below.

    • Avatar SammyJ

      Again, how will be be trialling a 1Gig service in Gosforth and Huntingdon with G.fast?

      I suggest you read Page 37 here https://www.btwholesale.com/assets/documents/Previous_Events/ISP_Forum/ISP_Forum_29_April_2015_v1.pdf

      Shock horror, FoD is back!

    • Avatar DumbDumb

      OMG page 37 refers to 2 different products, try reading page 41 that CLEARLY STATES
      “Temporary Stop Sell in force still”

    • Avatar DumbDumb

      There are no FTTPoD trials in Gosforth or Huntingdon as you claimed here…
      I have no idea why you want me to explain how they are testing 1Gig service there it was you that claimed they were. The services in those 2 areas are G.Fast which is an UPTO 500Mb product.

      I trust this clears up your inept knowledge.

    • Avatar SammyJ

      We seem to be going round in circles here.

      How are BT going to be trialling a 1Gig service? Openreach and BT Wholesale have told their customers it will be a FoD trial of a 1Gig service in Gosforth and Huntingdon – and BT confirmed it a while back http://www.btplc.com/News/Articles/ShowArticle.cfm?ArticleID=C2B16D33-699C-4692-925C-26E05AB6192D

      BT Wholesale have a stop-sell on FoD, Openreach do not. Small difference here….

    • Avatar Kyle

      No where did that mention FoD or anyone in the areas concerned getting 1 Gig.

    • Avatar SammyJ

      “Some areas will have just G.Fast, some just FTTP on Demand2 and others have both. We would like trial end users for both products so please consider which product you are prepared to trial.”

      The comments in this article have been bookmarked 😀

    • Avatar Kyle

      The BT link of http://www.btplc.com/News/Articles/ShowArticle.cfm?ArticleID=C2B16D33-699C-4692-925C-26E05AB6192D has no such quotation.

      “BT Wholesale have a stop-sell on FoD, Openreach do not. Small difference here…”

      Then try providing a link to prove openreach still sell FoD rather than a BT wholesale link of https://www.btwholesale.com/assets/documents/Previous_Events/ISP_Forum/ISP_Forum_29_April_2015_v1.pdf which conclusively shows the product is no longer for sale.

      “The comments in this article have been bookmarked”
      Not sure why you would do that unless very disturbed.

    • Avatar DumbDumb

      Oh dear so…
      1 Starts out confused between G.Fast and FoD products
      2 Claims FoD from BT wholesale is available with terms such as “Shock horror, FoD is back!” without reading the BT wholesale link they provide first which says it is still a stop sell.
      3 Then rambles and claims its Openreach (obviously to try to be right on something though still isnt)
      4 Bookmarks his mistakes (who knows why)
      5 Provides mass entertainment to many people with its errors 😀


    • Avatar Portynews

      Neil is going to be very angry about being away for a day and a half and unable to answer all these posts on various news items. Hopefully he will be along later today.

  2. Avatar Kieran stone

    You mention that the customer connection is the most costly and difficult part. For BT models 100% I agree. The CityFibre deployment is different though, the network build has the complex install complete. It is plug and play from the customers boundary. They don’t get paid when they achieve ‘homes passed’ so their incentive is to make the drop simple.

    • Avatar DTMark

      Perhaps similar to cable.

      FTTP deployment costs are the great BT “straw man” argument as they’re usually quoted based on actually wiring up each individual property, which of course nobody would ever do en-masse, as opposed to providing connection points in the pathway which can be wired up on demand/as needed.

  3. Avatar Kieran Stone

    City Fibre / SKY / TT is pretty much wiring up every property, the last drop is a pretty simple one and ‘should’ be very swift.
    Quite a few operators are looking at the cabling up en-masse option. Bringing back splicers and cable blowers for individual customer drops is a financial/technical nightmare. Granted you defer the cost of deployment, but you pay for that later in time and money per install.

    • Avatar DTMark

      It simply isn’t possible, because the installers have no right to be on the customers’ properties, and the customer can refuse. And some will, especially if they have no interest in broadband.

      I would guess that the “killer app” was effectively the invention of the telephone system and the desire to be in touch during world wars which saw most people receptive to the idea originally.

  4. Avatar KStone

    I can’t post images here, but honestly it is done You can install at the customer boundary (within a drillbit of the customer), most the Operators we work with take this approach.
    And yes – some (not CFH) do install on the customer property ‘with the customers permission’, especially those in undeserved areas whose homes would benefit from ‘fibre ready’ status (regardless of if they take up service).

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