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UK ISP Sky Broadband to Trial 18Mbps Sky Fibre Lite FTTC Service

Friday, June 3rd, 2016 (2:09 pm) - Score 3,820

Sky UK (Sky Broadband) has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that they are about to start trials of a new 18Mbps unlimited usage Sky Fibre Lite (FTTC) product with around 20,000 customers, which is designed to tempt those on their slower ADSL2+ based service to upgrade to FTTC for a better speed.

The new service is based off BTOpenreach’s speed capped 18Mbps (2Mbps upload) Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL) product, which was officially announced back in April 2016 and is due to enter a 6-month trial via a special offer to ISPs that will start from 15th June 2016 (full summary). Sky’s trial will make use of this, albeit launching in July.

Openreach’s new product was created to act as an uplift path for existing ADSL / ADSL2+ (up to 20Mbps DL / 1Mbps UP) based lines, such as those which might be receiving a poor speed but who have elected not to upgrade to 40-80Mbps capable FTTC (assuming it’s available) because of the extra costs involved (FTTC often adds a +£5-10 premium). In most cases ADSL users will be able to get a faster speed on FTTC, but sometimes the difference is simply too small to warrant paying any extra.

By comparison the new 18Mbps FTTC product is priced much closer to a typical ADSL line and encouraging a migration onto this service would also help with Openreach’s long-term goal of moving away from their old PSTN phone lines and 20CN in order to go completely IP-voice by around 2025 (big cost saving).

However the new service is still a little bit more expensive for the ISPs to offer than a fully unbundled ADSL2+ line and as a result some had speculated that it might not be an attractive solution for the biggest providers (BTWholesale won’t take part either), although clearly Sky will be able to explore this through their trial.

Customers who join the trial, which will include those on the ‘up to’ 17Mbps (ADSL) capable £10 per month Sky Broadband Unlimited package (currently being offered free for 12 months with a £100 M&S e-Voucher + £17.40 line rental), won’t pay any extra for the 18Mbps FTTC service and if Openreach’s strategy holds then this will remain the case even after the trial ends.

A Sky Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“In July, we are moving some of our Sky Broadband Unlimited customers to a new Sky Fibre Lite product, which will significantly increase their broadband speeds and give them a better experience when using the Internet. These customers will be able to do more of what we know they love, like downloading their favourite on demand TV shows faster and streaming live video content.

We are committed to ensuring our customers have the best possible broadband service and will continue to look at ways to improve speeds for customers.”

We understand that Sky will begin sending out letters to inform pre-selected subscribers about the new trial within the next week or two and those chosen will include customers who are most likely to benefit from the service (i.e. those on slow ADSL2+ lines who live where faster FTTC is available).

At this point we still don’t know which parts of the United Kingdom or what specific Street Cabinets will be eligible to take part in the trial, but no doubt more on that will be revealed soon. Of course the new service won’t be of much help to those stuck in areas where both the ADSL and VDSL (FTTC) speeds are equally poor, although even then FTTC can often still do faster upload speeds and better latency.

UPDATE 2:08pm

We received Sky’s official response only moments after publishing and have added it in above. I’ve changed the introduction accordingly to remove our initial reference to ‘credible sources’ as we now have the official line.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar joe pineapples says:

    I wonder if old Sky ADSL2+ customers, currently with another phone provider, would have to switch to SKy phone, if indeed they were chosen to take part.

  2. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    I wonder if we will start seeing some of the LLU operators pulling out of the smaller exchanges in favour of using SoGEA? Whilst there are some increased costs, there are also considerable operating costs in areas such as backhaul, renting exchange space and equipment in fewer exchange buildings (those where there are GEA handover points).

    It does, however, mean a change to the way voice services are provisioned.

  3. Avatar Tom Rand says:

    Hope I get this, fed up with 2mb/s

  4. Avatar Carole Armitage says:

    I received the letter about this, also saying that a new sky hub would be sent in the next 6 to 8 weeks. The 8 weeks is up on Sat. and still no sign of the new hub.

  5. Avatar Alison Murcott says:

    I didn’t ask for this only received email saying they were sending it and taking 69 pounds out of my account for it

    1. Avatar Lynda Dunn says:

      I also received email this morning and, like you, have never had a letter from them. I’m not sure what will happen about the £69.00 charge as it says it doesn’t apply to Sky fibre lite customers. Does that mean we’re getting it for nothing? If so, great, but I definitely didn’t “agree” to the change as it says in the email. Don’t know whether to try to contact them now or wait to see what happens on the 1st Sept which is the date the email says it will start……… I hate phoning call centres…….

  6. Avatar Robert Knight says:

    I also received an email telling me I have been upgraded to Sky Fibre Lite and will receive a new hub in the next few days. The email implied it will cost me £69.00 for the hub and an increase in my subscription of £7.50 per month.

    I immediately telephoned customer services, they told me there would definitely be no additional cost for the hub or any increase in my subscriptions. They said I had been chosen out of 20,000 customers with very slow broadband speeds. I have since received the hub and given a date 6th of this month when I should make the change over.

    1. Avatar Dean says:

      Hows your speed now

  7. Avatar caroline says:

    Been using the new light service since 26 September . Faster ? No . As reliable ? No. Constantly dropping of, buffering on tv iplayer etc. Not impressed. Didn’t ask for it and don’t like it .
    Why fix something that isn’t broke ? So annoying.

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