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TalkTalk Lose 9000 Broadband Subs as FTTH in York Covers 11000 Premises

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 (8:06 am) - Score 967

UK ISP TalkTalk has today issued a Q2 2016 (calendar) trading update, which confirms that they lost another 9,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter (est. total 3,987,000) and their joint 940Mbps FTTH network roll-out with Sky and Cityfibre in the City of York (England) has covered 11,000 premises.

As usual TalkTalk’s quarterly trading update is traditionally vague and only offers the minimum of information, but the ISP does at least confirm that their experimental roll-out of ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH/P) technology in York has made progress. But it’s still a long way from the original Phase One target of 20,000 premises passed (even that will still leave 60,000 yet to be done).

Apparently “nearly half” of the TalkTalk FTTH/P connections in York are from customers who were not previously with the ISP, which they claim is “driving a material increase in our market share in the area.” Meanwhile the ISP reaffirms that their build costs are established at below £500 per home passed (doesn’t include the final home install) and “we are increasingly confident of reaching our targeted penetration rate of 30%‐40% and delivering the proof of concept required to expand beyond York.”

Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk, said:

“We are very pleased with how the year has begun. Revenue growth was level year on year despite a smaller customer base and churn was down year on year as we drove growth in mobile and fibre, and delivered real improvements in our customers’ experience. As a result, we are reiterating all of the financial guidance we gave in May, with revenue expected to show modest growth and EBITDA to reach £320m-£360m.

We have continued to make good progress with our fibre to the premise trial in York. Nearly 11,000 homes have now been passed by the build, with total penetration circa 12% after just over three months. TalkTalk connections have been strong, with nearly half of those signing up new to TalkTalk and we are excited about the potential this demonstrates to build a scale network across the country in the future.”

TalkTalk has long held an aspiration to roll-out ultrafast FTTH/P broadband networks to cover 10 million UK premises and they still appear to be holding on to that goal, which is good to hear. On the other hand they’ll need to find a lot of extra investment to achieve such a roll-out, which will be harder now that Sky Broadband appears to have ruled out building their own fibre network (here).

Other Quarterly Highlights

* On‐net churn stable quarter on quarter at 1.36%.

* Revenues were flat year‐on‐year (‐0.4%). On‐net revenues were down 2.0% , reflecting the smaller average on‐net base in the quarter.

* The broadband base was 9,000 lower during the quarter, with Mobile net adds strong at 48,000 and Fibre [FTTC/H] net adds of 36,000. The TV base was 23,000 lower.

* Improved dynamic line management (DLM), backhaul upgrades, fault diagnostics and simpler billing are helping the ISP to make savings, with a goal to deliver £35‐£40m of savings by the end of the year.

* The ISP still plans to launch a 4G, national roaming and mobile services for businesses on their MVNO platform with O2 (Telefonica UK) in H2 Full Year 2017 (today’s trading update represents Q1 FY17), when they’ll also have commence migration from the current Vodafone MVNO platform.

* TalkTalk still expects their FY17 revenues to grow modestly over the full year, driven by a broadly stable broadband base and continued growth in TalkTalk Business; and Headline EBITDA of £320m‐£360m.

As usual we will have to wait for the ISP’s H1 results on 15th November 2016 in order to get a detailed report and summary of progress.

NOTE: Today’s trading update represents Q1 FY17 (financial), although we reference it as Q2 2016 (calendar) because it represents the 3 months to the end of June 2016 and most people are not familiar with the different “financial” calendars of each ISP.

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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.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Avatar FibreFred says:

    If it has taken this long (over 2yrs) to do 11,000 premises, how long to do 10 Million??????

    Will anyone be alive? 🙂

  2. Avatar MikeW says:

    At last report, they had passed 8,000 premises, and had 7% penetration – which would be approaching 600 homes.

    Three months later, they’ve passed nearly 11,000 premises, and have nearly 12% penetration – which would be just over 1,200 homes.

    That really isn’t a bad improvement in takeup. It merits analysis…

    Beyond offers, BT (with Infinity), like other ISPs offering FTTC and FTTP, do so as a premium price above the standard ADSL offering.

    TalkTalk are doing the opposite here. If you take their UFO product, it is cheaper than any of the ADSL or NGA-fibre offerings. For every existing customer migrating onto the new platform, they are reducing income: £3.50pm if they move from ADSL, £13.50pm if they move from “medium fibre” and £18.50pm if they move from “large fibre”. And TalkTalk are even stumping up the installation cost.

    Those prices look like a no-brainer to me. If you aren’t worried about external factors (such as TT’s reputation for service), you’d jump at it, wouldn’t you? If you were already a customer, there is no reason not to.

    So, BT-based fibre increases takeup at between 0.5% and 1% per month in spite of it being higher priced. TT-based UFO increases takeup at around 1% to 1.5% per month, but with a price drop being a potential cause.

    I wonder which factor plays more?

    How does TT fund the fibre deployment? They’re getting less income from half of the subscribers (partly offset by lower outgoings to Openreach). Is the income from the other half of the subscribers enough, after paying for their backhaul, to have money left over for Cityfibre?

    More maths needed here…

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Well if that is the case it isn’t viable obviously 🙂

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