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TalkTalk to Extend 940Mbps FTTH Broadband in York to 40000 Premises

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 (12:01 pm) - Score 3,717

After leaving us in suspense TalkTalk and Cityfibre have today confirmed that their joint 940Mbps Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband trial in the city of York (England) will be extended from 14,000 premises passed today to another 40,000 over the next 2 years; supported by a new investment of £20m.

Cityfibre confirmed last month that their initial “Ultra Fibre Optic” trial with Sky Broadband and TalkTalk in the city had finally “completed” (14,000 premises passed) and “achieved all target objectives in terms of penetration and deployment costs” (here). So far the network has managed to attract 2,400 customers and climbing (17.5% take-up).

Similarly TalkTalk confirmed that its build costs for the network had been established at below £500 per home passed (this doesn’t include the final home install) and they claimed to be “increasingly confident of reaching our targeted penetration rate of 30%‐40% and delivering the proof of concept required to expand beyond York.”

However the completion figure of 14,000 was below the originally predicted 20,000 aspiration for phase one and a big question mark remained over the future of the network, not least with Sky Broadband’s boss (Jeremy Darroch) appearing to publicly back away from a strategy of building their own fibre optic networks (here).

The good news is that TalkTalk has today confirmed that the network will be expanded to reach an extra 40,000 premises, which they say will cover the “vast majority of the city’s premises” (strictly speaking York is home to around 80,000 premises). As part of this they will acquire Sky’s equity in the venture, with Sky becoming a long-term wholesale customer.

Richard Sinclair, General Manager of Ultrafast for TalkTalk, said:

“We are very pleased with the success of UFO in York so far. Our customers are amazed at what they can do with their ultrafast connections – streaming HD TV without buffering, playing games in real time with people on the other side of the world, or simply enabling every member of the family to be online at the same time. We’re very excited to be extending our roll out – York is well on its way to achieving its ambition of becoming the digital capital of the north.”

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

“CityFibre sits at the centre of pure fibre investment across the UK, with dense local access fibre networks in 40 UK towns and cities. The expansion of the York trial validates our commitment to bring ultrafast broadband to both communities and businesses. What we have delivered in partnership with Sky and TalkTalk has been truly ground breaking, leveraging our existing assets to deliver a state of the art fibre-to-the-premises network built efficiently and without the involvement of Openreach.”

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital, said:

“The future is fibre and TalkTalk’s extension of its rollout of full fibre gigabit speeds in York is exactly the kind of thing we want to see industry delivering across the UK. We are working to support full fibre roll out by removing barriers and putting the right incentives in place to help cement our role as a digital leader and get the very best broadband to families and business.”

Completion of the extended roll-out is expected to cost approximately £20 million during TalkTalk’s financial year ending March 2018 and will be funded by TalkTalk, with CityFibre continuing as a shareholder. The new deployment itself is expected to commence during Spring 2017.

On top of that TalkTalk’s CEO, Dido Harding, continues to push an aspiration for delivering FTTP to 10 million homes across the United Kingdom by 2025 (this is urban centric, so hard luck if you live in a rural area), although in order to stand any chance of doing that they’d need to attract a lot more investment or hope for Openreach (BT) to be doing more fibre optic lines in the future than currently planned (at present BTOR aim to deliver 2 million FTTP premises by 2020).

At present TalkTalk’s unlimited 900Mbps+ FTTP package costs just £21.70 per month for the entire service on an 18 month contract, which includes a wireless router, free mobile SIM and various other features. However that doesn’t leave much room for making and profit and reinvestment to improve the service.

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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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36 Responses
  1. DTMark says:

    York seems to be a hotbed of activity these days.

    Isn’t it amazing what the introduction of competition can accomplish.

  2. NGA for all says:

    That £500 reference point including the final home install is good to see.

    If a subsidy of £25,000 is paid to BT for passing 200 premise, and connecting 60, the unit cost per connected customer is not that different

    1. Ignition says:

      It didn’t include cost of the drop.

    2. FibreFred says:

      Indeed which is the expensive bit

      Still no reveal on sign ups?

    3. FibreFred says:

      Arr missed it, it’s in the article , poor considering the give away price

    4. Ignition says:

      Given they only finished the build last month take up is fine.

      The costs are reasonable. Sadly most companies don’t have ducts and poles already in situ so have civils to do

    5. MikeW says:

      Maths gone wrong again?

      Passing 200 homes would be £100,000. The final drop for connecting 60 would be another £10,000 perhaps. That’s 4x – 5x the £25,000 subsidy you mention (never mind the actual cost of FTTC).

      But is a £25,000 BDUK subsidy a fair assessment for the kind of premises being covered in York? Are these going to be at the cheaper end of the average? Is 200 premises a representative number for this kind of suburb?

      When York left the SFNY partnership after phase 1, it was painfully obvious that upgrading homes in York was considerably cheaper than the more-rural county of North Yorkshire. Less than half the subsidy, IIRC.

      Certainly some of the TT York coverage area is covered by BDUK, but a good proportion is non-BDUK too. The Clifton exchange seems to be entirely BDUK subsidised, but averages 300 homes per upgraded cab (5 cabs averaging 450 premises; 3 cabs each less than 100). The Rawcliffe parts of the York exchange aren’t subsidised.

      The 2008 estimates were for roughly £500 per home passed for suburban areas like York; the oft-mentioned factor for FTTP is a 4x-5x increment over FTTC costs.

      IMO, this project seems to suggest those old figures aren’t entirely unrealistic. Comparisons with small BDUK areas probably are unrealistic. A conclusion of “not that different” seems to be entirely wrong.

    6. NGA for all says:

      Mike W – Not entirely wrong, but your views on FTTC cab cost in York would be interesting and provide a fair comparison. The cab is cheap, power can be a pain but this ought to drive planners towards more FTTP.

      It is not unhealthy to examine the boundaries and amount of FTTP BT is delivering in very rural will increase and get cheaper as you get better at it.

      If the total average cost of FTTC as you allege is higher, then it tips the balance back towards more FTTP connections, knowing second pass final drops would will cheaper still

      You referenced £500 per home passed, the article says it FTTP is £500 per home connected, so the 2008/9 is in bad need of a re-write.

    7. Ignition says:

      NGA there is a fair difference between the numbers mentioned.

      When you equate 25k with 100k it’s not a huge shock when people struggle to take you seriously.

    8. NGA for all says:

      Igniton £100k? explain – Are thinking of ex CEO Openreach view of a cabinet cost?

  3. NGA for all says:

    Fibre-Fred – we need a Telephony sunset date perhaps 15 years, and this is a reasonable start, BT’s base was 20% in 2? years!

    1. FibreFred says:

      It might be a start and finish nga.

      Even if they decide to continue (not sure how at these prices and sky jacking it in) it would take forever at these roll out rates.

  4. Data Analysis says:

    Take up of 17.5% is very good considering they only finish around 2 months ago. Some areas of FTTC took years to reach that level. It is even more impressive when you consider all the competition in that region of the country.

    Sky becoming a wholesale customer rather than direct investor is also a smart move IMO. Cheaper for them and exactly how some that resell cityfibres product have been so successful.

    Also clever from a marketing point, acording to Ofcom data the average joe does not want a Talk Talk service after the hacking and many customers of TT complain about them, but people seem happy with Sky branded products. Smart of them to sell it under a Sky branding but have TT as an invstor in the network.

    1. asylum_seeker says:

      So perhaps you’d like to explain why TT still have > 4 million customers if they were that bad? I’ll give you a hint: think why the Orange LLU network went bust a few years ago…

    2. FibreFred says:

      Smart move for sky sure they have pulled out for a reason. Not smart for the project as a whole as talk talk have lost half their investment fund’s. Bearing in mind talktalk have little to invest in the first place.

    3. Gordon says:

      “So perhaps you’d like to explain why TT still have > 4 million customers if they were that bad?”
      They dont…
      http://www.ispreview.co.uk/review/top10.php thats < 4 million.
      and yes they are that bad, hence the £400,000 fine and the countless ofcom complaints. Would you like links to those also?

    4. asylum_seeker says:

      Ok so they have have just under 4 million customers. But I ask again, why are those 3,987,000 customers still with them if they are that bad? Are you aware that an ISPs customers WILL them in droves if their network performance is really bad? Orange LLU being a good example a few years ago hence why they decided to scrap their network altogether. TalkTalk, for all their faults, operate a damn good network and it says a lot when the likes of AAISP prefer to use their backhaul rather than BT wholesale for connections where a choice exists.

    5. DTMark says:

      “why are those 3,987,000 customers still with them if they are that bad?”

      I recall spending some time on the Money Saving Expert forum.

      So many threads about Talk Talk and BT started with something along the lines of

      “I know they’re rubbish, but, it was cheap..”

    6. asylum_seeker says:

      Only thing letting down TalkTalk & BT residential services are their offshore support centres which is to be expected given the bargain basement prices they charge. This is what happens TalkTalk provide decent 100% UK based support on their Business arm, with ironically many of their Warrington staff being ex-Zen broadband employees:

    7. Data Analysis says:

      “But I ask again, why are those 3,987,000 customers still with them if they are that bad?”

      Why have so many left if they are that good surely would be a better question.

      From this…
      to this…

      In about a year. No other Isp has lost well over a quarter of a million subs in a year.

      They are officially the smallest of the 4 big players in the UK, they never used to be.

      If you think being the smallest compared to your real competition is not an issue and losing over a quarter of a million customers in a year is of no real consequence then i can only suggest you never run a business.

      Carry on at that rate and inside 5 years the company will be dead and unsustainable.

    8. Gordon says:

      Ok so they have have just under 4 million customers. But I ask again…….”

      You can ask whatever you like but as you did not know the correct customer numbers in the firs place you have already shown you have no idea what you are on about.

    9. asylum_seeker says:

      So i was out by 13,000 customers..whoopeee doo. Obviously you’ve never got anything wrong in life so that must make you a very special person, so go on give yourself a pat on the back you deserve it.

      The point I was trying to make (albeit not very well) was that an ISPs network performance is far more important than its customer support, hence why punters left Orange LLU en masse a few years ago when their network was atrocious. So while TalkTalk (and BT) don’t exactly have AAISP-esque level of phone support which isn’t surprising given their prices, their network performance is certainly not poor on the whole hence why they still have millions of customers. TalkTalk Business & BT Business on the other hand charge more but also have UK support and the reviews speak for themselves:

    10. Evan Crissall says:


      Waste not your time on them! They’re just pro-BT trolls. Ten a penny. Very likely paid to clutter this forum with anti-TalkTalk clap.

    11. Data Analysis says:

      So i was out by 13,000 customers..whoopeee doo.”

      No you were out by 296,000…

      “From this…
      to this…

      In about a year.”

      4,283,000 – 3,987,000 = 296,000

      You keep trying with figures though its entertaining if nothing else.

    12. Data Analysis says:

      “So while TalkTalk (and BT) don’t exactly have AAISP-esque level of phone support which isn’t surprising given their prices, their network performance is certainly not poor on the whole hence why they still have millions of customers.”

      And as i said back here…

      “If you think being the smallest compared to your real competition is not an issue and losing over a quarter of a million customers in a year is of no real consequence then i can only suggest you never run a business.”

      If bigger is better or customer numbers are higher the better then using your logic BT, 9,193,000, Sky 5,964,000 and Virgin 4,808,000 are all better than Talk Talk so you best run along and praise them over Talk Talk.

    13. Gordon says:

      So i was out by 13,000 customers..whoopeee doo………”

      Nope you claimed they had “> 4 million customers” IE more than.

      Try again!

  5. GNewton says:

    @NGA for all: With £500 per premise passed it begs the question why the normal estimates of FTTP are so much higher. Some think that a nationwide fibre-rollout would cost at least £25 Billion. So how are they able to do fibre at a much lower cost in York? OK, maybe its a densely populated area, but it’s still lower than many other estimates, even for urban areas, I have read about.

    1. Perhaps because the latest studies suggest around the £500 mark for urban FTTP and still ends up at around the £25b to £30bn mark for all premises because costs increase as you move into suburban and rural areas.

      Its not the cost of kit that is the issue, its the labour costs involved that make the biggest difference between different EU countries.

    2. GNewton says:

      Yes, I am aware of higher rural costs. Having said that, in the UK, even small towns are mainly dense clusters of premises. And in the case of rural areas, the telecom poles are already there, hence why Ofcom’s proposal of a better PIA makes sense here.

    3. Gadget says:

      There are two areas that generate costs, a high capacity Backhaul, and the volume of individual premises drops where costs cannot be shared. Perhaps that is why a lot of FTTP builds stop at the”box at the end of the street” and leave the premises connection to the end-user.

    4. DTMark says:

      It depends on which figures you quote, which depends on the point that you want to make, which in turn depends on who you want to manipulate.

      BT is keen to quote “installed to the premises” figures despite the fact that no operator would actually connect every property en-masse as they ducted the network; cable certainly doesn’t assume that, and also to suggest that it would cost BT the same as an operator starting from scratch with nothing by comparing with same.

    5. Gadget says:

      Looks like another Fibre provider has hit the pause button http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37775602

      “Google is to scale back the expansion of its fibre broadband network, which it was rolling out to bring high-speed internet access to some US cities.

      In a blog post, Google Fiber chief executive Craig Barratt announced he was stepping down and said development in many cities would be “paused”.

      However, installation will continue in cities where work has already started.

      One analyst suggested Google would explore less expensive ways to roll out broadband access.

      “Installation was far too time consuming and expensive,” said Kamalini Ganguly, senior analyst at the Ovum consultancy.” courtesy of the BBC website

    6. FibreFred says:

      Not just any fibre provider one of the most well known and certainly the one with the deepest pockets.

      It won’t change some people’s minds tho, happy to ignore fact when their own fiction is more appealing

    7. DTMark says:

      Are we back to comparing the cost of a greenfield roll-out from scratch with a BT roll-out again?

    8. FibreFred says:

      No, as Google fibre use existing utility poles for their fibre

  6. brianv says:

    Not a useful comparison. Google (now Alphabet Inc.) is not primarily a fibre provider. Alphabet comprises largely Google, provider of web-based products, and the Android mobile operating system. Google Fiber is a relatively small subsidiary with just 450,000 subscribers across the entire USA.

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