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ISP TalkTalk Grows to 4.22 Million UK Broadband Subscribers

Tuesday, Jul 17th, 2018 (7:49 am) - Score 1,533

UK ISP TalkTalk has published a short trading update for the three months to 30th June 2018 (Q1 FY19), which finally gives us a solid figure for their broadband subscriber base of 4,219,000 and that’s because it grew by +80,000 net adds in the quarter (Q1 FY18: +20k, Q4 FY18: +109k). There’s also a small update on FTTH in York.

The provider doesn’t usually reveal much about their broadband growth as part of smaller quarterly trading updates but it’s a different story when the news is good (standard practice is for companies to try and hide figures when they aren’t so good). Admittedly the latest growth does reflect a fall from the previous quarterly surge of +109k (net adds), but the Spring quarter is often slower due to holidays and the seasonal movement of students.

We should point out that the aforementioned figure of 4.219m reflects their on-net broadband base, while TalkTalk’s closing off-net base amounted to 39k at the end of Q1 FY19 (Q1 FY18: 57k), which represents less than 1% of the total broadband base. At present we generally only track their on-net base because TalkTalk don’t always provide us with any figures for off-net.

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Tristia Harrison, CEO of TalkTalk, said:

“We are pleased to have delivered strong customer and Headline revenue growth in the first quarter and we remain firmly on track to deliver at least 150,000 net adds this financial year.

After resetting the business last year, we are now a much simpler, lower-cost business. As our strategy to be the UK’s leading value provider of fixed connectivity continues to deliver, we are on course to report Headline revenue growth, stable ARPU and a 15% year-on-year increase in Headline EBITDA. Alongside the core business we continue to make good progress on our plans for full fibre (FTTP).”

The bad news is that the ISP still hasn’t revealed any further details about their proposal to rollout a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) network to 3 million UK premises, which is supported by an investment £1.5bn (here). This requires them to establish a new company (Infraco), which will be 20% owned by TalkTalk and 80% by Infracapital; the latter will contribute £400m and TalkTalk £100m (plus they will then take on c.£1bn in debt).

Outside of that TalkTalk’s only other real foray into the realm of “full fibre” home broadband has been via their separate FTTH/P network in the city of York, which is being built by Cityfibre. Sky Broadband also played a part during the initial deployment phase and they currently retain wholesale access to the network during its on-going extension.

Back in 2016 the ISP announced that they intended to extend their York deployment from 14,000 to 54,000 premises (here), although we’ve had very little solid information on time-scale or rollout progress since then. Today’s report does include an update but it’s vague: “We continue to make good progress towards our total commitment of 54,000 homes passed in our full fibre build out. Penetration of the initial 14,000 homes in York is now over 35%, of which the majority are TalkTalk customers and we are continuing to see outstanding customer advocacy scores.”

Misc. Highlights from TalkTalk’s Update

* Some 2.1m customers are now on their newer Fixed Low Price Plans (FLPP)

* Churn remains low at 1.28% for the quarter (FY18 average: 1.22%)

* “Fibre” (FTTC/P) services alone saw +67k net adds in the quarter (Q1 FY18: 72k), with 44% of new acquisition customers choosing to take their higher speed products.

* The TalkTalk Business Ethernet & EFM base added +1.9k new lines (Q1 FY18: 1.6k), taking the total installed base of data connections to 53,000.

* Headline revenue of £382m excluding carrier (£15m) and off-net (£3m)

Otherwise it’s probably far too early to know how popular TalkTalk’s new G.fast ultrafast broadband products have become and in any case this would be largely irrelevant until the coverage of that technology improves (it’s only recently passed the 1 million premises mark UK wide and will reach 10 million by the end of 2020).

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
1 Response
  1. Avatar photo Gordon Thomas says:

    How does one find out when rollout to the home is please? [DH8 7RL]. Thank you.

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