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Sky Broadband Likely to Launch Openreach FTTP Plans in H2 2019

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 (12:01 am) - Score 20,562

The wait for ISP Sky Broadband to launch a new UK range of “ultrafast broadband” packages using Openreach’s network may soon be over. Several credible sources have indicated to us that their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based packages will go live in the second half of 2019 and December seems most likely.

All of this follows last year’s report of a new wholesale agreement between Openreach and Sky (here), which appeared to cover both the operator’s “full fibreFTTP and “hybrid fibreG.fast products. Crucially this is not to be confused with Sky’s prior trial FTTH deployments, including their work alongside TalkTalk in the city of York, which were separate networks.

Since then several sources have indicated to us that Sky’s G.fast based packages might be the first to go live later this spring 2019, with FTTP set the follow at a later date, although this is all very tentative and until now we’ve had no luck getting a more solid launch window for the FTTP side of things.

Similarly Sky’s recent move to court alternative FTTP network providers (here), as well as the possibility of a further reduction in Openreach’s planned G.fast roll-out (here), has made us wonder whether the hybrid fibre solution is still part of Sky’s “ultrafast” plan or if they might delay it. Sadly we don’t have an answer for that, but four different sources have all now told us that FTTP is still go for H2 2019.

Most of those sources have been correct on prior product launches. In addition, one of Openreach’s recent speeches appeared to confirm Sky Broadband as an FTTP network partner “from December 2019.” Officially Sky are still in no comment mode and it’s worth considering that we don’t yet know if these launch windows are based on financial or calendar dates, but we believe they’re calendar orientated.

On top of this we’re still expecting Sky to launch a new broadband router (Sky Q Hub 2?) at around the same time as their new ultrafast packages go live, although so far we’ve not been able to find anybody who has been given one of those to test.

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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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27 Responses
  1. CarlT says:

    Might see if there’s a trial running when we go FTTP-only in September.

    Thanks, Mark!

  2. Neb says:

    Anything on prices yet?

  3. Si says:

    Any indication of speed

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      You can pretty much bank on them adopting the 160Mbps and 330Mbps G.fast / FTTP tiers (usually marketed with slower average speeds), which would be in keeping with other providers like BT and TalkTalk. I doubt they’d offer the 500Mbps or 1Gbps FTTP tiers as those are much more expensive and aimed at smaller business users.

  4. dee.jay says:

    I assume this still relies on FTTP actually being available to the property that wishes to consume the service? Ultimately while this is great news for those who can actually get FTTP – one assumes that this means the vast majority with “only” FTTC are still in for a long wait to get faster speeds.

    1. Joe says:

      Obviously 🙂 They can’t but use what is there.

  5. Joe says:

    Good news (and about time!)

    Sky will push fibre harder than BT do so should be a boost for take up rates and help the lack of real fttp price competition atm.

    Sounds like the fttp/hub will be a Xmas package/offer

  6. James says:

    Good, may have some decent competition and lower prices by the time my BT FTTP is due for renewal.

    I don’t see why they are all dragging their feet, aren’t they literally just reselling the BT wholesale service and not installing their own equipment in exchanges like they do with standard connections

    1. Joe says:

      I assume it was just too niche for them when they had so much focus on their LLU.

  7. AnotherTim says:

    Good news for anyone that can get FTTP as the extra competition will likely push retail prices down. Bad news for anyone waiting for FTTP as lower retail prices will reduce margins and make investing in new networks less attractive.

    1. Joe says:

      Not sure that is true really. The cost of fttp deployment is also dropping (greatly compared to what it was x years back) And we’re talking long term investments anyway so marginal costs are not so great an issue.

  8. Moss says:

    I’m considering rejoinging sky, as soon as they get their ultrafast broadband FTTP stuff up and running, also ready for people like me who use the internet for work and entertainment lol. Either way this great news, Sky is dipping in and competing

  9. Barney says:

    I do wonder what the upgradability/scalability is of BT FTTP and their 330/30 service. In say 5/10 years time would it be a process of replacing all equipment in the exchanges and aggregation nodes to cope with faster speeds, or would it be as simple as cranking up the dial?

    1. CarlT says:

      The aggregation nodes have no active equipment in them.

      Offering more than 330/50 already happens in Huawei areas and going forward just needs new line cards for the foreseeable. In ECI areas it requires new exchange kit.

    2. Joe says:

      As Carl says you can already get 1000/220 on Huawei (as long as it has the 10 backhaul) Nothing really stopping them turning the wick up – obviously hardware/backhaul limits apply but they are not difficult to solve.

    3. Craig says:

      BT Wholesale aren’t selling anything above 330/50 on FTTP at present even if the DSL checker shows 1000/220. At present speeds of half gig and above are only available on ISPs using non-BTW backhaul such as Spectrum or Syscomm. When BTW actually start selling it to CPs is anyones guess….

    4. CarlT says:

      Craig – Wholesale do sell them. They’re on their price list. No-one buys them as the prices are insane.

      EU Data Only Rental

      Standard EU Rental (FTTP 330Mbps Downstream, 50Mbps Upstream) 12 Months 01/01/2018 Month £35.00
      Standard EU Rental – FTTP 500Mbps Downstream, 165Mbps Upstream 12 Months 01/06/2018 Month £90.00
      Standard EU Rental – FTTP 1000Mbps Downstream, 220Mbps Upstream 12 Months 01/06/2018 Month £135.00

  10. Paul says:

    About time we started to see some uptake on the FTTP wholesale products – I’m staggered that so few operators make use of the Openreach FTTP products given that a significant proportion of new build properties have it installed by default now.

    I’ll not hold my breath for reasonable pricing though.

    1. CarlT says:

      One person’s ‘reasonable’ is another’s expensive. The price of 500 and 1000 is pretty crazy, though.

    2. Steve says:

      “The price of 500 and 1000 is pretty crazy, though.”

      Not always. Spectrum Internet offer Openreach based FTTP 500/165 & 1000/500 for £99pm and £159pm respectively, I wouldn’t call those prices crazy. However once the traffic hits the exchange Spectrum bypass BT Wholesale and use their own LLU backhaul hence their limited availability. Whether the same speed packages on BTW based tails (once available) will be available at similar prices remains to be seen.

    3. CarlT says:

      I would. Compare to our peers internationally in terms of purchasing power parity and to Vodafone, Hyperoptic and others domestically.

  11. TheFacts says:

    Part of the scheme to not need satellite dishes.

  12. Nope i dont work for sky says:

    Hi have it on good authority that training is already rolling out internally with sky service reps. Gfast 160/330 and FTTP way my contact was advising was it be in the next month or so

    1. Mark says:

      I’ve been speaking with a few people from Sky (sales and broadband tech support) who told me they already have it themselves to test it. But they didn’t have a date for it going public yet

  13. Skyguysfriend says:

    I have a friend who works in sky and can confirm g fast is coming and expected for June, fttp I’ve got no update fornjit I’ll find out soon.

  14. Keith says:

    When are we likely to see/hear anything about this development?

  15. liam atherton says:

    This is great news.. so instead of fibre to exchange then copper to house.. its full fibre? Ive been with virginmedia all the way back too telewest broadband.. I remember having 1mb download and getting around 20-30 ping on FPS games online. I Currently have 50mb virgin media and still get around 20-30ping.. so would the full fibre lower my latency?

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