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TalkTalk’s UK ISP FibreNation FTTH Rollout Partners Makehappen

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 (10:45 am) - Score 2,683
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The FibreNation project, which was setup last year by budget ISP TalkTalk and aspires to rollout a 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network to 3 million UK premises, has today signed a “multi-million pound” partnership with civil engineering firm Makehappen Group to help support its “UK-wide” deployment.

At present TalkTalk’s only foray into the world of 1Gbps FTTH ultrafast broadband networks has been their deployment in York, which stared out as a joint project with Sky Broadband (Sky remain a wholesale partner) and Cityfibre but is now being conducted independently. At the last count in March 2019 they’d covered 33,000 premises in the city and aim to reach 55,000 by 2020 (here and here).

Last year they announced the launch of a new FibreNation (subsidiary of TalkTalk) programme, which had originally planned to work with Infracapital on a £1.5bn investment to cover 3 million UK premises with a new wholly owned full fibre wholesale network. Unfortunately the Infracapital deal failed to materialise after a disagreement (here) and as such they’re still trying to find investors.

In the meantime they’ve already proposed to start work on a downgraded deployment, which would initially aim to rollout FTTH to cover up to 60,000 premises in three towns and cities: Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon (rises to 100,000+ premises when York is included). Today’s deal with the Makehappen Group means that the actual build phase in the three new areas should now be imminent.

We should point out that the Makehappen Group is quite a new name in this industry because it follows the joint acquisition of telecoms solutions provider, Future Network Solutions, as well as traffic management and utility company, 2 Works, and specialised vehicle hire company, 2 Rent, to forge Makehappen Group Ltd.

Paul Crane, Head of Rollout at FibreNation, said:

“The partnership between FibreNation and Makehappen is behind the UK’s first gigabit city in York creating the most extensive city-wide fibre infrastructure currently available in the country.

Full fibre is more than just a quick internet connection; it connects us to our community and how we run our lives day to day. It encourages business growth and builds a stronger, smarter society and we must embrace it now to future proof our economy and take advantage of all the opportunities a fibre-connected future can provide.

I am both excited and confident that our partnership will continue to increase the quality of connectivity across the UK.”

Chris Hart, CEO of Makehappen Group Ltd., said:

“Makehappen is proud to have formed a venture to partner with FibreNation to help roll out a network to a further three million homes and businesses around the UK.

During this time, we will continue to innovate whilst building teams of people who are trained, empowered, curious, innovative and forever striving for improvement. We firmly believe the best partnerships don’t just happen, they Makehappen.”

As part of all this the Makehappen Group claims to have developed “processes and systems that enables them to build faster, safer networks, with less disruption to residents and business owners,” although we’ve heard similar statements from other civil engineering companies at one time or another.

Perhaps one of the reasons why they might be claiming to have a faster build rate is because the company recently purchased four new 2019 model Marais SC4P remote controlled narrow trenching machines (partly pictured above). We aren’t sure how these compare with similar machines from rivals but they have the ability to trench to a depth of 350mm and are fitted with GPS technology for precise location and depth.

Hopefully we should get news on the build work starting in Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon soon. It was supposed to start this summer but before too long we’ll be into autumn.

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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.
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