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Freedom Fibre Set to Connect First TalkTalk Homes in Cheshire

Monday, August 9th, 2021 (10:52 am) - Score 2,280
Freedom Fibre Van and Engineer in Cherry Picker Box

Alternative network provider Freedom Fibre (FF), which since earlier this year has been busy building a new 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network across semi-rural parts of Cheshire (England), appears imminently set to go live with their first customers (on TalkTalk) in the village of Culcheth.

At present the provider, which was first spotted working with TalkTalk earlier this year (here and here), are aiming to deploy their new “full fibre” network to 100,000 properties in the North West of England by the end of 2022.

NOTE: Freedom Fibre are using 10 Gigabit PON kit from DZS to build their network.

The first large village to benefit will be Culcheth (work on this began in March 2021), although they’ve since confirmed that the adjacent Warrington communities of Croft and Glazebury will also form part of their initial rollout plan. On top of that, we’ve just spotted their engineers in the nearby community of Winwick.

Interestingly, the local works on One.Network are often attributed to TT, rather than FF (FF are building the new network, before offering it via wholesale to UK ISPs like TT). On this point we note that the operator was also setup by Neil Mcarthur (CEO), who previously held senior roles at TalkTalk and their sibling FibreNation project, before CityFibre gobbled the latter up last year.

Freedom-Fibre-Rollout-Map

A clear timetable for this build has not previously been published, although TalkTalk’s FAQ page states that their “trial” in Culcheth was originally due to “start connecting customers in late spring” (here), and they’ve obviously missed that window. It also seems to be at least partly funded by Rural Gigabit Vouchers from the government.

By the looks of it, FF are running some of their new fibre via Openreach’s existing cable ducts and poles in the area (Physical Infrastructure Access), which is interesting because Openreach also seem to be very busy deploying their own rival FTTP broadband network in much of the same area (this might make it difficult for FF to part-fund their build with vouchers).

We expect FF’s new network in Culcheth to go live imminently, probably around by the end of this month. TalkTalk are offering a 500Mbps package on the new network, which appears designed to match the tier that they already offer via Openreach and CityFibre in other parts of the UK.

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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.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Jonesey says:

    It does look like OR are well into work in progress at Culcheth Padgate.
    https://api.superfastmaps.co.uk/fibrecities/1.0/?city=Culcheth+Padgate
    My exchange (LVHOO) has been stuck at “Due to start in the next 3 months” for nearly 6 months!

    1. Badem says:

      Interestingly the other exchange feeding the town (LVELL) has a GPON installed and FTPT connected to it for some of the new builds in the town but other that that I can see not much work going on to install FTTP cabinets in the town for fibre to be run from.

  2. Jonesey says:

    There has been a lot of new build in LVELL exchange area recently which AFAIK get FTTP straight away which makes sense. Are cabinets installed for FTTP, I though as a passive network (GPON) there would be no requirement for cabinets and all the distribution nodes would be underground.

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