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ISP TalkTalk UK Closes “Obsolete” UFO Full Fibre Product in York

Monday, Oct 31st, 2022 (7:56 am) - Score 6,160

Customers on TalkTalk’s 944Mbps Ultra Fibre Optic (UFO) broadband service in the City of York, which is a full fibre (FTTP) network that was originally launched in 2015 as part of a partnership with Sky Broadband and Cityfibre (here), have been informed that the “trial” service is now “coming to an end” because its “equipment is obsolete“.

The customer notice itself states as follows (credits to Martin): “We’re getting in touch to let you know that your current Ultra Fibre Optic broadband service is coming to the end of its life. This is happening because Ultra Fibre Optic was one of the first trials of full fibre broadband in the UK, and some of the equipment is becoming obsolete and needs to be replaced.”

The announcement mentions that TalkTalk are “in the final stages of launching our latest full fibre broadband service to your area“, which will offer average download speeds of 944Mbps and bundle their latest Amazon eero Pro 6 router. This is expected to be available sometime in November 2022, but at the time of writing, the ISP has not said how much the new package will cost or provided any details about the contract terms etc.

The original package also offered speeds of 900Mbps+, albeit for the incredibly cheap price of just £21.70 per month (more recently it’s become £27 – £28.50). Suffice to say, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if TalkTalk’s replacement package costs more than that, not least because their current 944Mbps plan is £49 per month for 24-months on Openreach’s FTTP network and £36 on Cityfibre’s. Both packages also promote upload speeds of 109-112Mbps.

Furthermore, we think it’s highly likely that the provider’s engineers may also need to replace the old Optical Network Terminal (ONT) in homes.

Why the change?

In order to understand why this is happening now, it helps to understand the history of TalkTalk’s deployment in York. Over time, the original partnership between TalkTalk, Sky Broadband and Cityfibre gave way to a TalkTalk dominated project under their FibreNation brand, which expanded into more areas. But in 2020 Cityfibre purchased FibreNation from TalkTalk for £206m and reached a favourable wholesale agreement with the ISP (here).

Since then, Cityfibre has had to replace some of the old Huawei kit in York with their own (here) and, only a few months ago, they also chose York to support their first city-wide deployment of 10Gbps capable XGS-PON based full fibre technology (here).

Back in July we were informed that the successful XGS-PON pilot would enable Cityfibre to work with its ISP partners to “upgrade end-customer ONTs in phases going forward, thereby minimising any network upgrade related service experience impacts“. So, given that the old ONT kit in homes is now 7 years old and at a reasonable end-of-life, then it makes sense to conduct all this as part of a broader package change.

Admittedly, TalkTalk does now face more competition from gigabit-capable broadband networks in York, with Virgin Media covering the majority of the city and Openreach having a modest coverage. But we suspect that TalkTalk won’t be expecting to lose too many customers to their rivals during the product change, even if the new package does cost more, since it will probably still end up being a fair bit cheaper than the alternatives.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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19 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Laurence 'GreenReaper' Parry says:

    Unfortunate for UFO customers, but they’re hardly the only ones to find their price point will be obsolete and out of this world in 2023.

    1. Avatar photo Yorkiebar says:

      I’ll report back as to what they offer me next month. Although I’m still contracted to July 23 it will be interesting to see what the plan is.

    2. Avatar photo Daxxa says:

      Further email from TT, “first option stay on existing service £36 per month you’ll then be out of contract with maximum fleixbility to upgrade with us any time you like” No mention of speed or call charges or if it is via optic cable?
      Second option ” Move onto a new matching UFO contract £36 per month 18 month contract, average speeds 900 MB/s” no mention of landline call options.
      I phoned the tel number given, no help or advice available they suggested I call back after the 8th Nov?
      I can see this being a complicated and dissjointed operation.

    3. Avatar photo Badem says:

      to be fair, you can’t stay on the UFO product via the Huawei kit since thats all got to be removed to comply with OFCOM and Govt rules…
      Best bet is to see which ISPs offer FTTP to you now and take it. quick visit to update the ONT and you are good to go (unless its via Openreach FTTP)

    4. Avatar photo cogency says:

      Anyone have any updates? I had a couple of emails last year saying it would finish ‘soon’. Got a letter re out of contract today, but think it is a standard sales fishing letter rather than specific UFO. We signed up at the start, and have never resigned, they have only imposed 1 price increase in that time so only on 23.20. Am hoping it continues for as long as possible!

    5. Avatar photo DC says:

      Re: Cogency
      I was in the same situation as you – recently received an e-mail stating an end to my existing service at the beginning of April-23.
      Their new offer to me is their full fibre 900 plan at £39.95 per month for an 18 month plan but first three months are free (so works out at just over £33 per month over the contract term).
      I know a few people down our street who were also early adopters of UFO but none have received the same email stating the service is being withdrawn.

    6. Avatar photo Mike says:

      We are now informed that the new talk talk price is £39.95 for 18 months but will increase inline with the retail price index plus 3% .
      But even if it is slightly more we get 3 month free as an added bonus so we are only paying for 15months.
      Not impressed with their behaviour last year they gave me an offer I accepted it . They then conveniently removed the contract & hiked my bill to £36 they refused point blank to honour the offer saying they never offered it after trying to resolve the issue 8 months later I just gave up then they announced that the equipment was obsolete. Hang on your charging me more for something that obsolete what a joke .
      UFO will cease on 28th may 2023

  2. Avatar photo Daxxa says:

    I,ve just had the same message, contract ends beginning of December 22, I’ve been with them since the UFO service in York first started, I can’t fault the sevice brillant speeds started at 21.70 and now 28.50 and this includes landline calls so excellent value. It will be intresting to see what options they offer, It maybe a move back to copper wires.

    1. Avatar photo Yorkiebar says:

      Oh we won’t be going back to copper cables like Sky did a few years ago. The in home equipment will get replaced and moved over to another deal with TT. I’ll take an educated guess at £36 to keep us sweet and on net. Voda are offering me the same for £32 so I’ll see what happens next month.

    2. Avatar photo Alex A says:

      The fibre infrastructure is being transferred to CityFibre who are upgrading the equipment each end to XGS PON. Id expect TalkTalk to require an engineer visit to switch the ONT when you re contract at some point.

    3. Avatar photo Anon says:

      @Alex A – The transfer happened back in 2020. City fibre have already complete the head end XGS PON work.


    4. Avatar photo Badem says:

      good point about this though, via Cityfibre you now have access to more ISPs for your FTTP offering, hence why TT have scrapped their UFO as that Huawei kit they installed has all got to be removed…

  3. Avatar photo daxxa says:

    Wonder if the new CityFibre system will include a landline option with the new broadband connection?

    1. Avatar photo Badem says:

      It’s not City Fibre systems causing the issue, it’s the ISP not wanting to invest in VoIP to carry the voice traffic, or in TalkTalks case, planning the VoIP via there V2 HUBs then switching these to EERO but still not having VOIP capabilities fully enabled on their networks.

  4. Avatar photo Matthew cooper says:

    Poor customer service from talktalk, never told me it was a trial, neither was it printed in any document received from them.

    1. Avatar photo Badem says:

      Thats because it wasn’t
      Given they were selling the UFO product in 3 locations (York, Dewsbury and Hollins Green) it’s clear it was a fully fledge product.

      Now it’s with CityFibre we can see if the network cover will be expanded, after all a lot of money way spent on it, plus side is you are no longer tied to TalkTalk for FTTP in York, you can take Vodaphone as well and no doubt more providers will come on board soon to replace SKY leaving UFO.

  5. Avatar photo Daxxa says:

    Thanks for mentioning the VoIP issue which I wasn’t aware of or even understood.
    In my situation I really need broadband with a phone line connection, I presume the UFO with TT I’m on now is VoIP? I can’t seem to get conformation from TT that a phone connection will be available to me, which Badem kindly explains in the post above.
    They say that the full options will be avilable on the 8th so should know in a few days.
    Odly when I enter my postcode into alternatives like Vodafone and others it doesn’t give full fibre options.

  6. Avatar photo Mike wilcox says:

    I m with talk talk in February I was sent a offer for the next 18 months of 27.50 I accepted it they then lost my email & Told me they where no longer offering any deal & stuck my Bill up to the £36 full price . But they’re saying the equipment is obsolete. So I’m paying for a sub standard product There customer service is disgraceful to say the least

  7. Avatar photo Toodie says:

    Have read article regarding York. Have FTTP ultra fibre for several years. On November 2 lost my landline service from TalkTalk. Have been through all their help services numerous including a written letter. “Don’t ring us, we will contact you”. None of my neighbours with TalkTalk have any problems with their landline. Apparently Fault has been sent out to a third party to rectify and been escalated several times. It is now coming up to five weeks. I have explained several times that the landline is essential to contact my 96yo mother abroad. Contacted City Fibre but they don’t deal with the phone. What else can I do except sit and wait (and apologise for my lack of contact).

Comments are closed

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