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TalkTalk’s Wrongful FTTP Network Closure Warning Causes Confusion UPDATE

Saturday, May 20th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 7,584

Low-cost UK broadband ISP TalkTalk has apologised after customers in two rural villages outside Warrington, which are being served by their older UltraFibreOptic (UFO) based gigabit FTTP network on CityFibre’s platform, were mistakenly told that their service was due to be disconnected.

Firstly, a history lesson. Back in September 2020 we reported (here) that FibreNation, which had at the time only recently been acquired by CityFibre from TalkTalk, was piloting their first rural deployment of a gigabit speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network into the villages of Hollins Green and Rixton (Warrington). Locals were then connected via TalkTalk’s related UltraFibreOptic brand.

However, we revealed late last year that customers on the UFO product were notified that the “trial” service is now “coming to an end” because its “equipment is obsolete” (here), although a solid closure date was never set. At the time, this primarily only seemed to impact those in the city of York, although we note that customers in the aforementioned villages also received the same notification.

Residents of the two villages, who have been awaiting an update from TalkTalk since last year, were recently given an unwelcome surprise when they logged into the provider’s website to find a warning about the impending loss of their broadband and phone service (pictured – top). But upon contacting the stated phone number, none of the provider’s support agents seemed to know anything about it.

On top of that, locals who tried putting their address though TalkTalk and CityFibre’s availability checkers (i.e. to see if they could choose an alternative package or provider) found that neither system reported them as having any access to full fibre at all. At this point, ISPreview got involved and there’s some good news for worried and confused locals.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said:

“Customers in Hollins Green and Rixton with Ultra Fibre Optic (UFO) broadband may have seen a banner on our website, warning that their service is due to be disconnected. This banner was displayed by mistake and has now been removed – we apologise for any inconvenience. Customers in this exchange will continue to receive their usual service until further notice.”

The reality is that TalkTalk will, at some point, need to migrate customers on the local network to the new platform, but the closure process has not yet begun for the two villages and nobody is going to be disconnected unexpectedly. We suspect that the banner may have been more intended for those in the city of York, where the infrastructure has already been upgraded.

The ISP has now removed the banner and are known to be exploring options to reinstate it in a more targeted manner. We also think they’d do well to update their availability checker in order to be less misleading for those still covered by the FibreNation side of CityFibre’s network.

UPDATE 25th May 2023

The situation around the two villages appears to have taken another turn after CityFibre’s support team informed a local resident that they didn’t take on the part of the network which would serve Warrington, after they acquired FibreNation. This is despite the fact that CityFibre themselves revealed the build many months after they acquired FN (see our links above).

The same customer was also informed that talks are ongoing with Freedom Fibre to take on that part of the network, which would be a complete takeover and occur around the end of June 2023. Such a move would be interesting because Freedom Fibre are a rival AltNet and one that TalkTalk strongly supports.

Naturally, we asked the operator about all this. CityFibre declined to comment on the Freedom Fibre talks, but they did confirm that they owned the related network, although FibreNation rolled out to Hollins Green and Brixton prior to its acquisition by CityFibre, even though it wasn’t announced until many months later.

As above, it was a pilot project exploring overhead PIA (using Openreach’s existing poles) in rural areas and the gigabit voucher scheme.

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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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6 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Alex says:

    I actually had the same problem, after 2 months into talktalk contract they just suddenly terminated my contract without any explanation. Their customer support has no clue what happened.
    I was fed up with them, as I already waited 3 weeks for the install.
    Went to Vodafone instead.

  2. Avatar photo Craig says:

    I live in Hollins Green. I saw the banner and 2 weeks ago was told by Talk Talk my service will be ending on 29th May 2023. I am moving to Vodafone without any leaving fees

  3. Avatar photo Diane Bartram says:

    I took out a new contract for full fibre broadband and landline with talktalk as informed that ultra fibre was obsolete.The day after I took out the contract my landline was cut off. I have been persistent and after Numerous chats online (the last 3hours 26 minutes) plus phone calls plus 3 engineers plus 3 routers none were able to restore landline. Their so called service is appalling

  4. Avatar photo Diane says:

    I took out a new contract for full fibre broadband and landline with talktalk as informed that ultra fibre was obsolete.The day after I took out the contract my landline was cut off. I have been persistent and after Numerous chats online (the last 3hours 26 minutes) plus phone calls plus 3 engineers plus 3 routers none were able to restore landline. Their so called service is appalling

  5. Avatar photo Gordon Goodfellow says:

    This does not surprise me at all. Talktalk support is incompetent. It took me two phone calls to order one of their packages and then they sent the wrong equipment. They also promised phone calls as part of the package but I have been without a phone since their equipment arrived. They lied to me to make the sale. Nor am I able to watch live TV. Talktalk are shamelessly inept and apparently everything is my fault. I told them to listen to the recordings of my first phone calls to them to verify what I actually ordered. But somehow these phone conversations couldn’t be accessed, even though they say they record all calls. Keep well away from Talktalk. You will regret it if you use them.

  6. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Similar story in Dewsbury. Still on TalkTalk’s UFO package from what was the FibreNation network, even had the “Your trial is due to end” email last November with no sign of an update.

    “We’re coming soon” is CityFibre’s postcode search response, and not a single other ISP to pick from.

Comments are closed

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