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UPDATE ISP TalkTalk UK Preps Broadband Capacity and Coverage Upgrades

Posted: 19th Apr, 2010 By: MarkJ
talktalk uk logoBroadband provider TalkTalk ( AOL UK , Opal etc. ) has confirmed that it plans to boost the capacity of its unbundled ( LLU ) ISP network and extend coverage to reach nearly 90% of the UK population over the next year. That should certainly give BT Retail some additional food for thought.

TalkTalk already has one of the largest non-BT based fixed line broadband footprints and is able to reach about 80% of the population. For comparison, rival O2 ( Be Broadband ) has an unbundled coverage that extends to almost 70% of all BT lines in the UK.

TalkTalk Statement on its Future Network Plans

We’ve currently unbundled just over 1,700 phone exchanges around the UK, meaning that our customers near these exchanges are on our own fibre network rather than on BT’s legacy infrastructure. This gives us coverage for about 80% of the UK population but our aim is to increase this over the next year. We’re planning to unbundle a further 300 exchanges, taken us to over 2,000 in total, and pushing us to coverage of nearly 90% of the population.

We’re also upgrading the capacity of our network in anticipation of ever-higher internet usage. The industry expectation is that consumption of data online will increase by a whopping 50% year on year over the next few years. We’re enhancing our network to cope with this explosive rise in demand.

This upward trend is being boosted by the rise of online TV and video services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and, of course, YouTube. Soon these will be joined by Canvas, the online TV service we are a part of, which will provide an iPlayer-style catch-up service on your TV set, while also giving you additional content and features.

It's important to stress that while TalkTalk may be using "fibre" in its network, they do not currently offer their own non-BT fibre optic broadband service. However TalkTalk are conducting trials of BT's own up to 40Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) technology.

At present the best that most unbundled internet access providers can offer is a download speed of up to 24Mbps via ADSL2+ broadband technology. However we are likely to see a form of faster unbundled fibre optic broadband technology in the near future too; details are still being discussed.

It's interesting to note that BT Wholesale intends to rollout its own ADSL2+ and 21CN / WBC services to telephone exchanges serving around 75% (20 million end users) of the country by Spring 2011. That's quite a few years behind rivals like O2 ( Be Broadband ) and TalkTalk .

TalkTalk made its name by being able to offer one of the cheapest home phone and broadband service bundles on the market. It's TalkTalk Essentials package costs just £18.48 per month and includes line rental, speeds of up to 24Mbps, a 40GB usage allowance, a free wireless router and evening + weekend calls to UK landlines (18 month contract).

UPDATE 1:04pm

TalkTalk has also just opened their first Customer Experience Centre, in Broadwick Street, London. This is a place to try new online products, get broadband advice or simply sit down and surf. On the ground floor anyone can drop in and chat with their "broadband experts" for advice on their service, or just to use the internet.

There's also an exclusive "customer lounge" on the first floor. Here TalkTalk customers can enjoy hot or cold refreshments in comfort, whilst taking advantage of the free WiFi in more relaxed surroundings. If you’re a customer and you want to reserve a space in the lounge, you can book ahead by calling 0800 9555 111.

Upstairs TalkTalk are offering space to start-ups and entrepreneurs. The ISPs aim is to create an incubator space for innovative new technology businesses to thrive and develop.
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