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TalkTalk to reach 10m homes with Google-style gigabit fibre broadband city hunt

TalkTalk will take on BT with a Google-style competition to identify the British cities where it will reach up to 10m homes using 1,000Mbps pure fibre broadband. 

It’s teamed up with rival ISP Sky and infrastructure firm CityFibre to build FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) networks delivering more than 10 times the speed of BT’s FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) technology. 

The partnership’s trial project will cover homes in York, but TalkTalk boss Dido Harding said it could eventually reach more than 10m homes. 

TalkTalk to reach 10m homes with Google-style gigabit fibre broadband city hunt
TalkTalk’s fibre network will be a direct challenge to BT

Harding told the FT: “We have a long term vision to build infrastructure. We can provide unlimited, low cost bandwidth to customers…the best value-for-money connectivity.” 

TalkTalk and Sky are both unhappy about the cost of access to BT’s copper-fibre hybrid network, which can reach around 76Mbps over short distances. 

They want FTTC pricing to be regulated in the same way as broadband over the old BT copper network, as well as the ability to ‘unbundle’ their customers and control the service. 

CityFibre has fibre backbone networks in more than 50 cities which could be extended to customers’ homes, and operates its own ISP in Bournemouth, called Gigler. 

The trial project in York will cost TalkTalk a modest £5m and reach 20,000 homes, before expanding further across the city.

“This will be the first time that a UK city has been connected with such high speeds on a city-wide basis and will give us the opportunity to fully test a new cost effective approach to building a viable pure fibre network, independent from BT Openreach’s infrastructure,” Harding added. 

“We believe the economics of our approach to FTTP could prove highly attractive, with a combination of scale and low cost build technology delivering a significantly lower cost per home passed than for the current FTTC infrastructure.”

The TalkTalk fibre city competition will follow the example of Google Fiber, which has encouraged grassroots supporters in US cities to compete to be next in its rollout. 

TalkTalk today announced that it has more than a million customers for its YouView-powered TalkTalk TV service, and more than four million broadband customers including over 200,000 on FTTC broadband. 

Image: Mark Hillary/Flickr


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