Yesterday afternoon we caught up with Dana Pressman Tobak, Managing Director of Hyperoptic for a quick chat. We talked about Hyperoptic’s current areas of service - just central London for now folks - and talked about plans for the future.
We can reveal that there’s plans for Hyperoptic to go beyond London in the future, but sadly when pressed, Pressman Tobak and the Hyperoptic guys wouldn’t reveal to us where the second pilot city for Hyperoptic would be.
We were only told that we should know soon and that we’ll be seeing “a lot of Hyperoptic across the UK in 2013.” Again, no further information was forthcoming on where else Hyperoptic planned to lay cables next. Spoilsports.
Head below the video for a full transcript of our interview and check back later for a demonstration of Hyperoptic’s 1Gbps broadband power.
Recombu Digital: Where does Hyperoptic’s footprint currently cover?
Dana Pressman Tobak: “Currently we’re focussed in London and we have properties extending from E14 in the Docklands all the way to W3, that’s our current footprint and basically we are looking to expand that and obviously fill in the holes of other buildings we don’t currently cover in that footprint. In the near future we’ll be putting out a press release that specifies the buildings that we’re at.”
RD: Would you be rolling out to any other UK cities besides London in the near future?
DPT: “Absolutely. Basically what we’ll do is by the end of the year we’ll roll out to another city, essentially our pilot secondary city, if you will, and then I think you’ll see a lot of Hyperoptic across the UK in 2013.”
RD: Would you consider rolling out any services to rural areas of the UK?
DPT: “It’s not really our focus. What we are really focussing on is what we call mutli-dwelling units, so blocks of flats, offices and whatnot, places where there’s a large concentration of people in one space and that’s really where our solution’s geared towards. We really recognise the work of other players in the rural front and wish them the best of luck with that and just say, that’s not where we’re focussed.”
RD: Do you see the role of the consumer ISP expanding beyond just providing a broadband service? Do you have any extra products and services in the pipeline?
DPT: “Well currently we offer broadband and phone as many of our competitors do and we are looking at doing a pilot for IPTV Television services as well and we’ll use that opportunity to gauge the interest level as well as the implications for our business model and organisation overall should we decide to move forward with that type of offering.”
“We’re looking forward to seeing how the release of YouView also impacts users. But what we wouldn’t be doing for example is looking to launch our own television service in the same way that Homechoice did in the previous decade.”
RD: So are you trialling an IPTV service at the moment?
“Yeah, we’re currently in the early stages of a trial and what we’ll do is choose one our our buildings where we’ll offer those services both to our customers and to our non-customers and get feedback from them as to the service itself, whether it’s a service that they would want, how much money they would pay for it, and basically the characteristics to make sure that if we do launch a service, we know that it’s something that will benefit our end consumers.”
RD: With regard to the UK Government’s proposed Communications Bill - the monitoring of who is talking to who - what is Hyperoptic’s stance on this?
“Quite frankly our stance is that we’ll follow any regulation that we are required to respond to. We think it’s a very important debate and a debate that’s been raging ever since the days of Be [Broadband] time actually of how much control the government and ISPs should have over what people are doing online.
We recognise the importance of keeping track of potential terrorist activities, but we also recognise that individuals' deserve privacy. And so we are not necessarily looking to change the debate in any one direction, but just to follow whatever regulations need be.
If we were to do something, obviously, potentially snooping or tracking or any kind of traffic management that would have an impact on the traffic itself, then people just need to understand that, that it’s part of any solution that would have to be implemented.”
RD: So Hyperoptic doesn’t currently manage traffic?
“That’s correct, so we only do what is required, we don’t do any traffic shaping or traffic management. We essentially give people a pipe, we give them what we saw we’re going to give them as part of our sales process and essentially let them use the internet any way they like.”
A quick note on Homechoice (see question four). Homechoice was/is an IPTV service that was rebranded once as Tiscali TV and again later, as TalkTalk TV. As a service it's currently in a sort of limbo. It’s unable to order from TalkTalk now, although its services are still up and running for customers who’d previously bought it.
It’s an example of IPTV in the UK, albeit delivered over ADSL copper and not cable, which Hyperoptic’s IPTV would be.
No further details could be gleaned from the trial which has yet to take place. Given that LittleBigOne in South Yorkshire and Magnet Networks' new builds feature (or will feature) access to Sky TV packages its conceivable a similar deal could be reached with Hyperoptic.