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Sky applies for Ofcom green light to dig up roads for fibre broadband

Sky has applied to telecoms regulator Ofcom for permission to dig up roads and install fibre broadband connections. 

Code Powers mean that ISPs are allowed to carry out construction and repair work on streets without having to apply to local authorities for specific licences, meaning Sky, which is running a number of fibre broadband trials, will be able to install and maintain connections with greater freedom. 

Sky would also be free to engage in PIA (Passive Infrastructure Access), which in layman’s terms means they’d be able to deliver fibre broadband connections to customers using BT’s ducts and poles. 

Silver Lining: Will Sky use Code Powers to deliver fibre broadband
Silver Lining: Will Sky use Code Powers to deliver fibre broadband?

Recently, West Midlands-based ISP WarwickNet hopes to do a similar thing and has applied to Ofcom for the same Code Powers. The WarwickNet consultation closes on September 15, so a decision should be made public not too long after that. 

Sky has asked for access to BT’s green street cabinets so it has greater control over its Sky Fibre and Sky Fibre Pro FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) products. While Ofcom is still considering that request, Sky has been busy exploring other ways in which it can offer next-gen services to customers. 

UK’s second biggest ISP is currently running trials of FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband in Basingstoke where residents can tap into download speeds of up to 950Mbps. Residents might not like the view but they probably don’t mind those speeds. 

In York, Sky has got together with TalkTalk and fibre network provider City Fibre to trial delivery of gigabit (1,000Mbps) broadband services. 

Getting Code Powers would certainly help Sky out in both of these projects as well as increase availability of FTTP services. 

Sky doesn’t currently offer FTTP services via BT’s Openreach network. BT’s FTTP lines currently provide top download speeds of 330Mbps and are sold by Zen Internet, AAISP and BT. 

Ofcom has also received a seperate request from INGIL, a fibre broadband provider, for Code Powers to install up to 300Mbps connections in new build developments. 

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