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Sky hooks up first York trialist to ultrafast fibre broadband

Sky has connected its first customer to ultrafast fibre broadband, delivering eye-melting download speeds of up to 940Mbps. 

As part of an ongoing joint venture with CityFibre and TalkTalk in York, Sky is seeing how customers get on with an ultrafast FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) service, as opposed to the typical superfast FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based services now available in most places across the UK. 

ISPs like Sky and TalkTalk use BT’s network arm Openreach to deliver ADSL and FTTC services to customers. Speeds available on BT’s FTTC lines max out at 80Mbps and ultimately depend on your home’s proximity to a street cabinet. The further away you are, the slower your service will be. FTTP-based services by contrast don’t degrade over distance in the same way. 

Related: TalkTalk connects its first customer to 940Mbps ultrafast fibre in York‘Thousands’ more in York to get CityFibre gigabit broadband in Sky & TalkTalk trialThe announcement comes in the wake of BT promising to roll out ultrafast G.fast and FTTP services to 10 million premises over the next few years. 

This is significant because, according to TalkTalk’s CEO Dido Harding, CityFibre’s presences in places including Edinburgh, Peterborough and Bournemouth means it has the potential to reach around 10 million customers with gigabit fibre broadband services.  

All of this activity should be considered in light of regulator Ofcom undertaking a strategic review of the UK’s telecoms market. One potential outcome of this review could see Openreach spun off from the BT Group. 

Lyssa McGowan, director of Sky Broadband, said: “As Ofcom continues its review of the broadband market, we believe that trials like this are a valuable demonstration of the alternative technologies now available. With the right conditions for investment and innovation, consumers and businesses could benefit from more ultrafast connections across the UK.”

While BT does have an FTTP footprint, this is currently only available to a few hundred thousand customers. 

Last week, Harding laid into BT, saying: “A separate Openreach would be able to focus exclusively on investing in improving the network, rather than struggling to get the attention and money it needs as a small part of a much bigger company… 

“Separation would allow other companies to compete more effectively, giving customers more choice to find better deals. It would also create a level playing field for others to invest in world-leading technology, such as the ultrafast network we’re trialing in York.”

Ofcom is inviting industry figures to contribute to its strategic review and will close the door on submissions on October 8

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