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TalkTalk router roadmap: WiFi AC, 4G femtocells and box-free TV

TalkTalk has hinted at future plans for its home broadband routers, which could include 4G femtocells and do away with the need for a set-top box for TalkTalk TV. 

Recent interim results reveal plans to launch a new next-gen router which will have WiFi AC and will be compatible with both ADSL broadband and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) products, like EE’s BrightBox 2, the BT Home Hub 5

WiFi AC is the next generation of WiFi and promises for much faster, less congested and more reliable wireless connections, though we won’t see the full benefit of this in more devices like laptops, tablets and phones with WiFi AC radios hit the markets.  

TalkTalk router roadmap: WiFi AC, 4G femtocells and box-free TV
TalkTalk’s current-gen router is compatible with FTTC, but it needs an Openreach VDSL modem

As well as future proofing its products, TalkTalk seems keen on launching a WiFi router that comes with a 4G femtocell built in. This should improve 4G coverage around the home for TalkTalk Mobile customers. Femtocells typically only support up to four devices at a time, making it ideal for families. 

Ofcom says that its approved TalkTalk’s use of 4G services in the home on the 1800MHz band, meaning it won’t interfere with terrestrial broadcast signals in the same way 4G on 800MHz does. That’s just as well, given that TalkTalk TV is a hybrid terrestrial-internet TV service

Vodafone – whose 2G and 3G network powers TalkTalk Mobile – have run 3G femotcell trials which have seen rural not-spots plugged in the Shetlands, so this product could be of interest to those who stand to benefit from BDUK rollouts, but might not be reached by the separate MIP (Mobile Infrastructure Project) until later. 

TalkTalk router roadmap: WiFi AC, 4G femtocells and box-free TV
TalkTalk’s future plans: No further details yet and not even an ETA

Perhaps taking a leaf out of Sony’s PlayStation Now book, TalkTalk also seems keen on doing away with TalkTalk TV set-top boxes. 

The results document states that TalkTalk is currently developing an integrated set-top box solution and a network PVR which, in the long term, will lead to TalkTalk doing away with any TV hardware altogether. 

Presumably this will see all channels currently available from TalkTalk TV streamed over broadband connections, but details on the service are thin at present. No timescale has been given for when any of these products might see the light of day and TalkTalk spokespeople had nothing to add at this time. 


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