Sky are investigating the feasibility of installing their own fibre broadband network after it has been announced they are to trial BT Openreach's Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product which will allow the company to deploy cables on BT's telegraph poles and in BT ducts. The news comes after Sky along with other ISPs and network operators, including TalkTalk and Virgin Media, complained about the trial PIA product pricing indicating that the costs associated were unreasonable. The letter was sent to BT's CEO with a second letter (not signed by Sky) sent to Ed Vaizey, the UK Communications Minister, in the hope that he might step in and force BT to lower their pricing to allow other operators to bid for BDUK funds.
"This trial will allow us to field-test the processes involved in allowing others to use our duct and pole infrastructure and build upon the accuracy of our assumptions before we launch the product commercially. It will also provide our CP customers with far greater clarity around the detail of deployment, and the likely costs involved, as well as giving them the chance to engage with us constructively around pricing and process development."Fergus Crockett, (Product Director) Openreach
This isn't the first news that Sky are looking at their own fibre deployments as the company ran fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) tests back in 2008. The company also announced a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) 'research' pilot with TalkTalk earlier this year which is expected to reach 3,600 homes, and this could be the work which is being undertaken using BT's PIA products.
A second company, Call Flow, will also be under taking trials of PIA. Call Flow are the UK's largest sub-loop unbundling (SLU) provider. SLU is where a broadband provider install their own road-side equipment in cabinets which is then linked in to BT's own cabinets and allows providers the ability to offer their own fibre-to-the-cabinet products. Using PIA to install your own fibre through BT's ducts is the next logical step from SLU in deploying your own network.