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Is Sky now aiming to replace Virgin Media with fibre deal
Tuesday 08 April 2014 09:32:17 by Andrew Ferguson

The GTC news on more FTTH in Oxfordshire has taken on a new dimension now that the official press release has appeared and a partnership with Sky to provide, TV, broadband and telephone service has been confirmed.

"This relationship with GTC will give owners of new homes across the UK a simple way to get great TV from Sky alongside GTC’s superfast broadband and home phone services. We look forward to making Sky TV available to even more homes through this innovative co-promotion."

Brendan Hegarty, Sky’s Head of Homes and Independent Retail

The initial footprint looks to be the private estate in Upper Heyford, but the release indicates that the agreement reaches out to other developments GTC is involved with and means GTC will be the infrastructure provider and Sky is looking to be the prime retailer over the platform. Sky to date has not offered FTTP where it is available over the Openreach platform, so whether things will now change is unknown, the economics of this GTC agreement may see them still only deploying in areas where they decide too.

Executives at Virgin Media might want to dismiss this move, but if Sky can get on board with builders the revenue stream will be significant once it upsells broadband and Sky Movies and Sports to residents who due to covenants on the property may have no other option for broadband. Obviously the footprint now is very small, but if buyers do pick those properties with full fat fibre over those without, the news will travel quickly and more new build areas will gain FTTH and the chances of Virgin Media expanding will diminish.

There are questions about whether developers should be forced to offer wholesale access to platforms like this, and GTC may be doing that, we simply don't know. If anyone at Ofcom is reading this, then you need to start looking at the nascent FTTP/FTTH market now rather than wait for a player to dominate at the expense of the consumer.


Posted by WWWombat over 3 years ago
The Sky comment suggests this could happen across the entire UK... but there has to be some kind of minimum size for it to be worth GTC doing a rollout.

The significant question, other than the one on wholesale access, is what they do for backhaul. Presumably they're going to be running some gigabit-capable fibre out to the site
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
How is this new? GTC has been providing broadband for dome time, delivery of Sky over FIRS is not exactly novel either. What makes this newsworthy?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
So are GTC telling lies when they say an agreement was reached on Monday with Sky.

FIRS is not new correct, but Sky doing 300 Mbps over FTTH is, particularly when they so far seem to refuse to use the GEA-FTTP platform

Posted by TheEulerID over 3 years ago
It's interesting that in the US there has been what's called "regulatory forbearance" by the FCC in order to promote fibre roll-out by incumbents, so there is no requirement to offer wholesale services.

As far as such rollouts in the UK are concerned, then I'm sure only BT and (to an extent) H&K are required to offer Wholesale services, so I don't think GTC will be forced to do so.
Posted by New_Londoner over 3 years ago
I agree if Sky is offering FTTP, however it is unclear from the way the story reads (and the original press release) whether it is Sky that is delivering the broadband or GTC. In fact it reads as if GTC is, which is not new.
Posted by AndyCZ over 3 years ago
Rather disappointingly, I found this:

Sky will offer its full range of premium TV services, including Sky+HD, to those homes who take their fibre broadband from GTC. Customers on GTC's fibre broadband networks already enjoy the fastest nationally-available speeds, at the lowest equivalent prices.
Posted by AndyCZ over 3 years ago
I should also add a quick Google of Brendan Hegarty seems to show his main responsibility is delivering Sky's TV services to MDUs.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
GTC is linked with IFNL I believe. Only time will tell if just a boring FIRS or there is more to this.
Posted by AndyCZ over 3 years ago
Yep - they are all part of the same company

I have had a look through the Sky shareholder website at investor briefings/statements etc. and there is nothing that even comes close to say Sky might be getting involved with any kind of FTTP/H.

It is disappointing that Sky still do not offer a 40/10 or 80/20 GEA-FTTP through Openreach. There is no real reason why they cannot do this - maybe the small number of end users means a lack of interest. But I would have thought they are missing out on 2,000-3,000 fibre customers.
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