FTTH is the future and TalkTalk is talking up plans to eventually pass some 10 million premises. This is based on the initial costing of passing premises in York, where some 1,200 premises have been passed in the joint venture with Sky and CityFibre, the cost has so far averaged out at £500 per home passed, but without knowing exactly where in York it is hard to judge how well this cost will scale. In theory the York footprint during 2015 was originally meant to be 20,000 homes passed.
"We have made good progress on the groundworks for our York Fibre to the Premise ("FTTP") trial, with 1,200 homes passed in the first dig area, and are on track to launch our proposition soon and begin connecting customers in the autumn. Early indications of build costs are proving to be in line with our target of under £500 per home passed.
Based on our experience to date, we remain confident about the potential to roll out FTTP in scale. At a build cost of under £500 per premise passed and 30%-40% take-up, we believe it will be possible to build a c10million household network across the UK. We see ultrafast as an opportunity to build a mass market, value for money proposition that delivers value for consumers and shareholders through keen pricing and rapid scaling.
Our preliminary discussions on financing such a scale roll out have been positive, underscoring our confidence in the opportunity for building an economically viable, alternative and superior fibre infrastructure to that available today."TalkTalk on FTTH/FTTP roll-out
As anyone who lives in an area where most of the street have Virgin Media will know, getting a provider to cross a garden wall and a drive can often mean they decide to avoid connecting you. So while TalkTalk is buoyant about potential for 30 to 40% take up, this will take some impressive marketing and convincing people to switch providers. Fingers crossed more information will soon be available on which streets in York are at the forefront of the FTTH/FTTP roll-out.
The financial results for the year ending 31st March 2015 of course don't just cover the FTTP plans in York, and some 49,000 extra LLU customers were added, while the off-net customer base shrunk by 2,000. The off-net customers have been sold to Fleur Telecom (the retail provider in the Daisy Group) and have in theory generated £5 million profit, though this depends on how many stay for two years, i.e. if they all leave to other providers the amount Daisy pays is less.
Other key numbers are that TalkTalk added 83,000 fibre customers (total of 479,000) and 82,000 TV (total 1.4 million). Two years ago TalkTalk had just 73,000 fibre customers and 230,000 TV customers, this is reflected by an increase in ARPU of £1.90 over those two years to the current figure of £19.78.
Lets hope that the grand FTTH/FTTP ambition of 10 million homes passed does not fade like the original more extensive FTTP plans from Openreach which shrunk as they learnt the variable costs and time involved. The Openreach FTTP network currenly passes some ~175,000 premises and we have seen a mixture of reactions, with some bemoaning the extra work to install the fibre into the home, and while speeds of 200 Mbps and 300 Mbps are available even among those excited to be getting full fat fibre a good number elect for the up to 38 Mbps and up to 76 variants to save a £10 to £22 per month. The CityFibre roll-out is a bit different though as the extensive business metro network underwrites a lot of the cost, with any extra revenue from a consumer roll-out being seen as a bonus.