September 21st 2015 may be a turning point in the UK broadband timeline as the Sky and TalkTalk UFO up to 940 Mbps FTTH based services should be available to actually order in parts of York. The 21st is believed to be the date when people can actually start to place orders for the service and then get the final few metres of fibre installed into their home.
Even though the same physical network will be used by the two providers there is competition over the price and speed of packages and we are sure that existing customers on the Openreach network will be encouraged to switch and advertising locally is likely to heavily target Virgin Media customers, particularly with TalkTalk now offering TV bundles.
The roll-out which is building on the core fibre network built by CityFibre has involved a lot of roadworks and this does not always appear to be as clinical as micro-trenching is sometimes suggested. One area that has had the trenching done and covered back up looks set to have the foot paths resurfaced and we presume at the expense of City Fibre and this underlies the difficulty of delivering brand new competing infrastructure, in that while people will welcome better broadband they also expect to not see pavements downgraded.
The York roll-out to some 20,000 premises once completed is very much an experiment and its success financially will determine whether other cities see the FTTH option from CityFibre. Resurfacing pavements will certainly eat into the potential for profit and is one reason why firms like Gigaclear prefer soft digs in the verge.
Around 8.22% of premises in York already have access to an up to 330 Mbps FTTH/FTTP product from Openreach, the York UFO roll-out as yet does not appear to over lap this, but a good number of premises will have access to FTTC or Virgin Media products, so beyond the cost/profit analysis this will be a good test whether Gigabit speeds appeal to the wider population.
Update Midday TalkTalk has been in touch to say that the 21st is not the date for general orders, but rather this is when trial users will start to be connected and no general order date has been announced yet. On the pavement re-surfacing apparently this is was a decision reached by the council independent of the work being carried out.