The acquisition of the national fibre and duct network from KCOM by CityFibre has boosted the level of competition and at the same time leaves KCOM better able to focus on its core footprint in the Hull and East Yorkshire area.
While BT Wholesale has had competition for some years from operators like TalkTalk Wholesale they have actually used BT for a lot of the network whereas CityFibre runs its own dark fibre networks and can be see as real infrastructure competition at the wholesale level.
"This is the most significant event to take place in the UK’s digital infrastructure market in a decade. The UK now has a secure independent infrastructure alternative. Cities, service providers, mobile operators and investors have boldly embraced a new model of future-proof infrastructure provision and paved the way for its acceleration across the country.
With our enlarged footprint and strong pipeline of cities demanding better infrastructure, we will continue to grow, offering existing and new partners an ever increasing opportunity to capitalise on a pure fibre future.CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch
This deal means that once complete the CityFibre network will be available to some 245,000 businesses and there is the potential for FTTH to some 3,500,000 homes. For most people today it is the prospect of the FTTH roll-out that excites and York with its TalkTalk and Sky trial is key to this. As things stand we are starting to see a greater volume of TalkTalk customers testing their connections, but Sky users are thin on the ground.
2016 with the Ofcom decision on what will happen to Openreach due will be a key year for 2016, and its less about what they do with their network but all about how they lobby Ofcom. A fully independent FTSE 100 based Openreach could kill off CityFibre, particularly if Openreach is unbundled as one entity across the UK - the danger there being that fighting competition in the 40 to 50 cities will take the focus away from the rural areas of the UK where infrastructure competition has always been commercially costly.