Is Sky now aiming to replace Virgin Media with fibre deal
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.