York one step closer to broadband heaven
A milestone has been declared as passed in York as the number of premises with a fibre based service available from Openreach has passed the 75,000 premise mark.
York may have around 77,000 homes, but the key point is that this figure includes businesses too of which York has around 8,200, so roughly this means that 88% of York has access to an Openreach fibre based service. The number with access to fibre will be higher as there is around 39% of York homes that can get Virgin Media cable services, and fibre based coverage goes higher still since CityFibre and its FTTP network is available to businesses across York (80% of York businesses within 200m of the FTTP network).
The latest cabinet to go live was behind the York Railway Museum and is cabinet 89 (on the York exchange) at the junction of Leeman Road and Garfield Terrace, and was deployed as part of the commercial roll-out. Of the 75,000 Openreach premises passed, 65,000 are via the commercial programme and 10,000 part of the BDUK North Yorkshire project.
2015 will be interesting as the CityFibre, Sky, TalkTalk FTTP trial is set to take place covering some 20,000 homes using micro-trenching to roll-out fibre direct to each home and there is no way that cannot overlap either the FTTC or Virgin Media networks in York now. It will be very interesting to see how Sky and TalkTalk compete, since while a small group may chew your right arm off for bragging rights to get access to ever faster broadband for the vast majority the speeds of FTTC and Virgin Media are more than enough.
The roll-out of Openreach fibre based services across York is not complete, we know of 3 or more cabinets with FTTC on the way, but this still leaves around 27 smaller cabinets with no service and some Exchange Only lines.
The fibre battle for York is not going to be won on the speed or quality of the competing networks but simply on the price and slick sales patter. CityFibre surely cannot survive another FTTP roll-out with a low number of customers like in Bournemouth, operating in the council/SME sector is a very different environment to the consumer arena. Price wise if the FTTP service from Sky and TalkTalk is not significantly cheaper than their FTTC offerings it will not sell and seeing FTTP with faster than FTTC speeds too at under £20 per month would be a real shocker. The people it will most likely see buying the service are the 5 to 10% who get slower speeds than they want from FTTC, but that sort of take-up level makes FTTP expensive to roll-out.