Broadband News

Sky calls for a broadband network fit for many decades

Sky has published another blog highlighting what it sees as a lack of vision in BT and asserts that BT as a major broadband provider in the retail sector actually has sole control of the national telecommunications network ran by Openreach.

"Many other nations are building fibre networks direct to the home capable of delivering Gigabit broadband. The New Zealand government has accelerated roll-out of fibre-to-the-premise broadband to 80% of the population by 2022. Meanwhile in Japan and Korea, more than half the population already receives connection speeds of more than 100Mbps. However the current industry structure will not deliver the radical step change that would make the UK a future world leader.

BT itself shows little appetite to take the fundamental step of delivering Gigabit broadband. It just plans to upgrade its existing copper network. The newest technology that it is planning to deploy, “G.Fast”, still relies on existing copper lines that run into customers’ homes. Professor Peter Cochrane, BT’s former head of research and development, calls their vision “wholly inadequate”.

Extract from Sky blog

We would crack open the champagne if someone was to commit to a national Gigabit broadband network in the UK, but the example of New Zealand while aiming for much higher FTTP coverage than the UK is likely to have raises the question about what the other 20% of the UK will have, i.e. the blog appears to totally ignore the increase in complaints about broadband in rural areas where it is not so much about building perfection but people just want something that is useable and delivered within the next year or two, rather than in eight to ten years. Also the fact that 49.2% of the UK already have access to ultrafast broadband (100 Mbps or faster) via Virgin Media and the much smaller Openreach FTTP footprint is omitted, the figure for ultrafast actually hits 67.38% in London once you allow for operators for Hyperoptic.

A step change in what is available to the public and business is a worthy goal, but Sky needs to make it clear what its vision actually is, i.e. is it Gigabit FTTP to 50%, 80% or 100% of the UK and over what time period?

By the way the FoD2 and trials by Openreach do include a Gigabit broadband service, the price of this and availability are unknown as it is a trial, and thus is a little like the CityFibre/Sky/TalkTalk work in York where we are told the first trial users are connected but we are all waiting on seeing adoption in volume.

If Openreach gets its upgrade plans wrong and offering speeds of 300 Mbps to 500 Mbps does prove inadequate within two or three years, then it is not just the UK that will be facing problems, the fall back plan for Openreach is that the FTTC roll-out that has just passed the 70,000 cabinet mark has GPON capable aggregation nodes in the local loop, and with this fibre network will be pushed closer so that if bandwidth demand explodes a FTTH/FTTP roll-out will be more about the final drop to each premise. Of course there is a problem, Openreach is looking at a GPON FTTH solution, and there are many who believe that point to point fibre with its symmetric capabilities is the only way to go and we believe Sky and TalkTalk fall into this camp as their fastest offerings in York are symmetric Gigabit.


Are Sky really serious?
Would they really like to see the whole country with the sort of fibre coverage Hull has now?
BT may have chosen the poor speed option but at least we have now decent coverage for most of the population in double quick time.
However, some of us are still waiting!

  • chilting
  • over 4 years ago

And again Sky offer no plans of their own or what they would do if they were in BT's shoes.

  • gf20
  • over 4 years ago

Note that the *ONLY* solution for a network fit for many decades is FTTP, period. Everything else is a stop gap. Now whether a stop gap is a good or bad thing is another matter.

  • jabuzzard
  • over 4 years ago

I should have also said that point to point single mode fibre is also the only long term solution. GPON FTTH is also a stop gap.

  • jabuzzard
  • over 4 years ago

New Zealand is poor analogy... there is pretty much an absolute monopoly there is virtually no competition at all to Chorus Ltd and New Zealand has a government led Ultrafast Broadband Programme... we don't have any of this, a government with vision nor an incumbent with true monopoly status...

  • themanstan
  • over 4 years ago

The hypocrisy of Sky advocating competition and a "fair" market which benefits the population is laughable! Their attitude stinks of desperacy of which in the longer term Netflix/Amazon will be the future broadcasters, and BT will own the network.

It's all well painting a picture of a perfect organisational structure to deliver our data networks, but we're in the real world where we have to work with the legacy. BT aren't doing "that" bad a job if you consider the complexities, regulation they bare. Chipping away at the "last mile" is the only way to fund/deliver this at scale.

  • mabibby
  • over 4 years ago

Perhaps Sky should crack open the wallet instead of being a parasite.

  • oddius
  • over 4 years ago

Perhaps Sky might tell us how much they would pay monthly at wholesale rates for such a fibre link. Given that point-to-point fibre is the most expensive option to put in place (£28bn according to the well-respected BSG report), then it will be interesting to know what increased revenue stream will be there to fund it. (Total wholesale line rental is in the regions of £2.5bn).

  • TheEulerID
  • over 4 years ago

I trust Sky even less than BT Openreach.

  • craski
  • over 4 years ago

Nothing is stopping Sky from rolling out their own solutions. What a stupid parasite company.

  • chris6273
  • over 4 years ago

Maybe Sky would like to bid for the Devon and Somerset Phase 2 BDUK contract with 100% FTTP Point to Point service. They would get the Matched funding money and could put their money where their mouth is with a local monopoly in infrastructure, have to wholesale it to BT though!. ( I expect to see the wild boar doing areobatics over Dartmoor shortly).

  • jumpmum
  • over 4 years ago

I trust Sky even less than VW :P

Why don't Sky do something usefull with their money and provide LLU in more rural exchanges.

  • 21again
  • over 4 years ago

not sure if Sky under stand the cost and time implications of doing full FTTP (takes them long enough to install a New copper drop line to house), until they get FTTC finished (and done some small FTTP for rural areas) they move onto very near fiber (GPON FTTH) as that can be still done with out having to enter the house grounds , not sure who would want anything faster than 40mb at the moment for our avg people wireless can't do much better than that

  • leexgx
  • over 4 years ago

Imagine trying to build a house with all different contractors with different plans and ideas and almost no cooperation between any of them. They start with poor foundations and from this as the building goes up you begin to see the results; chaotic, dysfunctional and not fit for purpose. They all then turn on each other and start apportioning blame. Welcome to the world of Broadband in the UK, as designed and devised by the private sector and this crappy, useless government!

  • Saurus
  • over 4 years ago

A very poor analogy

  • GMAN99
  • over 4 years ago

Dear Sky, I live 6km from the exchange in a Market 1 location, 3km from a new BDUK funded cabinet. I welcome the news that you are rolling out an FTTH solution. Please can you give me a quote for installation and the monthly charge for an unlimited 1Gb symmetric connection please?

Wow that blog post from Mr Griffith was the most ill informed thing I have seen for a long time. Good job he is not the CFO of a major corporation.

  • godsell4
  • over 4 years ago

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