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 G.fast 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 G.fast 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 G.fast 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.