Broadband News

TalkTalk results indicate preparation for Harrogate Fibre Nation underway

The latest financial results for TalkTalk are available and they have a broadband customer base of 4,287,000 (retail + wholesale) adding 44,000 in the last quarter. The VDSL2/Gfast (called fibre in TalkTalk results) services are showing continuing growth with what is apparently a record growth of 146,000, the same quarterthe previous year was 89,000. The growth of 146,000 is clearly down to increasing VDSL2/FTTC take-up which with a price below that of BT ADSL2+ and everyone keen to reduce their utility bills should be no surprise.

Ofcom has observed a downturn in the amount of switching in the broadband market place and the latest figures from TalkTalk give some clues as to why this is the case. Churn is down at 1.16% and some 2.3 million retail customers are are a fixed price contract so whereas in the past people would switch every 9 to 12 months due to price rises many are now staying for the full 18 or 24 months. One concern we have with fixed price plans is that many will at the end of the plan to keep similar pricing and avoid random prices will lock in again for another 12 to 24 months - which in the longer term may have implications for retail competition. Another factor is that by and large the public has forgotten the TalkTalk data breach problems which saw lots of people leaving the provider.

One potential bump in the road for the low levels of churn and the TalkTalk sales pitch of 'Fairer plans. Reliable fibre. Brilliant Prices' is those customers with a YouView box connected to their TalkTalk broadband, since they should have been receiving letters about a £4/m price increase unless they opt-out of the ability to add TV boosts. If you opt-out what happens is the TalkTalk add-ons in the YouView box are turned off - whether you can opt back in at a later is unknown. For those that joined TalkTalk on a TV bundle under a fixed price plan this increase will be most unwelcome, so some may seek other alternative providers but for those who prefer the integrated nature of the boosts and Freeview box finding a similar priced alternative bundle may not be that simple and this is why triple play bundles are so popular with operators i.e. people find it harder to migrate away.Our advice is if you are on TalkTalk and have any YouView box connected to your broadband is that you should keep an eye on your TalkTalk bill, since it is not 100% clear if the rise just affects TalkTalk branded YouView boxes or other brands and with the number of older TalkTalk boxes traded on eBay people may get suprised.

The Fibre Nation roll-out is mentioned due to the £5m to £10m costs due to the joint venture but while we have known that Harrogate was the next destination since November 2018 there is a hint that preparation work may be underway as York nears completion.

Comments

i have not forgotten the TalkTalk data breach problems. I still detest the company, more than Bt and yes I know Plusnet belongs to BT, but at least it is separate.

The problem is if people are on the BT infrastructure, them moving from one provider to another is going make little difference, we still have to use the naff BT hybrid rubbish.

  • zyborg47
  • 22 days ago

@zyborg47

Why do you say "naff BT hybrid rubbish" why is it rubbish?

I can understand that the ideal is end to end fibre but does that justify calling anything that isn't pure fibre as rubbish?

  • nervous
  • 22 days ago

@nervous
I tell you why, because for the last couple of years, the only way I can connect is via an old BTOR modem connected to my router. Plusnet even sent me a nice new expensive zyzel router to try to solve the problem and that worked for a couple of days. even BTOR cannot find the problem and have given up as I can still connect.
It is rubbish, a hybrid fibre system that runs on old copper cables that are falling apart.
I am not bothered about pure fibre, I just want something twill work as it should.

  • zyborg47
  • 21 days ago

@zyborg47/Adrian
Why do you have to troll TalkTalk articles? You've told us at least 2 billion times you don't like TalkTalk. Yes, we get it you're not a Talktalk fan so why the constant need to remind everyone? You seem like a fly attracted to faecal matter!

  • Steve_H
  • 21 days ago

@Steve_H, just saying that I have not forgotten data breach problems and there are many people who have not.
You do not like it then that is just too bad, you do not have to read what I post.

  • zyborg47
  • 20 days ago

@Steve_H, just saying that I have not forgotten data breach problems and there are many people who have not.
You do not like it then that is just too bad, you do not have to read what I post.

  • zyborg47
  • 20 days ago

I was with them when I upgraded to FTTC. I was without broadband for a whole month, all because of the software on their router. I got a WHOLE £30 compensation which covered the price of the broadband for that month. I'll never go back to them.

  • darren_mccoy
  • 20 days ago

Spending £5m-£10m a year there doesn't seem to be much prospect of streets being dug and fibre being laid. They can get a few maps and red pens, chat to the council, have a few lunches.

With no joint venture partner in the wings to splash the cash Fibre Nation looks like a failing attempt by TalkTalk to try to leverage its customer base to become a fibre infrastructure player. Beyond York anyway.

Save the £5m-£10m a year and put Fibre Nation out of its misery I say.

  • JGG2
  • 19 days ago

The name Fibre Nation appears to be TalkTalk’s equivalent of Project Lightening - both being hostages to fortune where the reality falls short.

In the case of TalkTalk it doesn’t have the capital and is competing at the bottom of the market so will struggle to generate enough margin to interest another party to fund it instead. Given the number of other companies already putting in FTTP, it appears to have missed the boat.

  • New_Londoner
  • 19 days ago

"Given the number of other companies already putting in FTTP, it appears to have missed the boat."

It was actually one of the first ISPs to roll out FTTP, albeit on a pilot basis in York along with CityFibre (Sky later pulled out). So clearly they're satisfied with their York rollout and are moving ahead with their plans.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 19 days ago

@baby_frogmella
But City Fibre actually built the network in York, Talktalk simply operated as an ISP alongside Sky. If it went so well, why didn’t Sky decide to proceed?

  • New_Londoner
  • 19 days ago

@New_Londoner
The York FTTP rollout is/was a JOINT venture...that means ALL parties contributed to the costs. TalkTalk later bought out Sky's share for £20m. I suspect Sky wanted to save money and instead run their services over Openreach's FTTP network.

https://www.eurocomms.com/industry-news/11899-talktalk-to-buy-sky-stake-in-york-fibre-broadband-jv-network-set-for-expansion

  • baby_frogmella
  • 19 days ago

@baby_frogmella
I agree with all of that but City Fibre actually built the network in York, Talktalk doesn’t have experience of this. Nor does it have a strong enough balance sheet to fund a significant build itself and, in my opinion, will struggle to attract funding from others given it sells at the bottom of the market so has low margins.

In other words, I don’t see its Fibre Nation project going very far unless something radical changes to its business model or balance sheet or both.

  • New_Londoner
  • 19 days ago

Post a comment

Login Register