Budget orientated UK ISP TalkTalk has revealed that their Cityfibre powered roll-out of a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network in the city of York has now covered 33,000 homes and businesses. The final 21,000 premises are due to “follow this year” (54,000 total) and customer satisfaction is high.
By now most of you will hopefully be aware of TalkTalk’s FibreNation strategy, which will initially see them build a wholly owned “full fibre” wholesale ISP network to cover up to 60,000 homes in three towns and cities: Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon (taking place within the “next 12-18 months“). The provider also has an ambition to cover 3 million UK premises (cost £1.5bn) but this is dependent upon finding an investment partner.
However TalkTalk has separately been working with Cityfibre and Sky Broadband (Sky stopped investing after phase one but remain a wholesale partner) to deploy a similar “Ultra Fibre Optic” network across the City of York for some years now. Originally this only covered c.14,000 premises but in 2016 they announced a Phase 2 expansion to reach an additional 40,000 (here).
In an update to investors this week we learnt that the York deployment had now reached 33,000 premises (14k in phase one, 19k in phase two and 21k more to follow this year) and was delivering a Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) of 92% “Satisfied” (57% “Very Satisfied“).
TalkTalk’s York Highlights to Investors
Extremely positive customer reaction
−Phase 1 penetration reached 35% with only TalkTalk marketing the service –and 7 of the 38 Cabinets have 40%+ penetration.
−Phase 2 cabinets released in Autumn 2018 already achieved penetration of 12% with no proactive migration activity.
−Significantly lower fault rates and virtually no churn.
−Net Promoter Score of +47, higher than any UK telecommunications business –fixed or mobile.
Exciting construction innovation driving down cost
−Use of Openreach infrastructure both ducts and poles.
−Active cabinets expanding addressable area.
Back in 2016 TalkTalk said its build costs for the York network had been established at below £500 per home passed (doesn’t include the final home install) and they claimed to be “increasingly confident of reaching our targeted penetration rate of 30%‐40% and delivering the proof of concept required to expand beyond York“. We believe the build costs may have come down a little since then, but they’re certainly getting close to 40%.
In theory TalkTalk could in the future automatically migrate customers on to their FTTP platform, although this would be a significant change of service and creates some additional complications (ISP switching, phone service etc.). As such it’s probably more of a consideration for the future, as copper networks are retired.
The York deployment will ultimately be joined into their future FibreNation platform. Areas not covered by FibreNation are expected to be offered FTTP and G.fast solutions from Openreach’s (BT) growing network.