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November 3, 2020
Sky is making a big play for a slice of the UK broadband market, launching a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) offer based on Openreach’s network.
The pay TV specialist has been piloting FTTP to some existing customers in recent months, but has now formally opened up the offer to all…all those located in the coverage area, that is.
As it stands, the network covers 3 million-plus homes, with 31,000 being added each week, according to Sky. The firm predicts its top-speed product, Sky Broadband Ultrafast, will be available to 7.3 million households by March next year.
The Ultrafast offer, which “currently” costs £35 per month over 18 months and comes with the usual caveat about the possibility of price rises during the contract period, boasts an average download speed of 145Mbps and 27Mbps upload. For £27 per month customers in Sky’s footprint can sign up for Sky Broadband Superfast, with an average download speed of 59 Mbps.
The firm noted that it uses alternative technologies in some areas not covered by FTTP. Openreach’s fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and SOGEA, or Single Order Generic Ethernet Access, products underpin its Superfast services in these cases, while it can serve Ultrafast customers using G.Fast. The former cover 28.9 million households and the latter 2.8 million.
In addition, Sky admitted that it is currently unable to deliver FTTP to a small number of customers in FTTP areas, but pledged to make the service available to them as soon as possible.
Despite the footnotes, it seems that Sky is finally setting itself up as a mass-market high-speed broadband provider in the UK. Parent company Comcast resolutely refuses to share information on Sky’s UK subscriber base, but somewhere around the 6 million mark remains a solid guess; the group has 24 million customers across Europe.
Whatever the true figure, Sky has a sizeable existing customer base to target and an even larger number of potential customers that it would clearly like to add to its footprint. High-speed broadband could well be key to future growth.
Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.
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