TalkTalk hits out at ultrafast fibre network critics

Billy Bambrough
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TalkTalk has been rolling out a fibre-to-the-premise service in York
TalkTalk has been rolling out a fibre-to-the-premise service in York (Source: Getty)

Broadband provider TalkTalk has shot back at rival BT over claims it would not be able to build its own fibre broadband network in the UK.

A report by Analysys Mason, commissioned by BT, and submitted to regulator Ofcom found the development of a third ultrafast broadband network in the UK was “highly unlikely”.

However, TalkTalk has recut the analysis using its own experience from the trial rollout of so-called fibre-to-the-premise in York to show that this is not the case.

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BT’s report found TalkTalk would not be able to sustain an infrastructure network due to peak long term penetration of just 20 per cent. TalkTalk claims to have achieved 18.5 per cent penetration in seven months from its York trials, and Virgin – currently the only infrastructure rival to BT’s Openreach – has achieved some 40-50 per cent penetration with its national infrastructure.

“Analysys Mason’s report itself demonstrates that with effective roll out methods and a high quality product, a third network for the UK is very viable,” a TalkTalk spokesperson said.

Ofcom wants to improve competition in the sector by opening up BT’s network of underground ducts and telegraph poles to the likes of TalkTalk, Sky, and Vodafone.

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Earlier this year the watchdog said a good long-term outcome would be to achieve full competition between three or more networks for around 40 per cent of premises, with competition from two providers in many areas beyond that.

Last month Ofcom said it would push ahead with plans to legally separate BT and Openreach, accusing the telecoms giant of failing to volunteer any actions that would address competition concerns. Openreach will have a independent board under the plans.

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