Sky & TalkTalk are to join up to create a fibre optic network in York that will be bring internet speeds 3 up to times faster than will be delivered by BT’s fibre optic network.
The deal also involves a third company, CityFibre, who are a specialist with fibre optic projects. The deal consists of BSkyB & TalkTalk both investing £5 million each and CityFibre claiming it’s third of the new company with a central ring of fibre optics that they have already got installed in York.
The joint venture network will install full Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) which will bring the fastest speeds to customers and will mean that the new network will aim to be able to offer broadband speeds of 1Gb (or 1,000Mb) which is currently over 3 times faster than is on offer from BT’s top package which offers speeds of 300Mb.
BT’s top speeds of 300Mb are available where BT have installed FTTP, however across most of the country BT have only installed Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) and for the remaining way from the streetside cabinet they use the existing copper wire to connect to houses, this way means that users are not getting a full fibre optic connection.
CityFibre agreed a deal a few years ago with Fujitsu to create a 64 mile fibre ring around the City of York and it is this that they will be building on to base this first joint venture network on.
It is expected that the first customers will be able to be connected to the Sky/TalkTalk/CityFibre network during 2015.
It is not only York who are to benefit from the trio investing in a new fibre network, there is set to be a further 2 cities also chosen where they will roll out to as well in due course.
TalkTalk’s advertising of the “UK’s safest broadband” has been restricted by the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) after complaints were received by the advertising watchdog.
BT and two members of the public complained to the ASA asking if the claim that TalkTalk were making that they had the “UK’s safest broadband” could be substantiated.
TalkTalk said that they were the only broadband provider in the UK that offered network level security filtering via the HomeSafe service. This meant that any computer or device connecting to the internet via that router would receive the protection that the service offered. TalkTalk said that although other broadband providers did offer security packages these had to be downloaded and there were some limits and restrictions on the number of devices that could use it.
The ASA upheld the complaints and said:
“We considered that customers could interpret safest as referring to a number of features, such as virus protection or protection from hacking, and that Home Safe only offered a basic range of security features. We did not consider that consumers would interpret “safest” as referring to blocking of inappropriate content, and restricting access to certain sites at certain times.”
TalkTalks HomeSafe service is a free service offered to TalkTalk Broadband customers and allows network level protection (this means before the content even reaches your router) where by inappropriate websites can be filtered out, helps to stop viruses before they reach you and alert you if you visit a suspected site, also time limits when the internet will work or when social networking or gaming sites will work which is useful for when children have homework to do.
TalkTalk are facing claims of hypocrisy after they announced that they would be raising it’s monthly landline fee by 55p per month after having previously slating Labours plans to bring in the 50p per month “broadband tax”.
Back when Labours controversial 50p per month “broadband tax” was being talked about as a way to raise funds to pay for next generation broadband in rural areas, TalkTalk were against the plans and said that they believed it would drive people off broadband.
One quote from their own blog on 24th March 2010 said:
“We think this tax is an unfair, regressive and wasteful way of funding superfast broadband which would deliver less benefit than it will cost, slow superfast broadband roll-out and drive around 200,000 homes off broadband.“
Also, a quote from Charles Dunstone, the Chief Executive of TalkTalk:
“As well as being unfair we estimate that the increase in price will mean that over 100,000 mostly low income homes will be forced to give up their broadband lines. This is wholly inconsistent with the Government’s plans to tackle digital exclusion by increasing uptake and use of broadband.“
The hypocrisy claims aren’t hard to spot, saying that 100,000 or 200,000 homes could be put off broadband due to a 50p per month line rental “broadband tax” charge and then months later to up your own line rental charge by 55p per month sort of stinks of double standards.
However, TalkTalk said the following to PcPro
“The difference is the Government wasn’t implementing a price rise, it was implementing a tax.
It wouldn’t have stopped providers increasing prices to maintain their business.“
The new charges are set to come in on the 1st October 2010 with line rental charges being upped from £11.49 per month to £12.04 per month, day time calls will also be increased from 5.8p to 6.4p per minute. These rises follow a similar prise rise for line rental and call charges that BT recently introduced.
New customers signing up to TalkTalk for either it’s Essentials or Pro broadband or home phone services can now get free connection with it.
The free connection offer is worth a saving of £29.99 and is available to online customers if they join up before the end of July.
The Essentials package from TalkTalk offers up to 24Mb broadband download speeds with 40Gb monthly data transfer, it also comes with a free wireless ‘G’ router and free technical customer support when you ring from you TalkTalk line.
The phone part of the Essentials package offer unlimited calls to UK landlines at evenings and weekend.
The Essentials package costs £6.99 plus a line rental of £11.49 which comes to a total of £18.48 per month on an 18 month minimum contract.
The TalkTalk Pro also offer up to 24Mb broadband but with unlimited download (fair use policy applies) and a free wireless ‘N’ router and free technical customer support when you ring from you TalkTalk line.
The Pro phone part offers unlimited calls to UK landlines anytime and calls to mobiles for 7p per min flat rate + call connection.
TalkTalk Pro costs £14.99 plus line rental at £11.49 so a total of £26.48 per month on an 18 month contract.
On top of this TalkTalk also offer a 30 day no quibble trial for customers before they have to commit to the 18 month contract.
TalkTalk broadband are set to start trials of 40Mb fibre broadband in Muswell Hill (London) and in Whitchurch (Cardiff) that will start this month and run until January 2010.
With BT Openreach starting it’s installation of a next generation fibre network it allows other broadband providers to start offering the services made available on the BT network.
Those customers who will be on the fibre broadband trial via Fibre To The Cabinet (FTTC) will receive a new router and modem that will be able to handle the faster download speeds and also be given the Essential phone and Broadband package from TalkTalk free while they are taking part in the trial, although they will be required to pay the line rental charges. What’s more is that users as part of the trial will be given an unlimited download limit instead of the 40Gb limit they are usually limited to.
The first quarter of 2009 has seen the TalkTalk Group add 47,000 new broadband subscribers which takes them to a total of 2.85 million.
TalkTalk also managed to migrate a further 59,000 customers on to it’s own unbundled (LLU) network which takes them over all to have 79% of their customers on their own network. The more customers they have on their own network gives them more economic leverage.
TalkTalk bought the UK arm of Tiscali in May which was too late for these figures to be included in this report although they will be included in the Q2 report due out in October.
TalkTalk have extended their free connection offer until 14th June.
For anyone who signs up to their broadband and phone Essentials package by 14th June they won’t have to pay the £29.99 connection charge.
As well as the connection charge being free those signing up will also receive a free wireless router and free technical support when calling from a TalkTalk line.
Users will be signed up to an 18 month contract and receive an 8Mb broadband connection with a 40Gb download limit per month. On the phone front users will receive unlimited calls to UK landlines at evenings and weekends plus free calls to millions of TalkTalk customers.
The cost of this is £6.49 per month but with the addition of £11.25 line rental the total payable per month for the broadband and phone is just £17.74.
The Carphone Warehouse has released it’s latest set of yearly results up to the end of March 2009 which show profits up to £550m which is a huge increase over the previous years of £73m.
The interesting points in the report are that the recent purchase of Tiscali UK Broadband will see the Carphone Warehouse (TalkTalk) broadband customer base rise to 4.25 million making it the largest residential broadband provider in the UK although BT are still the largest overall broadband provider with around 4.8 million subscribers. With this acquisition it is believed that once Tiscali UK is running in synergy with the TalkTalk group that there could be operational savings of between £40-£50 million per year by March 2011 due to areas such as customer migration, network integration and simplification, and billing integration.
Of the 2.8 million broadband subscriber with TalkTalk, 78% of these are on their own unbundled network and with Tiscali also operating with LLU for many of their customers it will also bring in some cost saving and more control.
The full Carphone Warehouse report can be read here.
The Carphone Warehouse is to split it’s TalkTalk fixed line and broadband businesses into their own separate businesses by July 2010.
The move is to happen as Charles Dunstone, Chief Executive of Carphone Warehouse thinks that it will make it easier for shareholders to see the value of each of the businesses.
Mr Dunstone said:
“Both have reached the point where there are no material synergies between them. They need to operate independently”
The company posted a pre-tax loss of £72 million with revenue falling to £1.385bn from £1.424bn the previous year.
The Carphone Warehouse has recently bought the UK broadband arm of Tiscali broadband for £236m which has boosted their broadband subscribers by an extra 1.7 million and giving them 25% of the UK broadband market with a total subscriber base of 4.25 million.