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Sky Hints at June Launch of Ultrafast FTTP

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Sky could launch its long-teased ultrafast full-fibre broadband plans as early as 1 June, according to reports.

The ISP launched the first of its ultrafast broadband deals last August, using Openreach’s G.fast infrastructure. Ultrafast 1 delivers download speeds of 145Mbps, while Ultrafast 2 clocks in at 285Mbps. Openreach’s G.fast currently connects 2.81 million UK premises, although the infrastructure provider has slowed down installation of the cable-fibre hybrid technology to focus on its FTTP network.

At the time of the ultrafast launch, Sky indicated it expected to launch tariffs taking advantage of Openreach’s growing gigabit-capable FTTP network in early 2020. The COVID-19 crisis delayed those plans, particularly after Openreach suspended all but essential in-home visits to comply with social distancing rules.

Now Openreach has indicated they will resume normal operations from June, and Sky’s plans have been taken off the back burner. ISPreview reports that Sky support staff are receiving training ahead of a launch of the new products to consumers early next month.

Initially, Sky will just deliver its two Ultrafast packages and one superfast 80Mbps connection via Openreach FTTP. Openreach has launched faster tiers for wholesale, with owner BT now offering fibre with speeds of 500Mbps and 910Mbps. It’s assumed Sky will eventually follow suit and resell even faster connections.

You have to live in one of the 2.57 million homes Openreach has reached with FTTP to subscribe to one of these plans. The network provider initially had ambitions of expanding this network to four million addresses by March 2021 and at last official count was connecting 27,000 premises per week, expected to rise to 30,000 by the fourth quarter of last year. 

It’s unknown how the coronavirus shutdown will impact the delivery of that target after Openreach hit pause on most full-fibre installations in March.

However, Openreach owner BT remains fully committed to delivering the full-fibre network. Last week emerged that the telecoms giant is considering selling a significant stake in Openreach in order to fund the £12 billion rollout. The company has already suspended its dividend to investors until 2022, the first time it has taken this move since it was privatised in 1984, in order to devote an additional £2.5 billion to the full-fibre build.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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