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back to article BSkyB, CityFibre, TalkTalk pull clear of bigwig BT's bundles – plan to set fibre to York

BSkyB and TalkTalk have buddied up in a joint venture with CityFibre to build a new broadband network in the City of York that is not dependent on one-time UK state monopoly BT's infrastructure. The trio have formed a new company with each holding an equal equity stake to bring a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) service to York …

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They're FibreCity

With a new name/owner. They started this in Bournemouth and failed, hopefully they can get it together this time.

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Re: They're FibreCity

FibreCity in Bournemouth is now Gigler. They are still going and have a very small amount of FTTP coverage in the town. Nice if you can get it.

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Re: They're FibreCity

CityFibre own the infrastructure in Bournemouth, but don't offer end user packages directly - that's what Gigler do. (Gigler could be a subsidiary/brand name, not looked into that)

And it's far too small an amount of coverage if you ask me, or at least in the wrong area. And yes, by wrong area, I mean not my house, and yes it's just sour grapes. It's painful to be so close and yet so far from a Gb connection.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They're FibreCity

"FibreCity in Bournemouth is now Gigler."

Readers might want to check who's who in Gigler, and what their roles have previously been.

LinkedIn may help, press releases too.

Also companies house, where it will be revealed that Gigler was formerly known as FibreCity Wessex.

Where these (cow)boys are involved, there's often less going on than meets the eye. Hopefully Sky and TalkTalk are aware of this (but Fujitsu presumably weren't, otherwise they'd not have been doing street works in Bournemouth for this lot, not without being paid up front anyway).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They're FibreCity

Hmmm, being quite close to this project in Bournemouth I understood quite early on how much of a shambles FibreCity were. It later become obvious that they were more intent on building up a bubble so that they could sell the company on or float it for a stupid amount. I don't think either materialised in the riches they were expecting.

I see that the project in York is a fresh start, shame they couldn't finish the work in Bournemouth. Their original idea was that they would run FO through the mains and they did do a few like that, but then they pissed off Wessex Water somehow and they stopped giving permissions for this type of work. So they then started running very small trenches in the pavement for the cables but from what I heard they didn't make this clear to the local authority and the trenches started to get messy and they didn't make good, hence why it probably all went pear shaped for them. Hopefully York won't suffer the same fate.

@El Reg, I wonder if there is a story there, are they a cowboy outfit or just a little misunderstood?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They're FibreCity

"are they a cowboy outfit or just a little misunderstood?"

Have a look over at thinkbroadband.com - they've covered this network of companies for a while, and there are comments in the news articles there too e.g.

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/4574-funders-for-h2o-networks-face-serious-fraud-office-investigation.html

ispreview have some coverage too.

"Their original idea was that they would run FO through the mains"

Regardless of the initial publicity, a volume market rollout by that method would never have been cost effective. Between a limited number of high value sites, yes (and that used to be FibreCity's unique selling point). Every home in a street? No chance. There's a reason Virgin use microtrenching.

"they then started running very small trenches in the pavement for the cables"

Which may be OK if you're the first and only company doing it in any given street. But aiui it's bad to be number two, and Virgin were there first in some parts of Bournemouth?

The streetworks were likely subbed to someone like Fujitsu (reported reasonably widely, especially wrt Dundee). Less widely reported was that when FibreCity went under, Fujitsu were left owed quite a lot of money. Which *might* account for some of the state of the streetworks. Or might not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They're FibreCity

"Readers might want to check who's who in Gigler, and what their roles have previously been.

LinkedIn may help,"

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/adamtroman (though he's no longer at Gigler)

http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/craig-pickering/1a/603/69a (replaced Troman as GM at Gigler, still netops mgr at FibreCity sorry CityFibre)

"press releases too."

http://www.cityfibre.com/news/2012/11/15/new-isp-gigler-launches-gigabit-broadband-services-powered-by-cityfibres-fibre-to-the-home-network

(you may have to use a cached copy, I did initially but it's back now]

In Bournemouth, the initially announced ISPs were Vispa and then Fibreband. Vispa quicky pulled out. Troman had a role at Fibreband and when they disappeared he had a similar role at Gigler.

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Interesting

...and when do they plan to offer gigabit FTTP to homes in Llanfair-ym-Mechain, Widecombe-in-the-Moor and Drumnadrochit?

What's that? When hell freezes over?

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Re: Interesting

If you mean Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain in Powys, FTTC is going in March 2015...

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Anonymous Coward

Pathetic will waving

Is it a pipe dream?

If they want to succeed, they should aspire for a big city like London to REALLY shake things up !

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Competition at work

I hope this goes well and causes costs to fall and better service to become available as far as possible. Certainly better than the gov giving a chunk of our money to a single monopoly.

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Re: Competition at work

Unfortunately very little of this is about cost, it's about revenue retention. BT has no real incentive to get people off the copper, as they are still making billions from landlines and copper based retail.wholesale services. The revenue is declining, and at a rapid rate, which has made BT execs finally take note and start deployining some fibre passed the cab.

However if BT was really serious about getting FTTH deployed they would have joined forces with the utilitiy companies water/gas etc who are passing homes all over the country replacing the infrastructure right up to the front door....

The resistance inside BT was enormous when this was proposed....and they don't seem to be embracing it anytime soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Competition at work

I doubt there's any government money involved in York - that only comes in where there's no commercial case to roll out FTTx - and the very fact that someone else is doing it must mean that there *is* a commercial case in York.

If this takes off it might actually mean more government subsidy, not less - as to some extent BT must be subsidising the loss-making rural customers (government only makes a contribution, it doesn't pay for the whole thing) from profitable city ones. If there are fewer profitable city dwellers in the mix, more external money would be needed to support the rural deployments.

More competition is great, but it won't benefit the people who don't get good broadband today, because if there was money to be made, Virgin or BT would already be there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Competition at work

"The revenue is declining, and at a rapid rate, which has made BT execs finally take note and start deployining some fibre passed the cab."

I'm struggling to make the connection (no pun intended). How does putting fibre into the premises address revenue decline? People will pay £x for high speed broadband, the medium used to deliver it doesn't have any bearing on price. All FTTP would do is increase cost without doing anything about the revenue.

BT and Virgin both say that take up of high speed broadband (however you define that) is about 1 in 7 of the premises passed. Ripping out copper and replacing it with fibre on that number looks like a good route to bankruptcy. 6 out of 7 houses would need expensive new kit that needs mains power to deliver the same service people had before, just more expensively.

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Thumb Up

An interesting development. They made some noises a year or so ago that suggested they wanted the ability to unbundle BT's FTTC cabinets.I wonder if they are going to try and go down that route or have given up and will roll everything out themselves? It seems a bit silly to build yet more distribution nodes alongside BT's cabinets. Where's Ofcom when you need it to lean on BT and get them to open the cabinet doors for alternate CPs?

Anyway a cautious thumbs up from me.

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Opening the cabninet doors

There's no space inside the cabs for alternates and BT have quite deliberately NOT put POTS concentrators in the things

Combination xDLSAMS/POTS concentrators with fibre backhaul are readily available, it'd get rid of vast amounts of copper trunking and make comms lines far less attractive to pikeys, it'd also result in exchange distribution frames (and the huge amount of space they take in relation to post-1980s switches) a thing of the past, freeing up more sites for colocation.

They've also generally sited the cabs so that it will be difficult for anyone to plonk down a rival cabinet close by for interlinking.

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"unbundle BT's FTTC cabinets"

How about unbundling other cabinets instead?

I have lovely light green ducting that runs past my house yet my BT line is O/H.

horses for courses -- BT have already been forced to let half-arsed cable jockeys in thier cabs.

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Meh

How about unbundling other cabinets instead?

No other company is required to do that. It's something only BT is forced to do. Funnily enough letting third parties mess with your hardware is not popular.

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I'll believe it when I see it.

OK, I live in a village about 6 miles from the centre of York and already have FTTC, which I have to say I'm more than happy with (probably helps that the nearest cab is only about half a mile away, mind)

However, I can see this either being stymied by York City Council, who couldn't find their collective arses with an atlas, or being restricted to the 'tens of thousands of new properties' that seem to be getting thrown up on any available piece of land bigger than a postage stamp.

If it happens, great, but I won't hold my breath.

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And you really think..

York are going to let them dig up this old historic City without a big fat no chance? I live in a countryside Parish and they have been slapping down Virgin for years because they dont want their beautiful pavements messed up. Mind you the pavements are crap to begin with!

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Competition

"SkyB and TalkTalk hope to compete"

Meaning collude on keeping prices as high as possible to sustain their fat margins.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Competition

"Meaning collude on keeping prices as high as possible to sustain their fat margins."

The problem is exactly the opposite. The reason that there is little competition at an infrastructure level is that pricing is too *low* to support a business case for investment.

It's pretty hard to make a case for spending £2K up front to deliver a service that a customer is going to pay you £25 a month for, before you consider running costs. You'd be better off putting your £2K in the bank. If you don't have £2K spare and you need to borrow it, prepare to have a bank manager laugh in your face.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Presumably they picked York so that BT can see if this approach allows them to compete with Virgin who are already entrenched there (via NTL as was). If they've got any sense they'll ignore the 'historic centre' and concentrate on the new builds around the edges.

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Anonymous Coward

See also H2O Networks

"Presumably they picked York so that [etc]"

York was presumably picked because FibreCity were already an "entrenched" (sic) supplier there from a few years back (when the company names in the frame were Pinacl and H2O Networks, and the sites involved were originally a few strategic sites rather than the later-proposed volume rollout, but the company directors were largely the same people).

2010: http://democracy.york.gov.uk/documents/s38204/Fibrecity%20York.pdf

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Waterbout the plumbing?

I'd have thought piping broadband would have been better given to the water companies than to Bollocked Testicles. At least they know shit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Waterbout the plumbing?

You must be thinking of this:

http://www.google.co.uk/tisp/install.html

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