Sky and TalkTalk are going to launch their own fibre broadband network

The two providers have joined forces to take on BT and launch an 'ultra-fast' network in York.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 15 Apr 2014

It’s no secret Sky has been planning to take on BT on fibre broadband for months now, and on Tuesday afternoon the company finally announced it’s formed an alliance with TalkTalk to launch an ‘ultra-fast’ (that’s one up from ‘super-fast’. Linguistically, MT senses we’ve reached a dead end) broadband network – in York, of all places.

Ever since it launched its own pay TV sports channels, BT has been a thorn in Sky’s side: in January, it posted half-year figures showing operating profit was down 8%, after BT pushed up the price of rights to screen some Premier League games during a bidding war.

So this is personal: Sky reckons it can have the entire network installed by 2015, after which, said TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding, it will be rolled out similarly to Google’s US network. That started in Kansas, after which Google launched a national competition to decide where else it should go. It was as much a PR campaign as anything.

TalkTalk and Sky will put £5m into the plans at first. In the grand scheme of infrastructure investments, it isn’t exactly a huge commitment (Premier League rights cost several billion), but presumably as it is rolled out across the country that will increase.

The person most excited about all this was Cllr James Alexander, leader of City of York council.

‘This announcement makes York the digital infrastructure capital of the UK,’ he enthused. ‘Gaining ultra-fast broadband across the city is a huge boost for our economy.’ Quite.

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