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From the horse’s mouth
York in the UK is showing up as a market where there is some intense competition for next-generation broadband Internet service.
This has come about due to fibre-optic infrastructure being laid down by CityFibre in conjunction with Sky and TalkTalk for a fibre-to-the-premises network capable of operating to 940Mbps. Just lately, Sky had connected their first customer to this network.
It brought out a war of words about what qualifies a city as an “ultrafast” or “gigabit” city when it comes to the presence of next-generation broadband Internet service. The European Union and the UK Government qualified a residential Internet service “ultrafast” as being greater than 100Mbps “at the customer’s door”. But CityFibre were using the term “Gigabit City” to qualify where there is an Internet service with a bandwidth capable of close to a Gigabit per second and is an actual revenue-providing service rather than a trial service.
It is feasible to call many of the UK’s cities as being “ultrafast” when it comes to next-generation broadband deployment because there was services of at least 152Mbps bandwidth penetrating 90% of these cities. Then the other qualifier was the presence of fibre-to-the-premises service with Kingston Upon Hull having 30.9% coverage.
Questions were also raised about BT Openreach providing full fibre-to-the-premises service in York with their central-activities district having native FTTP coverage of 12.4% and the rest of that city having 3.25%. As well, Hyperoptic had wired a large number of apartment blocks in York with FTTP broadband,
The competition issue that may need to be resolved is whether there is any “building-over” taking place where competing infrastructure providers are deploying their infrastructure in to each other’s territory. In a similar vein, there is also the issue of the availability of competing retail Internet service across many or all of the different infrastructures that exist. This could come to a point where the UK will need to determine a policy that affects competing next-generation broadband Internet services delivered using competing last-mile infrastructures in urban areas. This will have to encompass competitors “building over” each others’ infrastructure including access to multiple-premises buildings like apartment or office blocks and shopping centres.
What is happening in York could lead to a very interesting road for delivering fibre-based next-generation broadband in the UK’s urban areas. As well, it could lead to next-generation broadband Internet that is increasingly affordable for most households and small businesses in these areas and yields increased value for money for these users.