Sky is apparently in negotiations with Virgin Media O2 to become a partner in the latter’s rollout of full fiber. A deal between Sky and Vodafone, according to The Telegraph, is said to be “near.”
The publication also states that Vodafone and TalkTalk have been approached about becoming wholesale customers.
By the end of 2021, O2 plans to cover its entire fibre footprint with 1Gbps broadband and will thereafter upgrade its infrastructure to maintain this speed leadership.
Its complete network will be fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) powered by 2028, offering possible speeds of 10Gbps There are no Sky engineers on site because the installation is straightforward and inexpensive compared to comparable rollouts, and any involvement from Sky would boost these plans.
Sky previously teamed with TalkTalk in York, but sold its stake to the latter. Meanwhile, securing TalkTalk and Vodafone as wholesale clients would significantly improve project economics – while also hurting Openreach.
It would also benefit other providers by allowing them greater wholesale market choices. Although CityFibre is building full fibre infrastructure in partnership with Vodafone, several “altnets” have invested in networks across the country.
Vodafone, TalkTalk, and Sky, on the other hand, continue to rely heavily on Openreach’s infrastructure to provide broadband access to consumers and enterprises.
The last has committed to providing full-fibre connectivity to 25 million residences and businesses by the end of the decade.
It was initially reported two years ago that Virgin Media O2 would be the first network to open its infrastructure to rivals for the first time. Such a strategy would benefit both rivals and consumers, but it would also boost Virgin Media O2’s market share – and income.
Since the merger of Virgin Media and O2 earlier this year, the merged firm has stated its goal of becoming a converged challenger to BT and Openreach, providing fixed and mobile services to customers and businesses.
Virgin Media announced that the Openreach-powered “Project Lightning” expansion has significantly increased Virgin Media O2’s coverage, including in areas already served by Openreach. The introduction of 4G and 5G into the mix further enhances the company’s convergence credentials.