TalkTalk launches new company for faster fibre rollout

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TalkTalk has established a new company called FibreNation, under an independent chair, with the aim to roll-out full fibre infrastructure to around three million UK homes and businesses.

The provider has also confirmed that the first three towns to benefit will be Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough. This builds upon TalkTalk’s full fibre trial in York and positions it as the first customer of FibreNation, wholesaling access to the network to sell full fibre services to its customers. This arrangement builds on the York trial, where TalkTalk and Sky both wholesale access from the network. Sky will remain a wholesale customer of the new network in the expanded footprint.

The company is currently in discussions with potential partners, including Infracapital, to develop an appropriate long-term capital structure for FibreNation. TalkTalk and Infracapital will not be progressing on the basis of the Heads of Terms, announced in February 2018 (see TalkTalk in discussions for UK FTTP roll out).

Tristia Harrison, chief executive of TalkTalk, said: ‘For too long, Britain has trailed the rest of the world when it comes to broadband speed and reliability. We’re determined to change that and invest in the faster, more reliable broadband Britain deserves. We are very confident in the asset we have created in York and will continue discussions with potential partners to agree a capital structure that reflects that. In the meantime, we’re accelerating our rollout plans.’

Added Paul Reynolds, incoming chair of FibreNation: ‘This infrastructure will transform how families and businesses use the internet and I’m committed to ensuring it’s affordable to all. I’m delighted to have two of the UK’s largest internet service providers as customers and look forward to working with them to deliver the faster, more reliable broadband Britain needs.’

On the announced towns to benefit, Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council commented: ‘We are delighted that Harrogate has been chosen as one of the first towns in the UK to benefit from the roll-out of ultrafast broadband. This major investment will transform how residents use the internet and make the area even more attractive to those who want to start or grow a business.’

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