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Sky goes it alone for its latest fibre broadband trial

Matt Brian, @m4tt

Currently at the mercy of BT, Sky has indicated that it wants to build its own fibre-optic broadband network for some time. Having partnered with providers to deliver TV broadcasts over cables and teamed up with TalkTalk to supply gigabit (1000 Mbps) broadband to select customers in York, the company has decided to go it alone for its latest fibre trial. In Basingstoke, Sky's building its own fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network that's capable of delivering speeds of up to 950 Mbps over an ethernet connection (150 Mbps over WiFi), far outstripping those offered by rivals BT and Virgin Media (which currently top out at 300 Mbps).

To do so, it's using overhead poles to bring fibre optic cables directly to subscribers' homes instead of relying on a local (often BT-operated) exchange, bypassing the limitations of traditional copper wires that feed the majority of Britain's homes. In return for testing the new fibre network (under Sky's Love Digital brand), lucky residents enjoy Sky's superfast broadband free-of-charge for one year, as well as a £10.75 monthly saving on their TV bill. While Sky is still conducting early tests, it suggests the company may soon be ready to invest in its own fibre network and go direct to customers. That'll intensify competition, giving consumers more choice and likely incentivise lower prices in the process.

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