UK based satellite TV and broadband player Sky is entering the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) business in Ireland after striking a landmark deal with SIRO. Sky is already into the broadband business in Ireland by providing services over Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC) architecture, which is predominant in the UK and Ireland. Sky’s entry will accelerate SIRO’s FTTH deployment.
FTTC utilizes the existing copper infrastructure at the last mile. Optical fibers are laid from the central office or telephone exchange to a street cabinet near to a number of customer premises. Customers could be a combination of residential and or business. Bandwidth is customizable as per the end-user requirement. FTTC reduces investment as it uses the last mile existing copper cables, but quality of service will be lower compared to the quality of FTTH (Fiber to the Home) for definite reasons.
SIRO has been executing its ambitious plan to deploy FTTH networks throughout the Ireland. Out of 51 towns the SIRO planned, work has already been completed in 17 towns, while it is progressing in 3 towns as of this writing. SIRO is aggressively following to deploy FTTH in remaining 31 towns. The new deal with SIRO will see the satellite broadcaster access SIRO’s fibre optic network that uses the ESB’s existing network and newly deployed 1Gbps connectivity.
SIRO had awarded the China based telecom equipment provider Huawei for the supply of end-to-end equipment supply contract in which the Chinese will use its expertise and in customizing according to SIRO requirements. SIRO is a €450m joint venture between Vodafone and ESB. It recently pulled out of the Irish Government’s National Broadband Plan to focus on its efforts to deliver high-speed broadband to 500,000 homes across 51 towns in Ireland.
SIRO officers told that the FTTH take up is proceeding as planned and in some of the early towns they have achieved a 20% take-up, which is considered to a substantially good percent for the initial years. SIRO has so far passed 110,000 premises in the network build and we have 12,500 customers signed up. SIRO expect this to grow exponentially as Sky becomes active on the network. Sky’s new fibre to the home service is currently being trialled on the network.
Sky as a provider and brand can help increase SIRO’s FTTH take up. SIRO is open to the business proposal from other providers like Sky. SIRO builds network that can be utilized by service providers. SIRO had made their strategy of making their network open access so that anybody can access it to the broadband market players in Ireland. The Sky Ireland team explained that their plan is to offer FTTH services in early 2018.Sky already has a broadband subscriber base of 190,000 customers since entering the broadband market in 2013.
Sky’s strategy is to include fibre to the home is consistent with their strategy and the expectations of their customers. Sky customers are content hungry and they want the best connectivity as they start to enjoy ultra high-definition (UHD) content. Sky launched Sky Q into the market 18 months ago and it is the prime reason why customers have joined in the last 12 months. Around 160,000 Sky subscribers of the total (190,000) broadband subscribers avail Sky services through FTTC technology. Subscribers demanding high bandwidth services will migrate to the FTTH service, since the fiber coming direct to the home will ensure seamless transmission of optical signals.