TalkTalk has announced ‘an acceleration of its full fibre strategy’ with the launch of a new company, FibreNation, that will construct fibre-optic infrastructure covering three million premises across the country. The new entity will operate under an independent chair and it has been confirmed that the first three locations to benefit from its fibre rollout will be Harrogate, Ripon and Knaresborough. This initial phase of network deployment will reportedly build upon TalkTalk’s full fibre trial in York, and the combined footprint will reach over 100,000 premises. TalkTalk noted that it will be the first customer on FibreNation, wholesaling access to the network to sell full fibre services to subscribers. It said this arrangement builds on the York trial, where both it and Sky both wholesale access from the network; Sky will remain a wholesale customer of the new network in the expanded footprint, it says.
Meanwhile, TalkTalk is in discussions with potential partners, including European infrastructure investor Infracapital, to develop an appropriate long-term capital structure for FibreNation. However, it has been confirmed that TalkTalk and Infracapital will not move forward on the basis of the ‘heads of terms’ announced in February 2018. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, TalkTalk revealed that month it was in discussions with Infracapital with a view to providing ‘full fibre rollout across the UK’, agreeing ‘heads of terms’ with that company with regards to the creation of an independent company in which the latter would own 80% and TalkTalk 20%.