British alternative broadband provider Sky is reportedly discussing a potential investment in a new full fibre network being considered by Liberty Global, the Financial Times reports. According the news outlet, Liberty Global has appointed investment bank LionTree to find partners for a new joint venture (JV) company that will roll out pure fibre infrastructure to millions of premises outside the most populated areas of the UK. It is understood that the investment bank formally registered the new JV as Liberty Fibre Ltd with Companies House last week, while it has been suggested that Liberty Global’s local subsidiary, Virgin Media, will be the anchor tenant for the business. Liberty Global is expected to apply to local telecoms regulator Ofcom for ‘code powers’ – the necessary approval to start building a network – in the near future, while it expects to start laying new fibre by next summer, according to an unnamed source with direct knowledge of the timetable.
Meanwhile, the report – citing three people with ‘direct knowledge of the situation – claims that in recent weeks Sky has opened talks over participating in the JV, both as investor and customer. These discussions are, however, said to be at an early stage. Further, it was noted that Sky is holding separate discussions regarding a wholesale deal to use Virgin Media’s existing cable network.