UK ISP TalkTalk has suspended its attempt to sell FibreNation, the business unit that is in the process of rolling out a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to three million homes and businesses. According to The Times, the decision was prompted by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pre-election pledge to nationalise BT’s Openreach network unit, with a view to offering a free fibre-optic broadband connection to everyone in Britain.
Prior to Corbyn’s eye-catching announcement, a sale agreement was believed to be imminent, with UK business daily City AM reporting that Goldman Sachs-backed alternative provider CityFibre was in pole position for the takeover. Indeed, TalkTalk delayed the publication of its quarterly financials last week, prompting industry insiders to observe that a deal was close.
In the event, TalkTalk published its results on 15 November, admitting that it was still in ‘ongoing advanced negotiations with interested parties’ regarding its sale of FibreNation. As per the telco’s interim results, FibreNation’s FTTP network passed 43,000 homes at 30 September 2019. All homes passed are in York, although construction has started in Dewsbury and Harrogate.