Connectivity Matters

As we wave goodbye to our copper legacy, albeit incredibly slowly, the industry is now in a position where it needs to push for full-fibre and embrace new connectivity options on offer. At the recent TalkTalk Business Connectivity Matters event, held at the Ministry of Sound in London, David Dungay spoke to Director of Partners Richard Thompson about the demand for FTTP services.

CBM: What is the ethos behind Connectivity Matters?

Richard Thompson (RT): There is so much change going on the industry, particularly in the next two to five years with the pivot from copper to fibre. Today is all about getting our partners together and having open dialogue. We are trying to work out ways where we can help our partners with the transition.

I think we have been guilty of giving partners functional information in the past, i.e. a product followed by a price. We are trying to get away from that.

CBM: What challenges for the Channel with FTTP?

RT: No one provider is going to give you ubiquitous coverage. Openreach has a product they can offer in a limited footprint. There is a whole heap of altnets that can divide it up. Our plan is to offer ubiquitous FTTP coverage throughout the UK, we will consume it through Openreach but we will also consume it through other providers. We are architecting our systems so we can do that and we think that is a key point of differentiation versus someone like BT Wholesale for example. They will only be able to consume it through Openreach, we can consume it through multiple providers. We will simplify that interface layer and then partners can buy FTTP irrespective of who the provider is at the same price point. We will make that really simple and clean to consume for partners.

People talk about the application layer a lot but then forget the underlying infrastructure. You can’t have all these great applications unless the plumbing is right. We do describe ourselves as great plumbers. FTTP and a full-fibre Britain is going to be critical in driving the economy and UK business. It is a big transition and it requires TalkTalk, as well as our competitors, to drive that agenda.

CBM: What about 5G? What impact will that have on the market?

RT: I don’t want to say a lot on this but, will 5G provide a whole host of benefits to businesses? Absolutely. Will the fixed line providers still dominate the connectivity market in that space? I think so yes. There is no reason why the two can’t co-exist, but I do think there is a lot more around 5G technology which needs to be proven first.

CBM: Where are the opportunities for partners right now?

RT: I think it’s important to align yourself with the right partner at the moment. They need to be thinking about who they can grow into new technologies with and align to someone in the right space, with the scale to deliver, and with the portals and APIs which will make it really easy to consume these new technologies.

I also think there is great opportunity to add P&L benefit with insights. We are delivering some real tangible differences within our business through big data insights, specifically on broadband. We are transferring that into ethernet services and the other product ranges also. It is transformational in terms of reducing churn, reducing operating costs, it’s really powerful.

There isn’t one use case that could be applied to every single partner. Nick Hill runs our data team at TalkTalk Business, I would encourage partners to engage with Nick and his team. We would get that team face to face with partners and look at their business and really understand what they are trying to achieve. We would then look at how we leverage the network insights coupled with the partners localised data and how the two can come together.

“Our plan is to offer ubiquitous FTTP coverage throughout the UK, we will consume it through Openreach but we will also consume it through other providers.” Richard Thompson, Director of Partners at TalkTalk Business

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine