Costings of the full-fat fibre (or FTTC) deployment to UK houses and businesses revealed by BT CEO
The head of BT Group has revealed the cost of deploying fibre to the premise (FTTP) in the United Kingdom.
The costings are important, considering that Boris Johnson in June had called for a fibre rollout to ‘every home in the land’ in five years’ time (2025) – a decade earlier than current estimates.
Last month Openreach said it had added 36 new locations where it will be building its ‘future-proof’ FTTP broadband technology over the next 12 months.
Into this the CEO of BT Group, Philip Jansen, revealed during BT’s latest earnings call last week how Openreach anticipates that reaching the final 10 percent of UK premises with 1 Gbps capable FTTP broadband will actually cost.
Jansen was quoted by ISPreview as saying that the technology would likely to require an “outlay of around £4,000 each to pass” for the final 10 percent (or hardest to wire up parts of the UK).
This means it would like cost £4,000 to wire up each UK premise located in that tricky last 10 percent of the UK.
ISPreview also reported that it would cost £300-£400 to deploy FTTP for the first 50 percent of premises (i.e. the low hanging fruit or easiest to wire up locations).
“Alongside these enablers across the country, public funding will probably be needed to bring FTTP to the hardest to reach 10% of the UK population [mostly rural areas but a few urban ones too] and to address enduring mobile not spots,” Jansen was quoted as saying by ISPreview. “It is crucial at this that this public funding that is used as efficiently and effectively as possible without undue bureaucracy and duplication to make sure that the UK gets the maximum digital bang for its buck.”
At present Openreach aims to reach 4 million premises by March 2021 with FTTP and there’s an ambition for 15 million by around 2025.
There are nearly 30 million premises in the UK, but after that 15 million by 2025 goal, BT will only commit to an aspiration to reach “the majority of the UK, if the right conditions to invest are in place”.
This will mean an injection of public money, or tax relief on business rates and other conditions etc.
Meanwhile the industry awaits to see what the government will offer to help in the deployment of FTTP.
The government has in the past set a goal of 2033 for the rollout of fibre to all premises, a target Johnson, who in June was then the front-running the Conservative Party leadership candidate, called “laughably unambitious”.
But now Johnson is Prime Minister.
It is thought that there are 27 million homes in the UK still connected to Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), which makes use of copper connections from the green street cabinet to the home.
Openreach is already deploying FTTP in 74 locations, including large cities such as Birmingham, Belfast, London, and Manchester. It says on average it makes FTTP available to more than 20,000 new homes and businesses every week across the UK. Currently, more than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the UK have access to FTTP connectivity.
In May Ofcom announced new rules to provide greater access to the telegraph poles and underground pipes (ducts) belonging to Openreach.
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