Openreach Reveals New Destinations In Full Fibre Build Update

Openreach has updated its latest full fibre build plans, revealing that another 19 locations, which will cover 200,000 new premises, will be added to the FTTP deployment.

It said that the gigabit-capable technology will now be added to locations spread across the UK in both rural and urban areas including: Chichester in West Sussex, Broughton in Greater Manchester, Perth in Scotland, and Pantymwyn in Wales.

Overall, a total of 2,829 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets are now included in the Company’s build FTTP programme.

FTTP locations

People can check their postcode here to see if and when their location will be included in the full fibre deployment.

Openreach recently passed more than 11.5 million premises across the UK, including around 3.7m million in the hardest to serve ‘final third’ of the country.

Openreach said it already has more than 3 million homes and businesses that have taken up an ultrafast service over the Openreach network – a healthy take up rate of more than 30 percent.

Last month Openreach revealed it is saving money by installing a piece of kit called ‘Subtended Headends’ (SHE), into green street cabinets.

Subtended Headends install in East Clandon, Surrey.
Image credit Openreach

Essentially it helps Openreach avoid having to undertake expensive civil works (i..e. digging up roads etc), and has allowed Openreach to save £10 million per year in FTTP build costs.

Openreach has been using SHE since 2019, and they are said to be mini exchanges that allow Openreach to deploy a new full fibre network three times further (over 200km) by boosting the optical signal. It also allows Openreach to cut build time by up to six months.

Last week BT Openreach confirmed that it has now put ‘the stopper on copper’, after the UK telecoms carrier halted the sale of new copper-based telephones lines.

That came after more than a century of it and its predecessor (the General Post Office etc) utilising the versatile material as a backbone to build the UK’s public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Ambitious target

Openreach is currently in the process of transitioning the UK to a full fibre network (FTTP), after the government had set an ambitious target of making 1Gbps capable broadband available to at least 85 percent of the country by 2025.

To help achieve this target, the UK regulator Ofcom in March 2021 agreed the pricing and other conditions needed for Openreach parent BT to commit £12 billion of its own money for the rollout of FTTP.

Following Ofcom’s pricing agreement, Openreach announced in May 2021 that it would increase and expand its build out of Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) to 25 million premises, despite having to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic at the time.

But the Covid pandemic did have an impact, and Openreach now intends to connect 25 million premises to full fibre by the end of December 2026 instead.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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