Openreach pledges fibre rollout to loads more UK locations

Openreach has announced plans to hook up 517 more locations in the UK, topping up its number of connected homes and businesses by 2.7 million.

Andrew Wooden

May 28, 2024

2 Min Read
source: openreach

The new tranche of locations includes 400,000 premises in the ‘hardest to reach, most rural parts of the UK – of which it highlights Tobermory in Scotland, Haworth in West Yorkshire, Saundersfoot in South Wales, Pinxton in Derbyshire, Harlow in Essex, Southampton in Hampshire, and Roborough in Devon.

The new locations constitute the rest of Openreach’s £15 billion build programme which targets 25 million homes by 2026. Around 3,500 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets are now included in the company’s plans, we’re told, and it intends to hook up 30 million premises by the end of the decade – ‘assuming conditions for investment remain supportive’, which sounds like it leaves some wiggle room.

Describing its progress in laying fibre across the country in a more illustrative fashion, Openreach says it is hooking up 78,000 premises every week ‘the equivalent of a town the size of Wakefield’, and that apparently means another home or business could order a new full fibre service every six seconds.

More than 4.7 million homes and businesses have upgraded to full fibre via providers using the Openreach network thus far, with more than 50,000 orders being placed a week, we’re told.

“This is a UK infrastructure success story. We’re on track and on-budget to make this life-changing broadband technology available to 25 million homes and businesses, and no company is building faster or further in Europe, that we’re aware of,” said Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach. “We won’t be stopping there either. We plan to build right across the UK, from cities and towns to far-flung farms and island communities. Ultimately, we’ll reach as many as 30 million premises by the end of the decade if there’s a supportive political and regulatory environment.

“Over time, we’ve learnt to deliver predictably, consistently and at a rapid pace - despite this being a hugely complex national engineering project. That gives us confidence to be even clearer about our build plans, and we want to be as transparent as possible about where and when we’re building. Today we’re publishing more detail than ever about the places we’re building in now, and the communities we’ll be upgrading next.”

Alongside all this, Openreach has revamped its online map and postcode checker 'to give the public a clearer, regularly updated view of its plans and progress between now and 2026.’ The map now shows the levels of current and future expected full fibre coverage based on data from its build programmes, we’re told.

In terms of the competition, earlier this month Opensignal put out a report which will be pleasant reading for the wholesale challenger entity being put together by VMO2, Telefónica and Liberty Global. It stated: "We have seen that within VMO2's footprint, our users on its network on average have a more consistent and faster experience than those with ISPs that are Openreach tenants, while also having a better experience when streaming on-demand video over Wi-Fi connections.”

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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