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Full fibre from Openreach is now available to 12.5 million premises, marking the halfway point towards its 25 million target by 2026.
December 7, 2023
The firm says it is lighting up around 60k new premises a week - or the equivalent of a town the size of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, it adds by way of illustration. As an additional metric, it says it passes a new building every ten seconds.
The current target for the project – which it tallies up to £15 billion investment – is 25 million buildings by 2026, and after that it says it will reach 30 million by the end of 2030.
More than four million homes and businesses have already connected to the new network, claims Openreach, and its full fibre service is growing at 30k new orders every week.
“This is a national infrastructure project that’s a genuine success story,” said Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach. “We’re delivering engineering on an epic scale, on time and on budget – and that’s thanks to a supportive policy environment which has led to huge investment and competition throughout the UK’s telecoms sector.
“From a standing start just a few years ago, we’ve now made this life-changing technology available to 12.5 million premises and counting and we’re building faster than any operator I’m aware of in Europe. Our build rate is still accelerating and it’ll take us half the time to reach our next 12.5 million. But we won’t be stopping there. Ultimately, we’ll reach up to 30 million premises by the end of the decade - unlocking a raft of economic and social benefits by supporting new models of commerce, healthcare and public services.”
The release cites claims by the Centre for Economics and Business Research which state that a ‘full fibre transformation’ could give a boost to the output of the UK economy to the tune of £72 billion in 2030.
There is also a lot of noise made about how many otherwise poorly connected rural areas have been hooked up during the process, and that as a result of all this increased capacity an estimated 431,000 new workers could enter the workforce by 2026 – which seems like a tricky thing to put a figure on but there you have it.
According to data published by Ofcom in September, more than half of UK homes now have full fibre broadband coverage, but while the UK telecoms regulator is upbeat on progress in its latest connectivity report, fibre growth slowed in the first few months of 2023 and there are question marks over government targets on Gigabit broadband.
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