Advanced Television

BT Openreach turns to fibre?

July 18, 2017

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, has said 10 million UK premises could access fibre by the mid-2020s. Selley has shifted the company towards FTTP since taking over last year, made the comments as he launched a consultation with its service provider customers. The company said it wanted to identify whether there is “widespread demand” for a large-scale FTTP network.

It cited a range of “enablers” that it said were necessary for such a network to be built, such as new investment, risk and cost sharing models, and agreements on how the “mass migration” of customers onto the new platform could be achieved.

Other enablers include improved planning and traffic management processes, as well as a legal and regulatory environment to encourage investment, it said.

The UK government officially launched its £400 million (€450m) Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) this month, which it said would unlock over £1 billion for pure fibre broadband roll outs, and cut business rates.

Selley has committed Openreach to connecting two million homes and businesses to FTTP by 2020, still a tiny proportion of its copper delivery.

The new intervention represents a change in tone from BT and Openreach, which has previously talked up the benefits of a multi-technology approach.

“Full fibre broadband is faster, more reliable and simpler to maintain, and it has the potential to power the UK’s economic success for a century….By using new techniques, we recently halved the cost of delivering ‘full fibre’ infrastructure, but building a large-scale network is still a huge commercial, technical and logistical challenge that’s going to need real ingenuity, flexibility and coordination across government and industry,” Selley said

“With the right conditions we believe we could make FTTP available to as many as 10 million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s, but we need to understand if there’s sufficient demand to justify the roll-out, and support for the enablers needed to build a viable business case.”

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