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Ofcom approves BT fibre broadband to 20m homes

March 18, 2021

Ofcom has published its statement on the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review (WFTMR) that sets out how Ofcom will regulate telecom fixed access services for the five years from April 1st. The statement sets out how the media regulator will stimulate next generation Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband investment across the UK.

Dame Melanie Dawes, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Over the past year, being connected has never mattered more. But millions of homes are still using the copper lines that were first laid over 100 years ago. Now it’s time to ramp up the rollout of better broadband across the UK. We’re playing our part – setting the right conditions for companies to step up and invest in the country’s full-fibre future. This is a once-in-a-century chance to help make the UK a world-leading digital economy.”

Based on an initial assessment, BT believes that the document is broadly in line with the expectations laid out at its Q3 2020/21 financial results and, when taken as a whole, will allow the telco to earn a “fair return” on its c.£12 billion FTTP investment.

As a result, BT is has confirmed its plan to build FTTP to 20 million premises by the mid- to late-2020s.

Philip Jansen, Chief Executive, BT Group said: “This is good news for all fibre providers in the UK. For us, it is the greenlight we’ve been waiting for to get on and build like fury. Full fibre broadband will be the foundation of a strong BT for decades to come and a shot in the arm for the UK as we build back better from this pandemic. Connecting the country has never been more vital”.

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach added: “We’ve now passed almost 4.5 million premises and are building faster, at lower cost and higher quality than anyone else in the UK. Today’s regulation will allow us to ramp up to 3 million premises per year providing vital next generation connectivity for homes and business right across the UK”

BT added that further details of its build plan will be announced once it has undertaken a full review of the WFTMR statement and has a better understanding of any further government support available to aid the industry’s roll-out of FTTP.



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