UK digital infrastructure provider Openreach has hit its first target of making Full Fibre broadband technology available to 4.5 million premises across the UK by the end of March 2021, meaning millions of families, businesses and public sector organisations can now order ultrafast, ultra-reliable connectivity from a host of competing Communications Providers.
Despite the huge upheaval caused by the pandemic, Openreach says its key worker engineers have been working safely throughout the country to keep people connected and to continue extending the network, meaning it has hit this interim target just ahead of its original schedule.
“We’re continuing to accelerate the programme – having built Full Fibre to more than 1.9 million premises so far this year,” says Openreach, confirming it is on track to get to 20 million premises by the mid to late 2020s – at which point nearly two-thirds of the UK will be able to order Full Fibre services over its network.
So far, Openreach has included more than 170 city locations in its multi-billion-pound build, including the UK’s biggest cities (Birmingham, Belfast, London and Manchester). “We’re also building in more than 550 market towns and villages, and we’re partnering with local and national government on a range of subsidised projects,” it notes, adding that its Community Fibre Partnership scheme is reaching areas not in anyone’s current commercial plans.
Openreach accepts that it isn’t the only company delivering against the Government’s 2025 ‘Gigabit broadband’ ambition, but claims it is making the biggest investment – around £12 billion – has the biggest ambition and is building at the fastest pace in rural and urban communities all over the UK.
“Our build includes more than three million premises in the UK’s hardest to reach areas – the so called final third and we’d love to see others step up and do the same,” it declares. “We’re also encouraged to see such strong customer demand for our Full Fibre services too, with more retail Communication Providers coming on board and new orders reaching a rate of around 17,000 per week, on average, during the last quarter,” it advises.