Advanced Television

Openreach boosts broadband upgrade

May 28, 2024

By Colin Mann

UK digital infrastructure provider Openreach has published updated plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to 517 more locations across the UK – covering a further 2.7 million homes and businesses.

The new tranche of locations includes 400,000 premises in the hardest to reach, most rural parts of the UK with a spread across the UK, including 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 work is all part of Openreach’s £15 billion (€17.6 bn) project to upgrade the UK’s broadband infrastructure – making gigabit-capable technology available to 25 million homes and businesses by the end of 2026, including 6.2 million in rural areas.

Work is on track, with the company intending to go even further – to as many as 30 million premises by the end of the decade – assuming conditions for investment remain supportive.

“This is a UK infrastructure success story,” declared Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach. “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.”

“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,” he advised.

Openreach is building its next-generation network to more than 78,000 premises every week – the equivalent of a town the size of Wakefield – and that means another home or business could order a new Full Fibre service every six seconds.

Overall, around 3,500 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets are now included in the company’s build programme and, as the network grows, so does the number of people wanting to benefit from this transformational technology.

More than 4.7 million homes and businesses have already upgraded to Full Fibre via dozens of communications providers using the Openreach network and demand continues to flow, with more than 50,000 orders being placed per week.

Openreach has also taken the opportunity to refresh 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 as of the current day, taking data from all of its major build programmes, whilst the postcode checker continues to offer the most personalised view of the connectivity available to an individual home or business. Further updates will be provided as any additional locations are added in future.

The new map data will also continue to show regularly updated exchanges where Openreach has stopped the sale of legacy copper products where Full Fibre is available to the majority of premises (>75 per cent). By summer 2024, these ‘stop sell’ rules will be active in more than 700 exchanges – covering around six million premises.

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