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Openreach consumer fibre services pass ten million homes
Thursday 10 May 2012 09:55:15 by Andrew Ferguson

Openreach is rightly proud of its achievement rolling out its fibre based services to cover an area comprising some ten million premises across the UK. This is some months ahead of the original deadline for this figure that was the end of 2012.

With the figures for fibre services sold by BT Retail, and TalkTalk adding a mere 5,000, Sky figures are probably in the 100's as they have just launched their service, we can estimate a total number of sales around the 570,000 mark, giving a take-up of 5.8%. There are around 60 providers selling the services, other names include AAISP, ADSL24, aquiss, claranet, Eclipse,, IDNet, plusnet, Timico, Vispa, Vivaciti, Web Tapestry and Zen Internet.

Ten million premises means a coverage figure of 37%, the majority of this will be fibre to the cabinet, with the FTTP full fibre service available in just 6 to 10 areas at present. Northern Ireland is ahead of the curve in terms of coverage, as fibre services are available 89% of homes and businesses due to the partnership between BT and the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment.

The original 40 Mbps FTTC service, saw speed upgrades start in November 2011 to offer a maximum of 80 Mbps, as extra frequencies were allocated over the copper segment, then in April 2012 the speed cap was removed, and providers have been selling the new faster service. We should highlight the fact that for those whose VDSL2 modem connects at under 40 Mbps, regrading to an 80 Mbps service is unlikely to boost speeds, since the faster profile runs on all FTTC lines already. For those keen to get an idea of what their speed is, you can always play the guess my home to cabinet line length and drool over the potential speeds using the speed table in our Fibre Guide.

The rush to meet the targets may explain why so many people know of work to install a fibre cabinet in their area, but it is not yet live. The pressure is on teams to keep working at full tilt, rather than pause and wait for things like duct blockages to be cleared, or permission for ducting to be installed to get power to the cabinet. The end result is a growing number of partially installed fibre cabinets, and people seeing fibre tubing installed in FTTP areas, but no fibre going live.

The question many want to know now, is will their area be enabled by the time Openreach completes its two thirds roll-out, and as Openreach keep the roll-out information closely guarded it is any ones guess. The next phase after the commercial roll-out, will depend on what happens with the various BDUK projects, BT has Lancashire in the bag, in Rutland they are the preferred supplier and has bids under consideration in other parts of the UK. BT has undertook to invest more of its own money, something the LSE failed to take into account when scaring people with the £1.1bn shortfall announcement.

Update 1:30pm: We asked Openreach about the issue of Exchange Only lines back in April 2012, and received a response regarding those lines or groups of lines run directly from the exchange, which is usually those closest to the exchange or new estates located further from the exchange. Openreach has said that where technically and economically feasible they will provide either a FTTC (via new cabinet) or FTTP service, this is done on a case-by-case basis as the roll-outs progress. We believe pressure to hit the 66% figure as soon as possible, means these areas will mainly be waiting until 2014, or for the various BDUK projects to start producing results.


Posted by MCM999 over 5 years ago
Whilst BDUK will hopefully bring solutions to those areas missed in BT's commercial roll-out BT still needs to work out what it is going to do with those on EO lines. Not all EO lines are short, for example my line is just under 3 Km in length and there are 75+ such lines on the development where I live in central London.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@MCM999 I have an answer to the EO issue, will add a footnote to the article, as am sure plenty would like to know.
Posted by MCM999 over 5 years ago
Thanks for the update. I hope that BT will consider 75 units viable for a new PCP and associated FTTC cabinet or even better FTTP. Hyperoptic surveyed our site and quoted £15K+VAT to install fibre. That we were prepared to accept however the killer was an annual service charge of over £7k+VAT, all in addition to individual connection and monthly packages.
Posted by fastman over 5 years ago
mcM999 can you drop you requirements into www.openreach, -- think there is a email adddess you can ask such things -
Posted by MCM999 over 5 years ago
@fastman. I filled in the OR "superfast fibre" web page some time ago and naturally have heard nothing since, however at that time I was unaware that my line was EO. Thanks for the prompt and I will now make an new submission.
Posted by tthom over 5 years ago
how can you know if your line is EO?
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
So the growth stats for BT Retail, Sky and Virgin this quarter are:

All Broadband Fast BB
BT 2% 30%
Sky 6% NA
Virgin 1% 25%

With 6% of cable customers now on the 50Mbps+ services and 9% of BT customers on Infinity.
Posted by connormill over 5 years ago
I have an Exchange Only line, and my area is in the process of getting FTTC, any idea how I would go about getting my line connected to the FTTC cab, or how I would go about getting FTTP-On-Demand?

I would be looking to go for BT Infinity's top package, 80/20

Anyone got any ideas would be great! Thanks
Posted by connormill over 5 years ago
There is a FTTC cab right next to my front door, I can see the bloody thing! But when these houses were built they were done EO for one reason or another. Don't know if that makes a difference or not.

I wouldn't mind paying for a second "Fibre-Only" line, or paying the install fee's for FTTP-on-Demand
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
If someone emails me in the morning about the EO I will ask if there is a contact I can pass people onto.
Posted by connormill over 5 years ago
Thanks very much Andrew, If you need to get in touch, I'm sure you'll have my email address linked to my username, or send me a PM in the forum.
Posted by RandomJointer over 5 years ago
No chance of anybody making a business case for cutting a new cabinet in for 75 connections = best hope of 20 of who would take the service.
Posted by herdwick over 5 years ago
Roughly how much would a cabinet cut in cost RJ ?

Anyone asked OFCOM / NICC / Openreach / BT Wholesale about exchange based VDSL ?
Posted by dandodex over 5 years ago
Email sent Andrew.

I live in a terraced house in London-Clerkenwell (EC1V), exchange only lines for the group of 14 houses in the mews, 3-4 Km length to the London Kings Cross (CLKXX) exchange, get 5-6 Mb.

I hope Openreach comes up with some solution.
Posted by connormill over 5 years ago
The thing that bugs me is that I am on a EO line, yet I can see the FTTC cab, I can follow the ducts from my front door and they go right past the cab, connecting my line to it would be so trivial, but it probably won't get done
Posted by Keyholder over 5 years ago
where is the link / page to request an EOL ( exchange only Line ) as im stuck on a crap 16 meg conection with 1mb uplaod from sky, yet my exchange is only 100 foot or less away ???

There is also no sign of FTTC or FTTP on any bt's schedules as of yet :(

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