While BT is very often the company people love to complain about, particularly in respect to its commercial fibre programme, it is out there doing something, and that something is now set to complete during Spring 2014.
"The fact we are able to set an earlier target for the completion of our commercial roll-out is a fantastic testament to the ongoing hard work of our engineers. We look forward to welcoming many more engineers to Openreach over the coming months as we step up our recruitment drive to help connect fibre to more homes and businesses across the UK."Liv Garfield, Openreach CEO
The commercial roll-out should see a FTTx solution available to some two thirds of UK premises, and Spring 2014 is 18 months ahead of the original target date. The roll-out currently passes some 12 million homes, and take up is 950,000 and importantly the amount of wholesale activity is increasing. BT Retail and its Infinity products account for 875,000 connections, the increased advertising from Sky and TalkTalk is starting to have an impact.
While the vast majority of the fibre roll-out is a partial fibre solution in the form of FTTC, the pure FTTP footprint should increase significantly in the next year. Even if Openreach only manages a 10% pure FTTP footprint, that still means some 2.5 million premises will have access to it. 2013 will also see the launch of Fibre on Demand (FoD), where those keen to get FTTP can pay a higher installation fee, probably in the order of £500 to £1500.
The push to complete the commercial roll-out is important, as with BT winning BDUK/local authority contracts it will soon be busy pushing its network from the two-thirds coverage to between 85% and 97% depending on the area of the country. The first part of the UK to see connections via a BDUK project is likely to be North Yorkshire, where the first connections are expected in Jan/Feb 2013 (six months after the contract was signed).