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BT claims two thirds of UK premises passed by fibre based service
Thursday 08 May 2014 10:06:45 by Andrew Ferguson

The figure of 19 million premises in the UK now having the option to order a fibre based service from one of the providers who use the Openreach network is an important one for the stats watchers. 19m works out at a magical two thirds of UK premises and when combined with the Virgin Media footprint means some 73% of UK premises have the option to order something that has a higher proportion of fibre than traditional ASDL networks.

The 19 million does include 630,000 premises where FTTC (maybe a few FTTP) services have been made available via the 44 BDUK projects (there are two more projects still in procurement). The BT press release describes the 630,000 as 'largely rural' which is not a phrase we would have chosen, since a good number of the cabinets we have tracked in announcements are on the edges of larger towns or an estate that is in a rural area, but would not look rural from the front garden.

"Fibre broadband is the future and BT has invested billions of pounds to ensure as many people as possible can benefit. The early achievement of this milestone marks the culmination of several years of hard work by our engineers and planners. They have pulled out all the stops to bring fibre to a vast expanse of the country over a very short period and I would like to thank them for their efforts and commitment.

Great progress has been made but we aren't stopping here. We need to ensure as many people as possible have access to fibre and that is why our engineering teams are working hard to extend the digital superhighway into rural areas.

The UK broadband market is intensely competitive and consumers are enjoying fantastic value for money. Broadband speeds have increased dramatically over the last decade whereas prices have tumbled. Customers are the winners."

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive, BT Group

The figure for those with the religious belief that premises passed is not the metric to use will prefer the number connected which is 2.7m Openreach fibre customers plus 4.4m Virgin Media to give a total of 7.1 m fibre based broadband connections (we are not sure why BT claim a smaller 6m, unless there around 1 million greedy premises with two fibre based connections).

Update 11:45am The lower figure of 6m accounts that BT uses appears to take into account that only 77% of Virgin Media customers are on a 30 Mbps or faster service. The higher 7.1m is reasonable though if referring to a fibre based service rather than one with a minimum speed qualification.

"The UK now has the widest fibre availability of the top five European economies as well as the highest take up rate. Commercial operators like BT, with support from Government, are delivering one of the fastest roll outs of fibre in the world and these figures demonstrate that the Government’s aim to provide access to superfast speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017 is well on track."

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey

Openreach may be sweating its copper assets but in a cold commercial world the lower costs and speed of FTTC deployment make total sense. The current Government (and previous Labour) projects also had such tight deadlines and limited funding that a more FTTH rich deployment in the rural areas was never going to happen. While the Fibre on Demand (FTTP option in areas where FTTC is available) is widely criticised for its pricing, it does show that Openreach has planned ahead and has put in place the basic infrastructure for a GPON deployment in maybe 10 to 15 years, when the improvements from vectoring are feeling like basic broadband of 2012.


Posted by gh22 over 2 years ago
Nice article Andrew! Any ideas for how many premises passed for FTTH and FTTod? Is FTTod available to all premesis where FTTC is available?
Posted by zyborg47 over 2 years ago
BT seems to be blasting me with emails and leaflets lately, and over the last 4 months it have got worse. I had something through the letterbox yesterday about something called BT extra, I have no idea what it is as it went in the bin.
I get a email every week from Bt, sometimes two.
So it seems as it Bt is trying to get more customer. I can't see myself ever going back to bloated toad to be honest.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Openreach native FTTP is around 100,000 to 110,000

FoD is in the few million as an option, but need to check on the actual numbers.
Posted by Dixinormous over 2 years ago
Any idea what happens when you remove Cornwall from the equation, IE how many premises did Openreach pay for themselves as far as FTTP goes?

Interesting that BT Group were happy to allocate £10 billion in CapEx over five years for 21CN but expect us to be grateful over their spending £1.3 billion to last results on NGA.

The 'planning ahead' - at least some cabinets are backhauled with GPON / 1000Base-BX. Not so planned ahead given this 1,800 premises pair of estates in UK's 3rd largest city have no aggregation node within 1km.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Need to work through my Cornish data.

It is a case of lots of time to check/prove things but very little payback beyond that.
Posted by themanstan over 2 years ago
I'm wondering if Openreach's pricing for FTTPoD is a business decision to limit resources being used on it, till FTTC is essentially complete... i.e. they don't need the distraction, but if someone is prepared to open their wallet and pay the eye watering price that is on offer they'll do so.
At a later date when they have the manpower to do so as BDUK winds down, so will the price wind down?
Posted by jumpmum over 2 years ago
Interesting to not the £55m claimed for BDUK covered 315k premises so £174 each has been claimed this quarter. Obviously the expensive ones to come still. "While our commercial fibre build is nearing completion, we have maintained the same intensity of overall fibre rollout through the BDUK programme. We received £55m of grant funding in the quarter relating to this"
Posted by michaels_perry over 2 years ago
Two questions: What is FTTPod and what are its benefits? How do they define 'premises passed'?
Where I live our exchange still does not have a date for any fibre work so we're all stuck on less than speedy ADSL Max.
Posted by PaulKirby over 2 years ago
Well we are part of the 66% to be fibred up with FTTP and we are still waiting for the other half of our road to be fibred up.
It says the following on site "Part of BT's 66% Commercial Plan" and that we are Phase 05b which I have heard has come and gone so what's happened to us?
We was originally suppose to be fibred up since 2011 and still nothing.
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