The predominant use of VDSL2 technology in the roll-outs from Openreach since 2009 is widely criticised but it has meant that some 25 million premises are now passed by the Openreach network with either a VDSL2 solution or for a small number FTTP.
The 25 million does not include a base line speed, so will include premises too far from the cabinet to benefit from superfast speeds, but as we are finding for many of those the VDSL2 speeds are still better than the ADSL or ADSL2+ speeds they had available. The Openreach press release highlights that availability at superfast speeds is roughly double that of France and UK take-up is 50% higher than in Germany, twice as high as Spain and twelve times that of Italy.
"The UK is making great progress with fibre broadband. Availability and take up are well ahead of most European countries and I’d like to thank the thousands of Openreach engineers who have worked so tirelessly to make this happen.
The job isn’t finished however and we are working hard to get coverage to 95 per cent and above. We are also exploring how we can improve speeds for the million or so premises in the final few per cent of the country.
Our approach has delivered affordable superfast services to the vast majority of the country in the fastest possible time. We want to build upon that by making ultrafast broadband available to most of the UK. We will do this using a mix of G.fast technology and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), with the latter focused mainly on new developments and small businesses in high streets and business parks."Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach
The criticism of Openreach tends to follow two paths, either the roll-out is too slow and people just want anything better so they can watch streamed video and then the other path is criticism for not using a FTTP heavy roll-out and thus having to revisit areas in the next few years for the G.fast roll-out. To accelerate the roll-out generally means a larger workforce, but to also commit to a high proportion of FTTP means a substantially larger workforce with the attendant rise in costs due salaries and the other costs of employing people.