First locations announced as part of the Openreach 1 million SME march
For businesses operating in Bath, Bradford, Bristol, City of London, Holborn, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Salford and Westminster with no existing access to an Openreach VDSL2 or FTTP product then you may be in luck as the Gigabit FTTP service roll-out is targeting these areas in the first phase of its eventual aim to pass 1 million business premises. The nine areas will see the service appear over a nine month period.
"Our aim is to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. SMEs have told us they want an alternative to dedicated lines and that is what we are going to give them.
Openreach has been trialling new deployment methods for FTTP in Bradford and I am pleased to say the trials have progressed very well. Now that we have proved the new techniques we will begin our wider roll-out, starting with these nine new locations.
Hundreds of thousands of consumers will also benefit over the next few years as we continue our work to plug any remaining fibre broadband gaps. This targeted approach will help to deliver the ambition we share with government to improve broadband speeds in the final five per cent of the country.
The first phase of the deployment focuses on areas which boast strong science and technology sectors, including the Bristol and Bath technology hub and the cities which are integral to the ‘Northern Powerhouse'."Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach
The current Openreach FTTP footprint of 300,000 premises passed is 1% of the UK, so the expansion will be a welcome boost up the FTTH league tables, particularly when you add the pure fibre work from others such as Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, KCom and Gigaclear.
While the headline is around 1 million premises we don't believe these nine areas will add up to anywhere close to the 1 million premises, i.e. between now and 2020 there will be many more announcements and areas benefiting and this is on top of any deployment via the BDUK process. As always we will be monitoring the roll-out, just as we are with the Virgin Media deployments and other broadband improvements in the UK.
For the nine areas announced today the focus is on SMEs operating in high streets, science and business parks, along with other clusters that seem to pop-up over time, but there will be overspill into residential areas, we expect a lot of this to be the classic UK high street where there are a couple of flats above shops and are those more likely to be exchange only line based due to the proximity of the telephone exchange.
We have started to see the first live FTTP users in the Taw Hill area of Swindon (this follows on from the Haydon Wick area) which is one of the trial areas for much of the new working practices that are helping to reduce the hours of labour cost involved in rolling out FTTP and will feature in the Gigabit FTTP roll-out. We are also spotting various bits of MDU FTTP in London and BDUK projects rolling out FTTP, with some sixteen chunks of FTTP added to our coverage figures in the last couple of days.