1 million premises passed with full fibre by Openreach milestone reached
The pace of the Openreach full fibre roll-out has been picking up for some time and with the declarations in their last financial statement issued at the end of January 2019 it was always likely that the 1 million premises mark would be hit in Q1 2019 and our tracking of the roll-out can report that on the evening of 3rd April 2019 we hit a figure of 1,003,094 premises where Openreach FTTP was available to order.
There has been a surge in what we have been finding since it was only 17 days ago that we had just passed the 900,000 premises mark and this is down to a surge in the amount of Fibre First areas showing live FTTP especially Northern Ireland where in the last month full fibre coverage has leapt from 90,000 premises to 128,000 premises with the increase concentrated in the Belfast area and we expect to find more. The two latest exchanges where we have seen Fibre First coverage appear for the first time are Knock (Belfast) and Colinton (Edinburgh).
Hitting and passing the 1 million target is not the end of the story since in a few days under two years Openreach needs to have delivered another two million premises and if the pace seen in 2019 continues then we are expecting to see the 3 million target hit in January or February 2021.
Openreach is not the only operator rolling out full fibre and another milestone was hit recently and our tracking of all the FTTP operators shows the UK footprint is at 2,047,954 premises. So Openreach contributing just under 50% of that figure means it is the largest full fibre operator and looks likely to remain so for a good number of years.
The Fibre First roll-out from Openreach is concentrated into a number of exchanges and that makes tracking the coverage levels simpler and we can share our list of Fibre First exchanges and the current levels of Openreach FTTP coverage within them. This particular set of figures make no distinction between the old commercial roll-out (mainly Thornthon Heath), new build and Fibre First but does show how some areas are racing towards very high levels of full fibre availability.
|Exchange||% coverage Openreach FTTP|
|AbbeyHill - Edinburgh||16.9%|
|Ballysillan - Belfast||55.3%|
|Balmoral - Belfast||22.5%|
|Beacon - Birmingham||18.2%|
|Bedminster - Bristol||61%|
|Birchfield - Birmingham||53.8%|
|Bishopsworth - Bristol||1.1%|
|Chapeltown - Leeds||2.2%|
|Colinton - Edinburgh||2.2%|
|Corstorphine - Edinburgh||66.8%|
|Crayford - Bexley||46.2%|
|Cregagh - Belfast||0.2%|
|Davidsons - Edinburgh||0.1%|
|Donaldson - Edinburgh||32.9%|
|Dundonald - Edinburgh||47.5%|
|Earlsdon - Coventry||0.3%|
|Failsworth - Manchester (not on the official Fibre First lists but recent roll-out matches pattern for Fibre First)||13.4%|
|Faraday - Central London||2.8%|
|Fleet - Central London||0%|
|Fortwilliam - Belfast||64.8%|
|Gedling - Nottingham||10.9%|
|Great Crosby - Liverpool||0%|
|Harehills - Leeds||0.3%|
|Headingley - Leeds||50.1%|
|Highbury - Birmingham||0.2%|
|Kings Norton - Birmingham||13%|
|Knock - Belfast||30.9%|
|Malone - Belfast||57.0%|
|Moortown - Leeds||47.8%|
|Newington - Edinburgh||25.1%|
|Ormeau - Belfast||42.4%|
|Radcliffe - Manchester||0.2%|
|Radford - Coventry||33.4%|
|Salisbury (this is pre-existing FTTP rather than Fibre First)||3.3%|
|Sefton Park - Liverpool||67.9%|
|Sheldon - Birmingham||7.3%|
|Stechford - Birmingham||52.6%|
|Stoneycroft - Liverpool||29.5%|
|Stormont - Belfast||37.6%|
|Streetly - Birmingham||28.8%|
|Swinton - Salford||85.8%|
|Thornton Heath - Croydon||56.7%|
|Wallasey - Wirral||11.7%|
|Whitchurch - Cardiff||72.9%|
|Whitchurch - Bristol||0.6%|
|Wythenshawe - Manchester||6.9%|
Premises passed means that the only component that needs installing is the final bit of fibre into the home or business, which for the Fibre First roll-out means screwing a section of pre-made fibre to the manifold on a pole or in a pavement chamber and then running this cable to the home and installing the ONT (fibre modem) with the fibre running in existing ducting or over a pole or two.
The next more important step is to see people ordering and using the FTTP services and the long list of exchanges includes some very different prospects e.g. Kings Norton has almost no existing Openreach superfast options with people reliant on Virgin Media but many other areas have extensive VDSL2 coverage at superfast speeds in addition to Virgin Media and there is a few areas with no superfast option at all jumping straight to full fibre. We are seeing exchange only lines seeing FTTP arrive and cabinets previously considered non-viable for VDSL2 but as the coverage figures things are far from uniform and even in areas of an exchange that has blanket coverage there is the odd block of flats bypassed; we should add that living in flats does not preclude getting FTTP as plenty of flats are now showing with FTTP available just there are more factors involved compared to a street of terraced or semi-detached homes.