Broadband News

New build and full fibre an interim update on thinkbroadband analysis

The picture for new build premises is always changing but the figures given in this article are described as interim as while we are in the final stages of dealing with the most recent postcode location data set (covering Nov 18, Dec 18 and Jan 19) the final number of premises is still changing and we want to complete our sweep of the various providers.

ISPreview has covered some details from an Openreach presentation that Matthew Kirkman delivered to an INCA audience in Cardiff most this is no real surprise as our tracking of what Openreach and others have been upto pointed towards what Matthew has highlighted. The key takeaway figures are:

  • Openreach passing around 20,000 premises a week with FTTP
  • Forecast that new sites will be 99% FTTP based in financial year 2023-2024
  • New site FTTP in 2015/16 was 20,669 premises
  • New site FTTP in 2016/17 was 29.257 premises
  • New site FTTP in 2017/18 was 57,371 premises
  • New site FTTP in 2018/19 was 131,395 premises

One problem in evaluating these figures is tracking exactly when a property was built is not easy and independently verifying this is very difficult for example the Openreach 2018/19 figures will include sites where we have no lat/lng location information yet or postcode for premises built in February and March, we expect the ONS data set to be issued in early June. So taking this into account and that we track by calendar year rather than financial we can report that since January 2016 we have recorded 169,634 new site premises with Openreach FTTP available, so close enough to show that no-one is making things up.

Our figures for Openreach FTTP and total FTTP coverage as a percentage of new build are as follows:

  • Jan 2019 - Openreach 61.4%, All operators 68.8% from a total of 7,487 premises
  • 2018 - Openreach 54.7%, All operators 65.8% from a total of 155,673 premises
  • 2017 - Openreach 30.5%, All Operators 42% from a total of 153,212 premises
  • 2016 - Openreach 19.4%, All Operators 32.1% from a total of 176,599 premises
  • 2015 - Openreach 15.5%, All Operarots 26.7% from a total of 164,172 premises

A couple of points to note is that when Openreach talks of contracted premises, it may be contracted to deliver FTTP in a specific year and they may even have the infrastructure in place, e.g. a manifold in a pavement chamber but there is a debate to be had about which point a building plot counts as premises passed by FTTP. Another issue seems to be the total number of premises once you add FTTC, since Openreach is reporting a figure a lot higher that we are e.g. 203,104 premises for FTTC/FTTP in 2017/18 versus our 2017 figure of 153,212, the likely cause is new sites built in an existing postcode and as we update our historical premises counts this gap may close. Every quarter when we update for new build premises we also do look back at the previous quarters to review what we have recorded, which means even for sites we identify as 2016 some three years later we may be adding extra premises.

The biggest mistake people can make when dealing iwth new build is assume that Openreach accounts for all new build, there is competition from other full fibre developers and some sites may see Openreach locked out and alternative operator delivering phone and fibre services. There is also the possibility of a developer not contracting anyone and finally contacting Openreach so close to the sale date that people end up moving in before broadband can be delivered.

The increased pace of FTTP roll-out across the UK is something we have been seeing for 3 or 4 months now and one week we did add 45,000 Openreach FTTP premises, some of this we assumed was us playing catch-up since we used to be around 6 to 8 weeks behind on spotting FTTP and believe we have closed the gap to around 4 to 5 weeks now but the fact the pace has continued points towards a significant change in what is delivered. An indication of the change is that our tracking of FibreFirst FTTP premises is at 314,042 and is growing daily and for those living in rural areas it is important to add we are finding rural FTTP from the BDUK projects daily too.

When the UK hit the 7% FTTP availability figure some 10 days ago we suggested that October 2020 might be when Openreach passes the 3 million mark, this date has crept forward to August 2020 now if the pace from the last 3 months is maintained. The UK overall figure has also increased from 7.02% to 7.13% and Salford has leapt into the top 10 local authorities for FTTP availability with 1 in 3 premises now having a full fibre option (33.4% all operators, 23.5% Openreach).

Comments

It would be good to look into what some builders (cough Persimmon) are doing with deploying their own FTTP networks, running their own ISPs and keeping Virgin/Openreach out.

  • jmarlborough
  • 3 months ago

You mean using people like OFNL or is Persimmon deploying its own provider network...

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@jmarlborough
99% of builders incl Persimmon will go for the cheapest connectivity option. However in the last few years Openreach have been offering FTTP at no additional cost to the developers (ie same cost as copper) providing the builder is constructing at least 30 plots so its a bit of a no brainer. Nevertheless some developers such as Persimmon & Stephen Homes have shunned Openreach altogether d/t cost, and gone for other FTTP operators such as Fibrenest (owned by Persimmon) or OFNL. TBH if people get any form of FTTP in a new build they should be grateful.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 3 months ago

Andrew, with the BDUK FTTP projects are you able to track individual contracts/Lots? e.g. Fastershire's Lot2 & Lot3c which are being treated as one area by Gigaclear.

  • sheephouse
  • 3 months ago

Persimmon are simply taking vertical integration to the next level...

  • themanstan
  • 3 months ago

On the BDUK FTTP not really, pace of delivery means that the time to make a judgement call and double check things that would decide if commercial or BDUK and what phase makes it pretty difficult now.

We still try but its more automated and thus accuracy is not so tight on the who paid for it.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

Andrew, thanks, I assumed it would be difficult to separate out the info. As far as I'm aware there is no commercial FTTP in the Fastershire lots (at least the Gloucestershire ones), so I'm eagerly awaiting any news on the first Gigaclear BDUK FTTP connection in my area.

  • sheephouse
  • 3 months ago

Getting there slowly. i see cabs in lot 3e and 4 went live last month.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

On FibreNest a provider site that has no availability information makes figuring out which Persimmon sites offer it is near impossible.

So raises a question of how the public know what is available when browsing around looking for a new build home.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

Andrew I presume if you buy a new build you get that with the buyers info pack. Not so easy if you look to buy it second hand

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

Catch up - the HIP requirement was scrapped in 2010 and given most people will do their main hunting online, unless any such pack was online it is not much use.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

If I meant the HIP i'd have said that - I was referring to the info packs new build dev's usually give prospective buyers. I've seen them include bb where its dev owned.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

Based on what I've seen from a bit of looking at FibreNest it is not always clearcut, or people are not reading or digesting the info given.

If I am missing a nice easy online way of telling which Persimmon homes have FibreNest as the only broadband service then happy to be pointed at it.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

You're right there I can't find one

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

I had an Openreach van in the road outside my house Saturday, the chap inside was splicing fibre. I asked him if they were adding a street cabinet he said no, this was Fibre to the home! He said they should complete the build phase by the end of the week. Anyone know how long it takes for it to be available for order?
Post code PE13 4LE.
This is going to be a huge improvement on my current max of 9mbps down/ 0.8mbps up!

  • stanchel
  • 3 months ago

Hi @Stanchel

Not aware of BT publicly showing FTTP for your area, there is a map here https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/fibre-first

It could be someone has ordered FTTP on Demand that is being installed, that usually allows a certain number of immediate neighbours to then order native FTTP. Keep on eye on the checker here https://www.dslchecker.bt.com, if you can order native FTTP it will show up. How long does it take if they are installing, well it could be hours to years, all you can do is keep on eye on the checker.

  • philipd
  • 3 months ago

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