Broadband News

Over 3 million premises passed by Openreach ultrafast broadband network

Our tracking of where Openreach FTTP and G.fast services are available means that some 3,007,016 premises now have the option of an ultrafast broadband service using one of those two technologies from the retailers who do sell these services.

The 3 million comprises 1,201,699 premises where full fibre is available and another 1,825,510 premise where G.fast with estimated speeds of over 100 Mbps is available. Adding the two technology figure reveals that the total is actually higher, the overall figure in reality is lower due to overlapping of the G.fast footprint with FTTP in some Fibre First exchange areas i.e. overlap is 20,193 premises.

Looking at the split for where the FTTP is being delivered we can report:

  • 438,169 premises via BDUK or other rural intervention (up 7,010 compared to May 9th)
  • 428,087 premises in Fibre First areas (up 62,299 since May 9th)
  • 174,354 premises via New Build since January 2016
  • 161,089 premises via commercial/old roll-out

May 9th was when Openreach issued its results for the end of the last quarter (31st March) and we are very close to passing the FTTP figure of 1,247,000 and expect to very quickly do so in the next week or so as the next quarters postcode locations will be available from ONS. We expect there to be around 20,000 to 30,000 premises of new build FTTP to add when we process the data for February, March and April 2019.

The roll-out pace does seem to be holding to around 20,000 premises a week but in the middle of May there was a bit of a dip in the rate we were able to find new full fibre premises at but the last few days has seen an improvement.

The target of 4 million premises with Openreach FTTP available by end of March 2021 needs the roll-out race to increase as our best estimate is December 2021 at present.

Comments

How is 'properties passed' calculated for G.FAST? Does it take account of line length? Because I'd think it'd be bordering on a scam for openreach to be basing it on the number of properties connected to a cabinet. In a lot of cases only a minority of lines can benefit from it.

  • AndrueC
  • 21 days ago

@AC - BT wholesale checker shows if GFast is available or not.

  • Somerset
  • 21 days ago

Its based on distance, to give you an idea of the impact of distance the cabinets with Gfast actually comprise some 2.68 million premises

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 21 days ago

Andrew these figure are utterly meaningless 'crud' - how many G.fast cabinets/pods are we talking to cover the 1.82million prem past, from a total of 2.68m?

** You're avoiding mentioning the elephant in the room which is the tiny number of G.fast connections possible per pod. **

There is a max 24 or 48 G.fast Line cards per Pod, even with 96 Line cards per Pod there is no way 1.82m will ever be able to take the service because of the crosstalk generated in adjacent cu pairs.
Also the problem where Companies like WarwickNet have installed their own equipment with vectoring in the local loop.

  • nofibre
  • 20 days ago

I tend to agree the figures are meaningless to a large degree. "Passed" is not equal to connected. It's easier to pass premises, but the hard work has always been connecting up to an actual property. If every one of those 3 million premises passed ordered "Ultrafast" this week, it would take decades to fulfil all the orders, and meanwhile any more "passing" of properties would have to stop whilst engineers struggled with those orders.

Properties "passed" is a poor and misleading measure of progress to Ultrafast, which people will come to realise in the years to come.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

@philipd

Then how would you measure "properties passed"? Perhaps by getting Openreach to connect all properties to FTTP (as long as it shows up in the DSL checker) and then disconnect them once the numbers have been added to the list? Never gonna happen in a million years for obvious reasons (cost, time etc).

As things stand, 'properties passed' means a FTTP DP exists close by and FTTP WBC shows up for the property on the DSL checker. For the majority, they can be hooked up to their nearest FTTP DP in less than a month.Only for properties in rural areas could it take longer. Not decades tho!

  • baby_frogmella
  • 20 days ago

An analogy: HS2 has announced the completion of HS2 with 10 million customers passed.

Asked how many passengers will use the service from launch, HS2 advised just a few thousand, and they will now concentrate on adding interconnecting points and rail stations to the network to allow customers to use the service, this is expected to be completed by 2055 but will require funding of £200bn before work can start next year.

Questions are now being asked of MPs why it was never made clear by the industry bodies involved that customers passed didn’t actually mean customers using the service.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

Comparing HS2 v FTTP is like comparing oranges v apples. Totally different markets with totally different takeup factors.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 20 days ago

"Comparing HS2 v FTTP is like comparing oranges v apples. Totally different markets with totally different takeup factors."

Of course it is, it was an analogy of what if HS2 was promoted by numbers passed in the same way FTTP is and how unacceptable and deceptive that would be. Openreach are playing a numbers game, the truth is the real cost and timescales to connect the UK up to FTTP is hidden behind "properties passed" headline figures. Websites like this are implicit in this sort of deception, and one day questions will be asked about it.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

I don't think the figures are misleading at all, our entire village is now 'passed' by fibre, there has been a slow take up of FTTP probably for many reasons. Take me, I'm still in contract with TalkTalk, I could buy myself out of contract with no financial loss due to BT offers, but am sitting it out at moment to see what news comes out from TalkTalk and Sky and their expected take up of OR FTTP. Others at other end of village are getting decent speeds on FTTC so have little incentive to go FTTP in many cases.
As for GFast, how many getting top speeds on FTTC will be interested in paying.

  • burble
  • 20 days ago

<bangs head on the wall>

So how would you measure properties passed for FTTP?

  • baby_frogmella
  • 20 days ago

@philipd
You appear to be conflating “customers passed” with “customers using the service” in you last post; in your first one you’re conflating “customers passed” with capacity. In both cases I’m sure that Andrew would have used those phrases if he meant to, instead he focused on customers passed to give an indication of the number of premises where either service could be ordered.

A few people seem to have issues with the concept of customers passed despite it being a pretty simple metric. IMHO there are more important issues in the world to worry about than this.

  • New_Londoner
  • 20 days ago

We need to know how many properties are connected, that should be the driving figure of all headlines. It doesn't matter if the whole of the UK is "passed" if only a tiny percentage are connected up, as there is no benefit to the economy having millions of DP points with nothing connected to them.

Properties passed isn't a good metric, it looks good to the industry, but isn't the whole story, that's all I'm saying :-)

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

"A few people seem to have issues with the concept of customers passed despite it being
a pretty simple metric."

The issues are that the industry are misleading everyone with these headline numbers. Just what is the cost and the time scales to connect the currently passed ~3 million properties to an actual real service? Could Openreach ever connect up these 3 million properties without running out of money or taking decades to do it? What about the remaining 25+ million properties, passing is the easier less expensive bit?

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

@philipd
Numbers of customers are generally updated quarterly but you need homes passed in order to put these into context. Just having customer numbers in isolation is not terribly useful, indeed current take up numbers suggest that there isn’t currently a great deal of demand for ultrafast speeds, and even less for gigabit speeds, despite growing availability and clamour for both on sites like this one.

  • New_Londoner
  • 20 days ago

"So how would you measure properties passed for FTTP?"

If the aim is to retire copper and move to FTTP then you just don't promote properties passed, you promote the number of properties connected.

You don't get shops promoting their footfall has gone up as their metric of success, as it's the sales that decide that. The same applies to Openreach, properties passed does not equal revenue and profit.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

@philipd
I suspect you somehow think ALL FTTP ready properties in UK are rural. That is certainly not the case. Its relatively easy to hook up urban properties to FTTP. Hence my earlier comment that most of these properties passed can be hooked up in less than a month.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 20 days ago

"Just having customer numbers in isolation is not terribly useful, indeed current take up numbers suggest that there isn’t currently a great deal of demand for ultrafast speeds, and even less for gigabit speeds, despite growing availability and clamour for both on sites like this one."

Exactly, perhaps that's why the headline figures of passed are being used so much, other numbers are two small to look good!

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

"you promote the number of properties connected."

So Openreach should connect up EVERY FTTP ready property to the FTTP DP irrespective of whether the customer will actually order the service or? That's makes great financial sense...NOT. Have you ever ran a business?

  • baby_frogmella
  • 20 days ago

"I suspect you somehow think ALL FTTP ready properties in UK are rural. That is certainly not the case. Its relatively easy to hook up urban properties to FTTP. Hence my earlier comment that most of these properties passed can be hooked up in less than a month."

Not at all. Still it took 2 months for Openreach to install VDSL for us and enable an already connected phone line, that was after a cancelled appointment and we are in a city not rural. So my question remains, just how long would it take to connect 3 million customers to a working FTTP?

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

@philipd
So your issue is with Openreach staff availability rather than actual work required to hook up fttp ready properties. Totally different issues.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 20 days ago

"So Openreach should connect up EVERY FTTP ready property to the FTTP DP irrespective of whether the customer will actually order the service or? That's makes great financial sense...NOT. Have you ever ran a business?"

I do run a business yes. Does it make sense for Openreach to spend billions on passing premises without anyone ordering FTTP and so gaining no benefit from reduced maintenance costs on retiring the copper service and having fibre assets unused? They seem to think that is okay.

I'm saying properties passed is not the whole story. Take up needs as much prominence.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

"Does it make sense for Openreach to spend billions on passing premises without anyone ordering FTTP"

It does. Its cheapest this way. take up takes years but the service is there and will make its money

  • Croft12
  • 20 days ago

"It does. Its cheapest this way. take up takes years but the service is there and will make its money"

Exactly, I was playing devils advocate. But it will not make any money until people are connected. Openreach have said the biggest benefit to them as a company is reduced maintenance costs that FTTP provides over the ageing copper infrastructure, and much less so from people paying for the service, so it's in their interest to get people connected up ASAP.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

@philipd
“The issues are that the industry are misleading everyone with these headline numbers.”

You realise that these numbers are Andrew’s own calculations, haven’t been issued by “the industry”? So your suggestion that the industry is misleading everyone is just wrong.

In my view, Think Broadband does everyone a tremendous service by publishing independent analysis of network coverage, average speeds and service quality by ISP etc, otherwise all we’d have would be company press releases.

You don’t have to use the stats if you don’t like them!

  • New_Londoner
  • 20 days ago

  • New_Londoner
  • 20 days ago

@Philipd
“But it will not make any money until people are connected.... so it's in their [sic] interest to get people connected up ASAP.”

Again this is overly simplistic, ignores basics like LLU etc, meaning that Openreach cannot just swap out one connection for another unless asked to do so by one of its ISP customers.

  • New_Londoner
  • 20 days ago

"Again this is overly simplistic, ignores basics like LLU etc, meaning that Openreach cannot just swap out one connection for another unless asked to do so by one of its ISP customers."

Openreach and the industry are already in discussions on how to approach moving exchanges/towns/citys over to FTTP and decommissioning copper. The who industry knows this needs to be done and sooner rather than later, it's a huge undertaking. That is why I raise the issue about "passing" properties is not a good indication of progress, that's all. Passing is the easy bit, it's the tip of the iceberg.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

"You realise that these numbers are Andrew’s own calculations, haven’t been issued by “the industry”? So your suggestion that the industry is misleading everyone is just wrong."

As you have already said and I agreed with, just swapping one connection with another isn't easy, so properties passed is a small fraction of the work required to move the infrastructure to fibre.

The whole industry is using properties passed as the main metric of success, not just Thinkbroadband, it's as though it is the only important number, but it's the only the very start of a very complex process.

  • philipd
  • 20 days ago

1. Premises need to be passed before people can be connected
2. We report connected figures via our analysis on https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local i.e. look at the Speed Test Results section e.g. 3.1% of speed tests identified as FTTP based
3. We report connected figures along with what operators announce as passed in their financials, which lets you talk about take-up

Will be looking at what people are buying in the different Openreach FTTP areas in the near future. Indications are that in FibreFirst areas the pattern from G.fast is being followed but need to do the numbers properly.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

Hi Broadband Watchers.
Openreach is letting the churn rate do it (available service) and the advertising to the individual customer on the Post Code information which has to be correct that ties with the BT Checker.

  • Blackmamba
  • 20 days ago

How do you differentiate between an FTTP connection and a FTTC connection then? That is how do you tell if someone say on a 40/10 connection is getting it from FTTP or FTTC?

What might be interesting is if in FibreFirst areas Openreach withdrew FTTC service. I can certainly imagined that new line cards, expansions etc. in full FTTC cabinets could rapidly end if not already, forcing customers onto FTTP.

  • jabuzzard
  • 20 days ago

The work that means we can generate maps such as https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#6/51.414/-0.641/openreach/

are how we can identify the technology with a high degree of confidence.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

There are discussions underway with industry on how to do the shift to FTTP on FibreFirst exchanges, ie. bulk migration of customers, this is not a could but will happen, but looking at a number of years away.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

Andrew, been cycling around Whitchurch lately and after a slow start it is now normal to see OR providing fibre Drop wires ( 7 days a week) so the slow take-up like g-fast may be changing as people realise they can move from FTTC '80/20' actual '35/15' service to FTTP actual '80/20' service at the same cost. Some days I have seen more than one team working in different areas. ( and I only cover a small part of Whitchurch). This could increase dramatically if Sky/TalkTalk started selling FTTP rather than just BT. (Others provide if you push but do not sell)

  • jumpmum
  • 20 days ago

So I am on a 40/10 FTTC connection but capable of the full 80/20 if I ordered it. I decide to upgrade to 80/20 but get it as FTTP because why ever not as I am an FTTP area. I don't believe it is possible for you to determine if I am on FTTP or FTTC. Similarly I could be in a native FTTP area right next to my PCP and order a 40/10 FTTP product. Again you can't tell what I have.

  • jabuzzard
  • 20 days ago

Never have said we could discern every single FTTP versus FTTC connection.

FTTC at full sync with also Openreach FTTP available is still pretty rare and will get handled once the volumes increase and caveats explained when we talk about take-up and observed product splits.

Of course makes no difference to the premises passed figures.

NOTE TO SELF: Ensure to include the 1000 or words of caveats next time, e.g. this coffee may hot

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

Which Whitchurch @jumpmum

The Welsh one has had the FTTP for some months now as was one of the first fibre areas to see build. The Whitchurch in Bristol has little built that I can see but may do well for take-up since no VDSL2, but lots of Virgin so people may be happy with that.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

I agree with jumpmum if Sky/TalkTalk/PlusNet started offering native FTTP lots of people with less than full speeds would move from FTTC to FTTP, especially if there where some marketing.

I do think Openreach could basically force the hands of ISP's to offer native FTTP by simply refusing to connect up new FTTC connections in areas with native FTTP. Absenting from so may possible customers does not make good business sense. If I where Openreach I would with immediate effect stop any sort of expansion of FTTC cabinets in native FTTP areas.

  • jabuzzard
  • 20 days ago

Slight problem - in areas where FTTC at superfast speeds is available Ofcom force Openreach to charge more for the 40/10 FTTP product

Also the issue around giving companies fair notice of big changes like this, hence the consultation that is already underway.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

Openreach are under no obligation to expand/upgrade a cabinet in the first place so there is no consultation required to simply not do those in areas where native FTTP is available. Quite why Ofcom force higher FTTP prices is banana's and the person responsible for it needs a good beating with a clue stick. That said if I where Openreach I would still look to withdraw new FTTC connections on native FTTP areas.

  • jabuzzard
  • 20 days ago

Openreach may be under no legal obligation, but if it was to stop expanding VDSL2 cabinets en-masse it would not go down well. Hence why I keep an eye on the waiters every quarter.

Why Ofcom? To ensure that Openreach does not use market dominance to undercut competing operators rolling out FTTP to the extent where they decide to never invest.

Am sure you see it as an easy thing to do, but like many things when 100's of firms access the products you need to consult so firms can plan or raise awareness of problems with a plan.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

Andrew, Whitchurch Cardiff. I didn't realise Whitchurch Bristol had got Fibre first yet. ( forgetting that there are at least two other Whitchurch's as well!)

I think the problem that may occur is that people don't appear to be testing FTTP as the speed is so consistent they have nothing to make them test. I have noticed that there are comparatively few tests in the FTTP only areas despite an expectation that take-up would be quite high (30%+). Still a lot of slow tests appear!

  • jumpmum
  • 20 days ago

Only 22 million to go....

  • Swac3
  • 20 days ago

Do people think it is realistic to expect 30% take-up within a few months of FTTP appearing?

This goes against information from other providers and even against Openreachs own financials where take-up of FTTP is 24.5% and that includes some FTTP that has been there for years and BDUK areas where people will be very keen to sign up.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 20 days ago

Hi Broadband Watchers.
I feel it is the responsibility of the ISP,s (500 + ) to be chasing their customers to switch to the best service and not be blaming Openreach for the service on the Post Code (GPS).
As Openreach is not tied to BT they are changing the service at the Post Code at a fantastic rate (20000 PW +) and I feel that Thinkbroadband is unable to keep up but are still doing a good job.
I feel that the delay is approx 6 months in updating the Post Codes to be correct due to the data on the ( BT Checker not correct.)

  • Blackmamba
  • 19 days ago

On the keeping up - we are keeping up (there is some lag since cannot spot it until it is like) but finding at 20,000 per week, and have peaked at much higher rates of 40,000 to 50,000 in some weeks this year.

There may be some postcodes that are six months out of date, but the bulk is within a 6 to 8 week window.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 19 days ago

@BM - what does GPS have to do with this?

  • Somerset
  • 19 days ago

Hi Somerset.
The Postal Code has a GPS position which is the Lat/Long from this the addresses are fanned out to there respective Lat/Long.
As I have the Postal Codes and the FTTC GPS locations it is easy to calculate the status ( Red,Amber Green) of the post code.
As the Post Code is in a square (100 Mtre x 100Mtre) I use the imperial measurement which is more accurate.
Eg. 36 inches = 1 Yard. 39 inches = 1 Mtre.

  • Blackmamba
  • 19 days ago

For the record @Blackmamba imperial is no more accurate than metric, just that you are used to working in imperial. The telecoms world works to metric measurements in the UK and Europe so imperial has no place.

Use of the word GPS is irrelevant, you should just say lat/lng

Red/Amber/Green is nonsensical unless you define what makes a postcode red/green/amber

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 19 days ago

@BM Postcodes are not 100x100 metre squares.

Imperial isn't more accurate, that's ridiculous, 39 inches isn't even a metre. 100 centimetres = 1 metre. 1000 millimetres = 1 metre. 1000000 micrometres = 1 metre. 1,000,000,000 nanometres = 1 metre, etc.

I don't get the fixation with postcodes - BT don't work to postcodes but individual premises. There certainly isn't a 6 month delay in checker updates.

Though you are the man who thought FTTC DSLAMs routed packets based on postcodes and physical property addresses, so...

  • CarlThomas
  • 19 days ago

Hi Carl T.
I think they are on OFCom Speed Checker the squares covering the Post Codes.

  • Blackmamba
  • 19 days ago

Id love to know the actual take up of GFAST.

I have a 300M line length for FTTC, cab is GFAST enabled, however I cant get it, and neither can anyone else around, only a few houses "very" close to the cab are offered service.

Judging by the cobwebs and general crud on the pod, it looks like its not been opened in a long time, the attached "normal" cab shows plenty of signs of activity.

Waste of money and effort trying to achieve superfast for 10% of "potential" users, when the next cab up the road isn't even FTTC enabled!

  • philce
  • 19 days ago

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8399-openreach-shifts-from-third-gear-to-fourth-with-increased-fttp-roll-outs

G.fast take-up no secret 25,000 premises as reported in last financials which I covered on 9th May

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 19 days ago

Andrew, my 30%+ was aimed said in FTTP only areas. As mobile is the only other choice I would expect take-up to be much higher. BDUK FTTP overlays ( Like in Wales) I would expect to now be over 30% as well, as the ADSL was usually sub 8Mb. Fibre First FTTP I would think would be under 5% as it has only been live a couple of months and people often had 50Mb or more already.

  • jumpmum
  • 19 days ago

Hi Carl T.
If you check Google Maps you will see that the range is in yards 0,8,16,24 also 39.38. Inches. = 1 yard.
Bt refers to the first and last mile.

  • Blackmamba
  • 12 days ago

@BM - Google Map settings can be metric or imperial. All OS maps are metric with eg. 100m squares.

I have not seen any reference to the 'last mile' for a long time. Even so it's just a term referring to the part of the line to the property. Something the man in the Surrey street might understand.

All measurements are metric in UK industry. How can you say imperial is more accurate? International standards are metric with any length conversions based on 1" = 25.4mm.

  • Somerset
  • 12 days ago

The metre is defined by taking the fixed numerical value of the speed of light in vacuum c to be 299 792 458 when expressed in the unit m s−1, where the second is defined in terms of the caesium frequency ∆ν.

1959
The Canadian inch of exactly 25.4 millimetres was accepted by English speaking nations as the international metric inch.

  • Somerset
  • 12 days ago

Post a comment

Login Register