100,000 premises signed up to Openreach Community Fibre scheme
The voucher schemes and communities clubbing together to co-fund fibre roll-outs in their area (in previous years a number were VDSL2 based but in the last year and going forward full fibre was more common and we expect almost all the new ones to be FTTP based) mean that the Openreach Community Fibre scheme now has 100,000 premises contracted under the scheme spread across 930 communities. 590 communities are already live via the scheme.
The community that pushed the premises total over the 100,000 mark and the latest to join the scheme is Lillingstone Lovell which is at the end of the line for VDSL2 speeds currently, i.e. ranges from zero to a couple of Megabits at best. They are set to receive full fibre via the scheme and are also the first to make use of the Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) voucher scheme (vouchers of up to £3,500 for businesses and £1,500 for residential premises. Along with the vouchers via the RGC the BT Group is adding a £30,000 grant for the build of full fibre to the 55 premises in the village.
Lillingstone Lovell is a fantastic example of how our UK-wide Community Fibre Partnership programme is bringing fast, reliable broadband to some of the UK’s most challenging areas, where other providers struggle to reach.
We’ve been clear that we’ll never say no to any community that wants better, fibre broadband connectivity – and we’ll work with them to find a way forward even if the costs don’t stack up for a commercial or government-backed upgrade. We hope that the success of this programme will encourage even more communities to work with us.Kim Mears, Managing Director of Strategic Infrastructure Development for Openreach
We look forward to seeing the day when the residents of Lillingstone Lovell give their new connections a test on our speed tester and we can then work out the extent of the build for the village.
In terms of timescales those looking at the Community Fibre scheme should be aware that a year from reaching an agreement to going live is not unusual, but if it looks likely that the only other option is wait for 2033 when in theory the UK should have 100% full fibre coverage then while a year may feel a long time it is a lot shorter than gambling that the 100% for 2033 will actually happen.