Broadband News

36 new exchange areas add to Openreach Fibre First plans

The Openreach Fibre First programme is behind the major expansion in the local loop operators full fibre expansion in the last 12 months and another 36 areas are now on the list.

  • Antrim
  • Barry
  • Bathgate
  • Ballyclare
  • Ballymoney
  • Ballynahinch
  • Banbridge
  • Broxburn
  • Broadstairs
  • Bromsgrove
  • Burgh Heath
  • Chelmsford
  • Carrickfergus
  • Carryduff & Castlereagh
  • Cookstown
  • Craigavon
  • Doncaster
  • Downpatrick
  • Dungannon
  • Epsom
  • Ewell
  • Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire
  • Intake (Sheffield)
  • Limavady
  • Magherafelt
  • Newcastle
  • Omagh
  • Ramsgate
  • Saintfield
  • Strabane
  • St Albans
  • Solihull
  • Slough
  • Torquay
  • Whitburn (West Lothian)
  • Worthing

Some of the new areas are already indicated as the build being underway with others due to start in the next three months. Past experience of tracking the Fibre First roll-out shows that areas being in build does not always equate to premises having FTTP available to order, since some streets see the build complete but are waiting on other work such as spine cabling or handover capacity improvements before being flagged as available to order.

The Fibre First roll-out may have a significance in that these exchanges are likely to be the first ones where the copper switch off will take place, but similar looking roll-outs does happen on other exchanges, Failsworth being the largest example to date and Hunslet is another.

Exactly how many premises these new exchanges add to the potential full fibre footprint is not certain as we will need to teach our systems about the new exchanges, additionally the build is not always 100% of the named area.

The press release does highlight an issue that does affect all the full fibre operators and that is the business rates levied on fibre networks, Scotland has extended a rates relief scheme and if Westminster is serious about hitting a full fibre for all by 2025 then reducing or removing the business rate would help make commercial roll-outs more attractive financially. A reduction in business rates or a commitment to a long holiday while not speeding up an individual build may allow operators to employ more teams to build in more areas of the UK at the same time.

For those reading the Openreach press release and scoffing at the premises passed by fibre every 30 seconds, the maths behind this work since it suggests they are passing 2,880 premises every day and we generally find between 1,500 premises on a bad day and 5,000 premises where FTTP is available to order via communications providers selling the Openreach service.

Comments

Interesting that Broadstairs and Ramsgate are on the list considering they have just had Virgin Media rolled out to. There's clear signs in my surrounding area (on Minster Ramsgate Exchange) that a few areas are being prepared for FTTP with visible fibre cabling and equipment appearing on poles. Equipment has also been added to a pole I'm fed from on route down to Plucks Gutter which is due to receive FTTP shortly.

  • SlimJ
  • 3 months ago

scoffing! Not really, but it did bring up a funny image in my head of one bloke and his shovel desperately trying to dig a trench past a house every 30secs. :)

  • burble
  • 3 months ago

burble.
More like one pole every 12 minutes, as most of the Fibre first rollout so far is via overhead fed areas. The pace has certainly picked up over the past 6 months.

  • jumpmum
  • 3 months ago

How can they turn copper off, what about people on FTTC services with providers that do not do FTTP?
SlimJ, the reason BT has gone there is to try to compete with virgin, simple as that. I doubt FTTP will come here to Hereford for a very long time, suits me, to be honest.

  • zyborg47
  • 3 months ago

@zyborg47 from the Ofcom document, "1.12 Some final migrations may need to be compulsory" copper will eventually be turned off, if the customer and/or ISP don't swap to fibre they will have no BB or phone.

  • burble
  • 3 months ago

Interesting that this covers Newcastle on the Gosforth exchange. Except this exchange has already had a G.fast roll out. One wonders what's going on here.

  • jabuzzard
  • 3 months ago

@jabuzzard - it will be an overlap slightly to cater for the premises that cannot get Ultrafast from G.Fast. Eventually even G.Fast will be retired so they may also put in preparations (agg nodes) for when this is the case.

  • Unknown101
  • 3 months ago

That's interesting. Virgin are expanding the network in Torquay (they dug my road up about a month ago, we're just waiting for them to go live in the street which I've been told by a couple of VM staff I've seen wandering around should be by the end of the month). Some Torquay cabinets have GFast, although my local cabinet (Torquay Cabinet 35) is limited to FTTC or FTTPoD and I'm currently getting about 60Mbit with Zen. I'm looking at moving to VM but it's nice to know that eventually there might be another faster alternative.

Will this be just the Torquay exchange?

  • EnglishRob
  • 3 months ago

Two exchanges in Torquay area cannot be sure on which two yet. Names are not in the build start within 3 months, so its some time away

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@burble, Then they will have to put the price down for FTTP then, not everyone wants to pay the stupid prices that FTTP is. i know of someone who moved into a flat in Cambridge and had to pay the high prices of Fibre and have a choice of two providers, BT and a smaller even more expensive than BT provider, A&A I think.
Thankfully I do not think it will bother me here, BT has no plans to do FTTP here. I do not want to pay any more for my broadband, I do not even want to pay as much as I do anymore.

  • zyborg47
  • 3 months ago

Hi Broadband Watchers.
BT/Openreach will be targeting the best cost effective Post Codes with Fibre this will be governed by the take up or churn rate I feel the above Exchanges have the infrastructure in place and the others are being built.

  • Blackmamba
  • 3 months ago

Zyborg47
Hereford is a very similar city to Salisbury so would make a nice 2nd/3rd copper removal site. It is a reasonable size city with only one exchange area and nice and compact. I reckon it would have been on the final list that Salisbury was chosen from. Salisbury would have been better in that it had a wider range of Business types to cover.

  • jumpmum
  • 3 months ago

@zyborg47, as FTTP is rolled out to more areas, more ISPs will start offering Ultrafast options. I think in a few years Ultrafast speeds will be more competitively priced - already prices are falling for wholesale which is a step in the right direction: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8477-openreach-proposes-lower-full-fibre-pricing-to-encourage-take-up

  • SlimJ
  • 3 months ago

@BM
“BT/Openreach will be targeting the best cost effective Post Codes with Fibre”

I’m pretty sure that Openreach will be targeting the most cost-effective premises for fibre, definitely doesn’t use postcodes to determine its deployment plans.

  • New_Londoner
  • 3 months ago

As for people being forced to pay high prices for FTTP, I need to point out again that FTTP is no more expensive than the FTTC equivalent speeds in most cases.

Only gets more expensive when people start looking at the over 80 Mbps packages.

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/packages/fttp-broadband shows its not just A&A or BT in Openreach FTTP areas.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

Hi New Londoner.
Yes they have all ready targeted the customer with Fibre on Demand and a paying service to get fibre in advance and this work is to the Post Code.

  • Blackmamba
  • 3 months ago

Blackmamba - you know you said I said you were all wrong - well you are doing it again.

Fibre on Demand has nothing to do with the FibreFirst roll-out.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

Andrew,
Do Openreach/BTW charge ISPs more for FTTP versus the same FTTC service at wholesale level? Because some ISPs (mostly smaller ones) charge signficantly more for FTTP 80/20 than for FTTC 80/20 and likewise for FTTP 40/10. Zen, for example charge £49 pm for FTTP 80/20 and yet FTTC 80/20 is only £38 pm. For FTTP 40/10 they charge £45 pm and for FTTC 40/20, £32 pm. Basically those in Openreach FTTP only areas (eg new builds) have no choice but to go with BT Retail for the cheapest prices, ie get FTTP at the same price as FTTC. BT Retail's humongous size allows them not to charge extra.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 3 months ago

https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8477-openreach-proposes-lower-full-fibre-pricing-to-encourage-take-up

40/10 FTTC with line rental £12.83/m (+VAT)

FTTP 40/10 is a superfast FTTC service present £14.28/m (current £15.79)
FTTP 40/10 where no FTTC present £12.28/m and is price regulated by Ofcom

So some differences but not as big as your examples.

New build will be the £12.28/m version, i.e. costs less than FTTC.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

Thanks Andrew, so Zen are basically profiteering....

  • baby_frogmella
  • 3 months ago

Zen has its own backhaul arrangements and it is possible it is more reliant on BT Wholesale in FTTP areas, so to say profiteering is not something I would say, but would something to look into if you had a spare few weeks to question everyone involved.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

Sadly this is yet another in a long line of PR releases based on nothing but pixie dust.

All their contractors do is cause disruption whilst they put up a few new wooden poles, they then string a random selection of tubes between them, none of them actually going anywhere remotely near existing cabinets or chambers or premises. You might even see numerous roadworks for 'duct unblocking'

They then declare the area covered...despite no one being able to order any service other than ADSL over copper. That's the reality of 'Fibre First'

https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fibre-first

  • M100
  • 3 months ago

Hi Broadband Watchers.
The last time I checked ZENs website they stated they had 400 POPs with 2% coverage of Pure fibre that could be the reason for higher prices so it would be not overpricing but down to business on the POST CODE.
The Post Code must be correct to what is available or the ISP starts to lose money.

  • Blackmamba
  • 3 months ago

Only keep pointing out your errors Blackmamba so that casual visitors do not get the wrong idea about what you are talking about.

POP = Points of Presence

Pure Fibre = Full Fibre or more correctly Fibre to the Premises

"The Post Code must be correct to what is available or the ISP starts to lose money."
Have no idea what you are actually trying to say here, a postcode being correct or not has nothing with the profits of a broadband company.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@M100 if you have a fibre first area where checkers say you can order but providers who sell GEA-FTTP are unable to connect you then get in touch as that is good news fodder.

Most FibreFirst is in areas where VDSL2 also exists, there are some exchanges such as Whitchurch in Bristol with just ADSL2+ where a little work was done and is on hold, most likely while something not obvious on the street gets resolved e.g. big blockage at a road junction or delays in getting the headend installed at an exchange.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@SlimJ and andrew, it was around 3-4 years she moved in, so things may have changed a bit now, I know she was not impressed because at the time she could not use her cheap TalkTalk service. While I would not use TT, I understand her feelings, I would not be happy either.
Before they start dismantling FTTC or ADSL for that matter they need to make sure that the people connected do not get disconnected or are we going back to the old days, where we have limited choice? As I said, glad it will not happen here for a very long time.

  • zyborg47
  • 3 months ago

Still not official selling of GEA-FTTP by TalkTalk, but BT pricing has come down and as you can see no price premium on the Openreach segment so one MPF big firms start to consume it onto their own backhaul should be same pricing as the FTTC products.

Removing ADSL would see a product priced accordingly - e.g. the 18/2 which was just FTTC might be a good equivalent

No one is looking at cutting off people.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

It strikes me that if Openreach are claiming to pass a property every 30 seconds then it should be possible to map their progress against target properties in scope using that as a metric by which to measure against.

I assume 30 seconds is only during the average Openreach working day, not 24/7/365.

  • loaderladdy
  • 3 months ago

@loaderladdy
20,000 per month is roughly one every 30 seconds 24x7x365 (or approx 3 B4RNs per month to use a different unit of measurement). :-)

  • New_Londoner
  • 3 months ago

Already mapped i.e. Openreach FTTP at https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#11/52.4334/-1.8289/geafttp/

Also we report on the split of Openreach FTTP https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8470-time-for-a-revisit-of-how-openreach-fttp-is-split-up as best as we can identify in terms of which category each bit sits within.

Then there are the summaries (always on 7th) https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8464-june-2019-update-on-broadband-availability-across-the-uk-nations-and-regions where we cover the progress to various targets.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@unknown101 - It isn't a 'slight overlap' where G.fast isn't ultrafast in Fibre First areas. It's a comprehensive overbuild. The G.fast is being consigned to the dustbin where node-based G.fast always belonged.

LS27 9PX - try say #11. Check the G.fast estimates. That's having FTTP deployed to it right now.

  • CarlThomas
  • 2 months ago

To give some figures overbuild is approx 25,000 premises with G.fast and FTTP available in Fibre First areas

Fibre First in terms of FTTP is 560,000 premises.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 2 months ago

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