Broadband News

Openreach lowers threshold to 20 premises for no cost new build full fibre

Openreach has announced that from 1st April 2020 any developer registering with a new build of 20 or more properties will be offered Fibre to the Premises with no contribution required from the developer.

In the last few years the threshold has steadily dropped and currently there is no contribution needed for developments of 30 premises. While this change will accelerate the amount of full fibre in new homes we need to highlight that as developers need to register ahead of work starting on sites it is going to be a couple of years before the full effect is seen in the figures of what is being built.

There are also other operators who can deliver FTTP to developers and this needs to be bourne in mind when considering statements such as "programme has so far proved very successful with 99 per cent of plots on sites of 30 or more homes registering for future-proofed FTTP" in the press release.

Our existing offer already provides huge benefits to both buyers and builders alike, but we want to go further and make sure everybody moving into a new build property can enjoy the advantages of Full Fibre broadband.

The UK is a world leader in digital infrastructure and services today, but as the digital revolution continues at an ever increasing pace, and our demand for data grows, we need to make sure this country stays ahead of the curve by building fast, reliable networks that cater for all the activities we’ll want to do online in the decades ahead.

We hope these new measures will provide the necessary incentive for housebuilders to adopt this future-proof technology across smaller developments so that no-one’s left behind.

We welcome the government’s intention – outlined in the Queen’s Speech – to amend legislation so that all new build homes are required to have the infrastructure to support gigabit-capable connections, and we will work closely with government and housebuilders on how best to deliver this.

Kim Mears OBE, MD Strategic Infrastructure Development,

The rate card for smaller than 20 developments has changed, with the contribution required to get FTTP on a 2 property site reducing from £6,344 to £4,000 and for 3 property sites a drop of £1,011 to £6000. The contribution on sites of 4 to 9 properties has increased slightly and this is apparently to make the tweaks for the 2 to 3 properties contribution cost neutral for Openreach.

Openreach in the press release shared some figures on what they have been building in terms of new build FTTP:

  • Since the launch in 2016, 354,000 new build homes built with FTTP technology
  • Currently delivering FTTP to around 3,500 new premises each week
  • 125,000 new build premises so far in the current financial year
  • On target to total 175,000 new build FTTP homes in the fiscal year ending in April

FTTP in new homes is a different to the Fibre First and other FTTP roll-outs as generally new build homes have the Fibre ONT pre-installed before people move in and invariably the fibre is also lit meaning that activation just needs the ONT serial number being registered.

We have been tracking the FTTP roll-outs in new build properties for a couple of years now and what we have on record for Openreach is:

  • 2016 to 2019 293,757 new build premises with Openreach FTTP
  • 81,555 new build premises in the calendar year 2019
  • 70.58% of all new build properties in calendar year 2019 with Openreach FTTP
  • Once all FTTP operators are taken into account 2019 figure rises to 82.07%
  • 9.8% of 2019 new build properties have a choice of two or more FTTP infrastructures.

These figures are based on our records of 10th January 2020. The figures as of 14th January which reflect that we are further in working through the new postcodes for Aug, Sept, Oct 2019 to determine what broadband options are available.

  • 2016 to 2019 296,308 new build premises with Openreach FTTP
  • 83,950 new build premises in the calendar year 2019
  • 70.40% of all new build properties in calendar year 2019 with Openreach FTTP
  • Once all FTTP operators are taken into account 2019 figure rises to 82.15%
  • 9.47% of 2019 new build properties have a choice of two or more FTTP infrastructures.

Clearly there is still some catching up to do with the new build figures, a ball park estimate would be there is another 15,000 to 20,000 Openreach FTTP premises to find in the last quarter, which when you consider Openreach will also have figures for November and December where we have no data yet means Openreach is not making things up with regards to new build full fibre.

For property developers while paying a contribution on the smaller sites may seem unfair the situation of new homes not having decent broadband will impact the speed at which properties will sell and the price that people will be willing to pay.

A fairly common complaint on new homes sites is that people can only buy broadband via BT, in terms of names the public has seen advertising on TV then yes BT was the only one for a long time, but we are seeing TalkTalk, Sky and possibly Vodafone broadband customers starting to use FTTP in new build sites. Others such as Zen Internet have been selling FTTP on new build sites for some time too. The rumours of exclusive deals for BT on new sites are just rumour and if BT Consumer was to try and do this it would rightly feel the wrath of Ofcom.

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