Openreach announces completion of full fibre roll-out in Salisbury
Salisbury has been a place where FTTP from retailers who do not normally sell FTTP have been appearing and today the reason why is very clear.
Openreach has announced the completion of the fastest city wide build in the UK and making the service available to over 20,000 premises in 12 months.
This roll-out will underpin the switch off of the PSTN network in the area, that will involve for every property that takes a telephone line based broadband service switching over to the FTTP service and for those that have just a voice service over copper installing the fibre into the home. The plan is that copper based services will stop being sold in December 2020 and the migration to be completed by December 2022. There will be bumps along the way and that is the whole point of doing this in Salisbury, i.e. discover the unknowns and also find solutions to them when they do occur.
Openreach admits that there is around 8% of premises in the city that cannot order FTTP today over the Openreach network, these are largely blocks of flats where wayleave permission is needed. Apparently the street side works have been done, but these properties do not show in the premises passed statistics since they cannot do the final run even if a member of the public was to order a service.
Salisbury was a good starting place. as it is fairly small but still large enough to hold enough building variety that lessons can be learnt that apply across the UK.
So has Openreach delivered? Well 12 months ago we were tracking Openreach FTTP coverage of 3.4% and this was at 85.2% on Thursday morning but by the evening after a sweep across the City this rose to 89.4% of the 24,929 premises on the Salisbury exchange. The map below shows the spread of postcodes where Openreach full fibre is currently not available.
The vast majority do appear to be flats, generally low rise blocks of just a couple of floors, but there is some business addresses and other properties spread across the exchange area.
Hopefully as we've seen in various Fibre First areas, some landlords/freeholders will respond to contact requests and blocks will join the rest of Salisbury with the option of full fibre in the coming months.
Salisbury does have a large Virgin Media presence and for those who take phone and broadband from Virgin Media and have no Openreach services the switch over will not affect them.
For anyone wondering once Virgin Media switches on DOCSIS 3.1 in the exchange area the Gigabit coverage levels will rise to 96.2%. For Salisbury as a local authority the boundary is of course different to the telephone exchange and there are full fibre options from firms such as OFNL to add to the mix - that local authority figure will be published on Saturday 13th June 2020 in the weekly update.
For those wondering if Salisbury is the most Openreach FTTP'd exchange, it is NOT. There are seven small exchanges such as Great Bernera with 100% coverage but of the 10,000 plus premises size ones Childwall (11,994 premises) is in the lead at 99.6%. Ignoring size Salisbury exchange is 35th out of 5,551 exchanges and 87 exchanges have 75% or higher Openreach FTTP coverage.