67 more locations added to Openreach Fibre First programme
The Fibre First programme from Openreach building large amounts of FTTP in various exchange areas has just got a big bigger with the announcement of 67 new locations.
Prior to today and based on our figures from 12th September the Fibre Cities part of the build covered 3.36 million premises with 1.62 million already covered by the FTTP so far. The Fibre Villages list has potential size of 2.35 million premises but has a much lower number of premises built to so far 0.21 million. These figures do not include the 94 rural towns and villages in Northern Ireland announced in July - integration of those into our Fibre Villages footprint stated on Monday.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic we’re continuing to make great strides towards our goal to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband to 20 million homes and businesses.
This new digital platform can help the UK’s economy bounce back quicker from the Covid-19 crisis and, whilst a full recovery is likely to be measured in years rather than months, there’s strong evidence that Full Fibre broadband could help to turbo-charge that process.
For homes, shops, GP surgeries and schools across the country it will mean fewer broadband faults, faster connections, and a consistent reliable network that will serve them for decades to come.Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach
The Fibre First programme now covers some 560 different areas of the UK and that is why it takes us a few weeks to cycle between the various areas and add the newly built coverage to our maps and checkers. FTTP is not solely appearing in those areas, there is of course some rural builds happening via BDUK contracts that are still running, new build premises and re-visiting new build estates that were built with copper originally.
Love or hate Openreach the Fibre First programme does mean they are fastest builder of FTTP in the UK and with the ambition to pass 20 million premises by the mid to late 2020's they are aiming for the largest FTTP footprint.
A lot of criticism is aimed at Openreach over its focus on its premises passed figures, but they do publish the figures for the number of premises connected each quarter. The reality is that you cannot connect a property until it has been passed and short of forcing everyone to order a service the demand for the service will vary according to the speeds someone can already get, what options they have and what they are prepared to pay. The Salisbury FTTP switch over trial which is looking to move everyone using Openreach copper onto FTTP will test whether bulk moves work well, though the main aim of the switchover is to reveal the problems (and hopefully solutions) with switching voice services onto a voice service provided by the various providers routers.
For the policy and PR people reading this one small appeal, to the geeks amongt us constantly talking of Gigabit speeds over full fibre is exciting but the emphasis on Gigabit is likely to be causing the general public to get the impression you need to order a Gigabit service which is of course usually the most expensive option when retailers have multiple packages.
New Fibre First Programme Build Locations:
We will get the 94 Northern Irish locations and these new 67 locations added to our Fibre Cities/Villages tracking ready for our next Openreach FTTP numbers update on 12th October.