1 in 2 Northern Ireland properties now have Openreach FTTP available
The big PR announcement that Openreach had passed half the properties in Northern Ireland with its full fibre network was made on 22nd September. Our tracking as of the morning of Sunday 18th October is showing 50.07% FTTP over the Openreach FTTP network which rises to 55.82% once you add in the Virgin Media and Fibrus FTTP roll-outs.
Openreach said the footprint was some 420,000 premises and our 50.07% is 422,091 premises. At the build rate Openreach declared of 3,500 premises every week this means there should be almost another 14,000 premises with FTTP access to find assuming they have continued to build at the same rate. The Openreach network does overlap with the other two FTTP networks in Northern Ireland (or they overlap with Openreach depending on your view point), the overlap is some 6.74% of the premises in Northern Ireland and is expected to grow .
A reminder that while there is lots of talk of Gigabit and ultrafast broadband in areas where Openreach FTTP is rolled out there are also slower and thus more affordable options available, i.e. 80 Mbps down 20 Mbps up at around £26 to £35/m, 160 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up at around £32 to £40 and the cheapest is the 40 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up version in the region of £23 to £29/m. The slowest 40 Mbps package if you have access to superfast speeds via FTTC/VDSL2 may actually be supplied via VDSL2 in some cases, so if ordering the cheapest package make sure it is FTTP if that is what you want - a number of providers have got around this issue by not offering the lowest speed 40 Mbps option. The reason behind this is that there is a £5/m Ofcom imposed price premium to protect FTTP competitors.
The Openreach roll-out was until a few months ago confined to the large urban areas such as Belfast and a scattering of long distance FTTP using public subsidy but a few weeks after the announcement in July of 94 rural towns and villages in Northern Ireland that Openreach was going to build too we have started to see the service appear in those places, e.g. Gilford has about half the main village built out to, but there are others such as Forkhill where we have not seen any obvious changes. A rough guide of how much more there is to go is that the list of 94 has us tracking 79 exchange areas and 29 of those have FTTP builds on our maps that look like part of this programme.