12 July 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Openreach has picked Huawei and Nokia to supply technology for its rollout of fibre to three million UK homes and businesses.
The company, owned by BT, says it has awarded the Chinese
and Finnish vendors for its fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP)
Huawei has a head start: it has already begun delivering
equipment, says Openreach, while Nokia is still a year
Openreach’s CTO, Peter Bell, who is also
operations director for next-generation access, said:
"We’ll be going flat out to make FTTP available to
three million homes by the end of 2020, and we want to reach 10
million by the mid-2020s, so using cutting-edge technology will
be integral to achieving that."
An independent survey showed earlier this week that the UK is now 35th in the world in terms of actual
broadband speeds, now four places on 2017. The mean speed
in the latest survey was 18.57Mbps.
Openreach responded to that survey by saying: "Britain already
has the largest digital economy in the G20, with the internet
responsible for an estimated 12.4% of GDP. But we know there is
more to do, which is why we are in the process of hiring 3,500
engineers to support us with the roll out of ultrafast fibre to
three million more people by 2020."
Huawei and Nokia will supply headend equipment, to be located
in the Openreach telephone exchange and acts as a digital
gateway, managing and translating high-speed data signals
between customers’ premises and the wider
Jeffrey Zhou, president of Huawei access network, said: "We
welcome the opportunity to help build a better, faster and
intelligent network that helps Openreach customers stay
connected. Huawei is committed to building a better connected
Frederic Guillén, president of Nokia Fixed Networks,
added: "We’re excited about this new five-year
collaboration with Openreach and are confident that our
innovation, strength and operational expertise will benefit all
broadband subscribers in the UK."
Openreach said both deployments will play a critical role in
supporting its Fibre First programme to reach three million
premises by the end of 2020. It said it wants to extend this
rollout still further to around 10 million premises by the
mid-2020s, and ultimately the majority of homes and businesses
across Britain – but it added the rider, "if it has
the right conditions to invest".