Openreach claims new heights in UK full fibre roll-out
Openreach, the UK last-mile company owned by BT, has made full fibre connections available to its 10 millionth home.
The news comes as rivals such as Neos Networks continue to build out their own fibre infrastructure, and with industry reports that Virgin Media O2 is discussing a merger with CityFibre, which is also building fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) access across the UK.
Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “Today marks a significant milestone in our transformation of the UK’s broadband. Not only will access to full fibre technology improve the speed and reliability of the internet connections used by people, businesses and public services, it also provides us with the infrastructure we need to meet the demands of an increasingly digital world.”
The company’s broadband network, which is entirely wholesale, is used by more than 690 retail service providers, including Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT itself.
However, there is industry controversy about Openreach’s planned price changes, which are now being reviewed by the regulator, Ofcom.
According to the country’s Office for National Statistics, there were 28.1 million households in the UK in 2021, an increase of 6.3% over the last 10 years. That means Openreach now makes fibre available to 35.6% of the total.
Selley said: “Now we’re focused on the next phase of our build. Our engineers are building rapidly across the country and we already have plans in place that will see full fibre broadband reach over 25 million premises.”
The company estimates that its cost will be £15 billion to complete the programme. Openreach’s annual revenues are £2.84 billion.
Openreach said it has so far made full fibre broadband available to more than three million premises “in the hardest to reach, typically very rural, parts of the country and over three million in areas identified by the government as a priority for levelling up”.