Openreach signs five-year FTTH equipment deals with Huawei and Nokia

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) programme.

Huawei has a head start: it has already begun delivering equipment, says Openreach, while Nokia is still a year away.

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 network.

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 UK.”

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”.