Openreach’s full fibre FTTP hits 10 million premises

Created March 29, 2023
UK network provider Openreach has launched the UK’s first high-bandwidth managed service that allows Communications Providers (CPs) to operate private data connections using ‘virtual dark fibre’News and Business

UK infrastructure provider Openreach has passed 10 million homes, businesses and public services, with the 10 millionth build in Ketton, Rutland in the East Midlands of England. The roll-out of full fibre broadband across the country is part of a £15 billion infrastructure project.

Since the pandemic, the UK’s internet usage has soared, doubling in 2020 and increasing year on year with more data downloaded last year than ever before. The rise in usage is set to continue as technology becomes more sophisticated and integral to people’s daily lives, with social changes such as working from home and the boom in online learning. Openreach has also made full fibre available to over 13,500 educational facilities such as nurseries, schools and universities, improving online learning facilities for students nationally. In addition, full fibre broadband is now 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.  Openreach has also made full fibre available to the top 25 areas identified by the Social Mobility Commission as least socially mobile, providing full fibre availability to 409,000 premises in these areas[6].

The company says the network transformation could also play a role in helping to tackle a range of social challenges, improving the lives of people across the country by bringing better technology and local services to areas which would benefit from them.

For example, Openreach has already made full fibre available to over 9,000 medical facilities including GP surgeries, hospitals and research labs across the country. It says ultrafast broadband will benefit health services by improving connections with experts, remote monitoring of patients, easier access of records and faster appointments.  The future applications are also exciting, such as the use of AI to achieve better health outcomes by helping review, triage and refer patients based on diagnostic scans and data.

Openreach also says the full fibre transformation could give a £72 billion boost to the output of the UK economy in 2030, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr). This is the equivalent of 294,960 new SMEs being created across the country or adding 25 new businesses in every local council in the UK. By providing increased capability for people to work from home, an estimated 431,000 new workers could enter the workforce by 2026. This will benefit older workers, parents and carers, groups that particularly benefit from remote, flexible working.

Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach, 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. With this upgrade, we can improve the lives of people in the UK, offering economic opportunities, alleviating social challenges and creating the foundation for life-changing technology. 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. We’re excited for the future that full fibre will create for everybody across the UK.”

(Image: Openreach)

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This article was written
by Peter Dykes

Peter Dykes is a independent telecoms and technology journalist who has over that last 30 years written for a wide range of B2B publications and companies. A former BT engineer, he specialises in networks and associated support systems. He is currently Editor of Optical Connections.