Openreach set for third technology supplier as it hits Bristol fibre benchmark

BT Group-owned broadband infrastructure provider set to add third fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology supplier to Huawei and Nokia as it accelerates fibre deployment across the UK

Pressing ahead with its plans to extend full-fibre broadband across the UK, and announcing a major roll-out in one of the UK’s largest cities, infrastructure provider Openreach is to consider a third fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology partner.

A tendering process for a third strategic FTTP partner supplier to join Huawei and Nokia is reportedly imminent. The new supplier will likely be asked to provide Openreach with a range of equipment that goes into its full-fibre build encompassing inside exchanges, in the network and in customers’ premises.

Reports suggest that the tendering process will close in January 2020, with an appointment sometime at the end of the first quarter of the year.

In an official statement regarding reports of the new tender, Openreach said: “We’re on track to make faster, more reliable full-fibre broadband available to four million premises by March 2021, and we want to go much further, so using cutting-edge technology will be key to achieving that.

“We already manage a large and diverse supply chain across our full-fibre build, and we’re constantly reviewing our options to make sure we can carry on building a high-quality network that offers great value for money.”

The announcement comes only weeks after research from smart procurement technology firm Ivalua found that 68% of UK telecommunications businesses have increased the number of suppliers they work over the past 12 months. As many as 91% of telcos said they have a high dependency on suppliers to help them deliver products and services.

Bristol was announced in July 2018 as one of the first places to benefit from Openreach’s full-fibre build. Since then, the fibre network has been built in the areas of Bedminster, Bishopsworth, North Bristol, West Bristol, Easton, Filton and Whitchurch. In the coming months, work will reach Fishponds and Redcliffe as engineers install the cables and infrastructure required to connect up those areas.

Explaining the city’s strategic importance for a full-fibre network, Openreach calculated that connecting everyone in Bristol and the South West to full-fibre broadband would create a £4.3bn boost by unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next-generation of home-grown businesses.

Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, added: “Our One City vision sees Bristol becoming the most digitally connected city in the country and being at the forefront of the full-fibre roll out by Openreach is a key element of that ambition, as well as supporting the development of a sustainable and inclusive local economy.

“Digital connectivity delivers access for Bristol’s citizens to jobs and opportunities, city services and each other. This city is known for driving innovation, being home to a thriving digital economy and as a place where businesses can grow and compete across the country and beyond and full-fibre connectivity will only help to boost that further.”

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