Openreach has revealed that six million homes and businesses can now place an order for its full-fibre broadband service. It has also outlined plans to take its gigabit-capable technology to 170 new locations, covering 1.5 million homes and businesses across urban and rural locations, as part of its build programme to reach 25 million premises across the UK by December 2026.
The company said demand for full-fibre broadband continues to grow, with more than 1.3 million homes and businesses having already ordered a service, and revealed that it ended the second quarter with a record high of 245,000 orders in the last week of September. Openreach added that its build rate remains on track, with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) reaching 47,000 new homes and businesses every week, and claimed that its engineers are now building full-fibre to a new premise every 13 seconds, laying about 770m of cable per minute.
Openreach cited research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research that suggested a nationwide full-fibre network could be the route back to economic, social and environmental prosperity for the UK – turbocharging the economic bounce back from the pandemic, levelling up rural and urban communities, delivering up to £59bn in increased productivity every year and enabling a million people to get back into employment.
More than 2,500 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets have so far been included in Openreach’s Fibre First programme, which the company says is fundamental to the UK government achieving its target of delivering gigabit-capable broadband to 85% of the UK by 2025.
Openreach has now expanded its gigabit infrastructure to locations including Bridgend, East Kilbride, Felixstowe, Grantham, Grimsby, Guildford, Inverness, Kidderminster, Lincoln, Lowestoft, Maidstone, Newton Abbot, North Finchley, Oldham, Port Talbot, Romford South, Rugby, Riding Mill, Scunthorpe, Stannington, Simonswood and Trowbridge.
Twelve of its communication provider (CP) customers have already signed up to the long-term FTTP Equinox deal, which was launched at the beginning of October. This will incentivise CPs to order FTTP where available – helping to drive full-fibre adoption further.
Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: “We’re building full-fibre faster, at lower cost and higher quality than anyone else in the UK, and that is testimony to our engineers and build partners, who are working flat-out to deliver this life-changing technology to rural, urban and suburban communities all over the country and we’re delighted to be fleshing out our plans with more details about where we’ll be building.
“More than a million customers are already enjoying our most revolutionary and reliable broadband ever and that number is growing all the time. That’s a great start, but there are millions more who could connect today.”
The announcement came just days after Openreach unveiled the latest part of its plan to stop selling legacy analogue copper-based services and instead focus on providing full-fibre connections to deliver digital services, announcing a consultation to help further develop and test approaches for mass-migrating end-users to new digital services using five pilot exchanges.
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