Openreach announces 12 new full-fibre build locations

London calling for BT-owned broadband provision division as it makes next step in plan to reach 25 million homes with full fibre by December 2026 and launches simplified online map showing when and where full-fibre network is being built

Openreach, the UK’s largest wholesale broadband network provider, has announced 12 new locations where it plans to deliver gigabit-capable connectivity to a further 184,000 homes and businesses. It has also published updated, more-detailed plans about where and when it is building broadband across the country.

The locations are predominantly in London: Bayswater, Chiswick, Finchley, Holborn, Kensington Gardens, South Kensington, Leagrave, Pimlico, Skyport (the area around Heathrow), Stratford and Wembley, as well as the village of Healing in east Lincolnshire.

Overall, 2,800 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets in the UK are now included in Openreach’s build programme and the company says it remains on target to reach 25 million homes and businesses with full fibre by December 2026. The Openreach network already reaches more than nine million premises, including about 2.9 million in what are said to be the hardest-to-reach “final third” of the country.

Openreach said demand for gigabit connectivity based on its infrastructure continues to grow, with a record number of orders in the past three months. It said it is currently passing more than 60,000 new homes and businesses every week and 2.5 million homes and businesses have already connected to gigabit services over its network.

As it was announcing the new locations, Openreach updated its website to include details about its largest commercial build programmes, giving more information about where and when the build will start in each exchange location.

The new Openreach full-fibre build plan brings together information on the expected timing of its major urban and rural build programmes, providing a simpler view of when and where build is happening. Timings are also now based around the calendar year and on when some customers can expect to be able to order the first services, instead of the previous financial year cycle from April to April.

Going forward, Openreach will use one of five simplified categories: whether it will be building in an exchange in the future; whether it will be building services that will be available in the next 12 months, whether it is currently building in a particular exchange; whether it has finished the main part of a build in an exchange; and whether an exchange is not in its major build programme.

Openreach has committed to updating build information at least every three months – including adjusting the timings of any areas that have moved back or been brought forward in the plan for operational reasons, for example.

“Over time, we’ve learnt more and more about building at a large scale, and we want our plans to be as clear and comprehensive as possible,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley. “So, we’ve adjusted our published build plans to hopefully make them easier to understand. As the nation’s leading network builder, we’re building full-fibre pretty much everywhere, so we’re regularly adding new build locations and giving more clarity around timings.

“Despite the economic challenges, we’re now building this transformational technology to well over three million homes a year – and we expect to get to even more over the next 12 months. We’re going faster than any builder I’m aware of in Europe.”

The new map data will also show those exchanges where Openreach has stopped selling legacy copper-based products and services where full-fibre is available to order because a majority of premises have access to full-fibre in an exchange area. So far, more than 670 exchanges have been notified as “stop sell” exchanges, covering close to six million premises.

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