Openreach, Focus Group boost broadband focus in South West England

Openreach claims major milestone inunderserved region’s digital transformation, while UK provider of essential business technology beefs up regional presence with key acquisition

The South West of England has traditionally been one of the country’s region’s most underserved by high-speed internet, but announcements from both the UK’s leading broadband provider Openreach and from leading independent business technology provider Focus Group has highlighted the growth of gigabit connectivity in the region.

As it looks to keep on track with plans to evolve its national communications network by switching off the legacy Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) in December 2025 and expand its full-fibre coverage area, BT’s broadband provision division Openreach has revealed that more a million homes and businesses across South West England can now access its full-fibre broadband network from a number of ISPs such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen.

Topping the list of the 20 locations in the region with the highest levels of full-fibre coverage is Historic Wiltshire village of Alderbury. Boasting origins dating back to pre-historic times, the village now has more than nine out of 10 homes and businesses able to order broadband packages offering speeds of one gigabit per second.

Just a few miles north west, the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury is just a fraction behind Alderbury, while the coastal village of Downderry in Cornwall and the seaside destination of Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon rank third and fourth. Bristol South is fifth. Truro,

Totnes, Portland, Tewkesbury, Devonport, Yeovil and Trowbridge are among the dozens of locations across the South West where Openreach engineers are currently building new full-fibre networks.

Based on an average build cost of approximately £300 per premise, Openreach said that more than £300m has been invested to upgrade the region’s communications infrastructure, replacing legacy copper connections with full-fibre broadband. The broadband provider assured that further investment is planned over the coming years, with more than 300 exchange areas already part of the company’s UK-wide commercial investment programme, which aims to reach 25 million premises by the end of 2026.

“This is an important milestone in the drive to improve digital connectivity across our region,” said South West Business Council CEO Paul Coles. “Openreach’s investment in the ultrafast upgrade of the South West will underpin much-needed economic growth and prosperity in the region.”

Yet despite the activity and commitments, Openreach conceded that at present only around two in five homes and businesses which could upgrade to the new platform across the region have done so.

“We’re adopting a balanced build, bringing ultrafast speeds to the region’s biggest cities and most rural and coastal communities – as this list proves,” added Openreach partnership director for the South West, Martin Williams. “We’re not stopping at one million – and people in the South West should visit the Openreach website to see if they can upgrade to full-fibre already, or see when we’re coming to their area.”

In a further boost to business broadband in the area, Focus Group is venturing into Cornwall with the acquisition of Datasharp UK. Founded in 1984, the Truro-based company is said to have has grown to become an industry-leading provider of business technology solutions including voice, connectivity, IT and Wi-Fi, copy-print-scan systems and infrastructure.

Already providing more than 27,500 businesses with a range of technology solutions across telecoms, IT, cyber security, connectivity, mobile and energy, Focus Group sees the acquisition as reinforcing what it says is its commitment to UK-wide growth and continued innovation in the business technology sector.

Datasharp is the oldest business ever acquired by Focus Group and will now introduce the full suite of Focus Group services, including mobile and cyber security, to Datasharp’s existing customers and new prospects, sitting alongside regional teams based in Exeter and Bristol.

“We are thrilled to welcome Datasharp into the Focus Group family. Their longstanding presence in the industry and loyal customer base makes them an invaluable addition to our group,” said Focus Group regional director Brian Lodge. “This acquisition presents exciting opportunities for us to leverage our combined expertise, expand our service offerings, and drive continued success – particularly in the Southwest. Most importantly, the Datasharp people, capabilities and culture are an exceptional fit with our team.”

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