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BT Confirm First 9 UK Areas to See 1Gbps FTTP Broadband Rollout

Wednesday, Jun 15th, 2016 (9:08 am) - Score 23,999

Last month it was revealed that BT intended to roll-out their ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) broadband network to 2 million premises around the United Kingdom by 2020, with about half being businesses. Today Openreach has confirmed the first 9 areas that will benefit.

The deployment is intended to complement the operator’s roll-out of hybrid-fibre G.fast technology, which will begin next summer 2017 and separately be made available 10 million premises by 2020, with “most of the UK” expected to be done by 2025 (we predict around 60% UK coverage).

Initially G.fast will only offer top download speeds of up to 300Mbps (50Mbps upload), before later increasing to 500Mbps. By comparison FTTP currently offers 300Mbps and this will imminently rise to 1Gbps (c.1000Mbps).

By comparison Openreach’s roll-out of pure fibre optic FTTP technology is already underway and its first phase, which will include “parts” of 9 predominantly business focused locations, should be reached over the next nine months; BT will focus on areas that cannot currently benefit from their “fibre” services. UK ISPs will then be able to offer ultrafast speeds to businesses from the end of December 2016.

The First FTTP Roll-out Areas

* Bath
* Bradford
* Bristol
* Liverpool
* Manchester
* Salford
* Westminster, Holborn and the City (London)

We must add that Openreach has already covered over 300,000 UK premises with FTTP through older deployments, although the new roll-out should be a bit faster and cheaper thanks to various recent improvements in the build and installation process.

Further deployment phases will follow the one above, with BT saying that “hundreds of thousands of businesses” should benefit from this FTTP roll-out by the end of 2020. The above expansion of the FTTP footprint will also eventually benefit hundreds of thousands of adjacent residential homes in the targeted areas.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said:

“Our aim is to make ultrafast broadband available to 12 million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. SMEs have told us they want an alternative to dedicated lines and that is what we are going to give them.

Openreach has been trialling new deployment methods for FTTP in Bradford and I am pleased to say the trials have progressed very well. Now that we have proved the new techniques we will begin our wider roll-out, starting with these nine new locations.

Hundreds of thousands of consumers will also benefit over the next few years as we continue our work to plug any remaining fibre broadband gaps. This targeted approach will help to deliver the ambition we share with government to improve broadband speeds in the final five per cent of the country.”

Openreach has previously indicated that it will also put more effort into deploying FTTP into new build developments and locations where old Exchange Only Lines (EOL) can still be a big problem, which is certainly a frustration that many people in parts of central London continue to experience.

The new FTTP product should provide a useful alternative for SMEs who may want ultrafast speeds, but at a lower price point than the comparatively expensive option of a dedicated leased line (this is often overkill for the smallest of businesses).

This roll-out will be fuelled by purely commercial investment, which is good since it avoids some of the market distortion criticism that could stem from using public money to push FTTP more deeply into areas where rivals, like Virgin Media, Cityfibre and Hyperoptic, are already doing similar work. Openreach has previously talked of spending an extra £1bn+ on FTTP, but there’s currently no solid figure to clarify the cost.

Openreach has further pledged to “continue to consult with industry as it develops the product and pricing” and they will also seek “feedback from industry on the likely demand before confirming which specific areas will benefit from this phase of deployment” (demand-led).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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