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Openreach Begin FTTP Rollout in Edinburgh and Train New Engineers

Monday, May 21st, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 2,621

Openreach (BT) has today confirmed that they’ve begun the rollout of Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband technology in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh. As part of that they’ve also invested Β£400,000 in a new “fibre training school” for the region that is based in Livingston.

The urban deployment has already begun in Corstorphine and Newington, with places like Murrayfield, Abbeyhill and western Dalry expected to follow. The capital joins places like Altnaharra in Sutherland and Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders which already have some FTTP capabilities, alongside around 8,000 premises that now have access to FTTP as part of the separate state aid fuelled Digital Scotland “superfast broadband” project.

All of this forms part of the operator’s new “Fibre First” commitment that will push their new “full fibre” network out to cover a total of 3 million UK premises by the end of 2020 using private investment. After that there’s also a tentative plan to reach 10 million premises passed by around 2025.

Across the UK Openreach has already committed to support this rollout by hiring 3,500 new trainee engineers over the next 12 months (here) and many of these will be needed north of the border. So far more than 4,000 people have applied for 400 new trainee engineering roles being created in Scotland.

In total around 1,700 trainees are expected to pass through the doors in Livingston throughout 2018/19, with numbers rising once work completes on the fibre school later this year. Openreach also has similar training schools in Bradford, Bolton, Cardiff, Croydon, Hertford, Nursling, Peterborough, Thornaby and Yarnfield (buildings in Exeter and the Thames Valley are opening soon).

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said:

“When it comes to delivering world class digital infrastructure, Openreach people in Scotland have unrivalled experience, expertise and capability – and we want that to continue.

Our new engineers are helping us provide better service, broader coverage and faster broadband speeds throughout the country, and this new training school will make sure they have the skills they need to get the job done.

We’re confident that our investment in people and networks across Scotland have a big role to play in the country’s future economic success.”

Happily Openreach also confirmed that they expected to announce more locations to be upgraded to ultrafast FTTP during the course of this year and we hope this isn’t as piecemeal as we’ve seen so far. However BT Group’s CEO, Gavin Patterson, did recently suggest the plan was to publish quarterly updates (we hope they do this for G.fast too). So far the operator has only identified their first 8 cities.

The 8 Major UK Cities (Initial FTTP Rollout)
Birmingham
Bristol
Cardiff
Edinburgh
Leeds
Liverpool
London
Manchester

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. NGA for all says:

    Good to see and great to see the opening of the training centre.

  2. CarlT says:

    I am disgusted that Openreach have started their commercial Fibre First programme in major cities. Don’t they know there are loads of rural premises that make far more commercial sense and, with a bit of grit, could be deployed to far more cheaply than the fully ducted and densely clustered premises they are working on instead?

    Openreach need more fibre. Moral and optic.

    1. Gadget says:

      And doing it without full disclosure of their capital investment and all costs!

    2. New_Londoner says:

      πŸ˜‰

    3. Rahul says:

      There are a few hypotheses that I can think of why BT are targeting major cities first.

      1. An initial City rollout will be an assessment to see how much economically beneficial FTTP brings to business growth across the cities particularly after Brexit. The UK would like to maintain its reputation as leading digital economy amongst the major cities.

      2. Perhaps bringing FTTP to large office buildings/residential blocks across urban areas may prove to be financially more viable. Because instead of actually installing fibre cables to individual houses separately, they target an entire block of flats which most/all residents in that building will switch to FTTP.

      3. BT Openreach sees an opportunity to counter-attack against other major FTTP providers such as Hyperoptic, CityFibre and Community Fibre who once again are silently expanding in urban areas. They probably don’t want to lose out on competition because a greater expansion on the other providers will mean it will be pretty much game over for BT.

      4. Rural areas has greater number of elderly people compared to younger people. Meaning the older generation tend to be less technologically advanced and unaware of what Fibre Optic really is or in general how to use a computer. And those who do, probably don’t require large bandwidth for the use of viewing emails and reading online newspapers, so naturally they will be of-course less interested in Fibre compared to the younger ones.

    4. CarlT says:

      I genuinely can’t believe you just wrote that essay in response to such blatant sarcasm. πŸ™‚

    5. Rahul says:

      Honestly speaking, your original post does not sound sarcastic at all. It seems like a very genuinely frustrated response! πŸ˜‰ I’ve read many posts in the past from other people living in rural areas expressing their frustration as to why Fibre is mainly being laid in urban areas including in many youtube video comment sections. I would’ve thought that it would be useful for viewers to be informed of the possible reasons.

      Now it just feels like you are pretending to be sarcastic after making these points. Plus what I wrote isn’t really an essay, it’s only 236 words not 1000! This site shrinks the layout creating the illusion that the posts are very long. Copy and paste this on Microsoft Word or any other internet forum including email layout and you’ll see it’s actually half a page and looks much shorter.

  3. GNewton says:

    Does this also mean that BT/Openreach is now replacing existing VDSL with fibre? Or is it mainly for infills and new estates?

    1. CarlT says:

      All of the above. The only thing they aren’t overbuilding is G.fast. Note that G.fast is not considered available if estimate is below 100Mb, so those a way from the cabinet are eligible for FTTP.

    2. Andrew says:

      Looking at the areas mentioned in Edinburgh, they are VDSL2 but not gfast. There’s a large blob of gfast in the centre/west of the city, where population density is moderately high so gfast works well. It might be they’re using FTTP for areas with longer cabinet>home lengths.

  4. J. F Marshall says:

    I would imagine that most if not all of the 3500 trainees will actually be trainee Technicians and not trainee Engineers. Why is it,I wonder, that only in the UK is the distinction not fully understood.

    1. CarlT says:

      Because engineer isn’t a protected term in the UK I assume.

    2. Gadget says:

      Closest is the UK Chartered Engineer status (C.Eng), or membership of the EU recognised FEANI (Eur Ing prefix)

  5. New_Londoner says:

    Good to see this, particularly the investment in training.

    1. NGA for all says:

      Given there remains close to a Β£1bn of funding to fix rural, (contracted but yet to be delivered, contracts yet to be let, underspends, etc, ) there was always the opportunity to include training as an allowable cost.
      BT original bid strategy for BDUK sacrificed coverage for cash flow, but the funding remains if their is an appetite to do the work.

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