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Openreach’s UK FTTP Broadband Rollout Extends to The Wirral

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018 (11:26 am) - Score 4,909

The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral (Merseyside) in North West England will soon see their first premises being connected to Openreach’s (BT) new 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) “ultrafast broadband” ISP network, which forms part of the operator’s phase one deployment plan.

At present Openreach’s “full fibreFTTP network, which takes their optical fibre cable all the way to your front door, has so far covered 631,000 UK premises and their “Fibre First” programmes aims to reach 3 million by the end of 2020. After that there’s also an aspiration for 10 million by around 2025.

In keeping with that they’ve been busy hiring 3,500 extra engineers (here) and the initial deployment plan is expected to focus on reaching up to 40 UK towns, cities and boroughs. So far only the following areas have been confirmed: Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester (nine locations).

Today’s press release describes ‘The Wirral’ as being the “10th area to benefit” and it’s separate enough from Liverpool for that to be considered correct. Otherwise Openreach continues the tradition of vague piecemeal announcements by failing to offer much detail, although they do say that the first to go live are in Wallasey and “tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the borough” will benefit.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said:

“Openreach is getting on with building the infrastructure Britain needs to stay ahead in the global digital economy, and families and businesses in the Wirral will be among the first to benefit from this commitment.

Since starting our ‘Fibre First’ programme earlier this year, Openreach’s team of engineers are now in the final stages of completing the FTTP infrastructure to nearly 180,000 premises, in nine cities we’ve already announced. Despite the challenges of planning, street works and permissions, that’s thousands of homes we’re in the process of building to every week and it sets us on course to hit our ambition of building 10 million FTTP by the mid-2020s.”

Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Digital Minister, said:

“Building fast internet connectivity is as crucial to Britain’s competitiveness as railways and roads were in the past. In today’s economy the internet is not a luxury but a utility, so providing the widest possible access to the fastest possible broadband must be a national infrastructure priority. It’s great to see Openreach’s ambition matching the Labour Party’s goal to futureproof the UK’s digital infrastructure. Fibre to the premises is available to 4% of British premises compared to over 60% in competitors like Japan and South Korea, so delivering on ambitious targets is essential to make sure Britain is a leader in the digital race.”

A quick glance at Thinkbroadband‘s database reveals that around 99% of The Wirral can already access a “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) capable network, which is almost entirely thanks to Openreach’s existing but much slower Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) network and Virgin Media’s 362Mbps capable cable coverage (the latter reaches around 58% of local premises).

As usual we’d expect some overbuild of existing FTTC/Virgin Cable areas, as tends to be customary in such densely populated and thus competitive urban environments.

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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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24 Responses
  1. A_Builder says:

    Lets hope FTTP becomes available in a reasonable timescale to these good people and businesses.

    I would echo @MJ’s comments regarding the vagueness of OR’s aspirations. Commercially that is not a healthy way of doing things.

    It is an old aphorism in Project Management that Projects that don’t have clear and public milestones and measurables tend not to perform very well.

    1. Joe says:

      If you remember back in the early days they used to give far more infomation and then ppl starting threatening action because rollouts weren’t matching what was said. So they stopped. Frankly I don’t blame them given the unknowns (outside their control) in many areas

    2. A_Builder says:


      “If you remember back in the early days they used to give far more infomation and then ppl starting threatening action because rollouts weren’t matching what was said. So they stopped. Frankly I don’t blame them given the unknowns (outside their control) in many areas”

      There is a list of things that need to be managed and the list is pretty predictable in this kind of work.

      If there really is force majeur, caused by lack of wayleaves, then OR is off the hook as they have no control over that. If the issue is lack of LA consents then local people need to know that so they the voters can pressure the LA.

      Actually the lack of information works against OR as armed with the right information businesses and people to quietly apply pressure to get things done. I know I certainly do and sometimes it get results particularly if you can figure out which ear(s) to bend.

      If they published a list and then put beside it what the blocking issues [hopefully none] were that would be fair enough.

      If the answer is that it [deployment] hasn’t happened because the planning was crap then they deserve a good kicking.

    3. Joe says:

      “If they published a list and then put beside it what the blocking issues [hopefully none] were that would be fair enough.”

      That would be helpful. Though you’ve probably met builders who can be reluctant to ‘blame’ the LA/planners (legitimately) because they have the ability to ‘punish’ them by at best delaying and at worst obstruction of projects.

    4. Obidom says:

      or maybe its down to thr issue of when they announce a location the competition plans a big sales drive for the area around when the FTTP is being released for sale locking customers into 18 month contracts and thus delaying a return on investment and hitting of conversion targets in released areas, then making investors jittery and jeopardizing the future FTTP rollouts

  2. openreach says:

    Hope it will bring to Telford town soon because many FTTC in this area of Telford does have full coverage of Virgin Media might push Openreach to target Telford soon for FTTP for competitive urban environments.

    1. New_Londoner says:

      Any chance of punctuation, sentences Max?

    2. un4h731x0rp3r0m says:

      I thought the Chinglish instructions for a new wireless doorbell i bought this morning were difficult to read. I then sat down this lunch time and found another of his comments on here.

    3. CarlT says:

      Believe you claimed an engineer working on your PCP told you they were preparing it For G.fast, and you took photos of them working?

      I am not sure Telford is going to be a priority for FTTP. There are 14 million premises passed by Virgin Media for Openreach to compete with.

  3. Paul W says:

    How would one apply for fttp once this is installed? Would it just be a case of keep checking the bt website with my postcode until it shows as available?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      A better bet would be go to one of the Openreach FTTP supporting ISPs, such as BT, Zen Internet, AAISP, Freeola, iDNET etc. Sky Broadband is also expected to start offering it fairly soon.

    2. Joe says:

      Keep your eyes open. You can usually order FTTP long before its on the websites. Look for the tell tale joints/sp or connectorised blocks on poles.

    3. Paul W says:

      Thanks Mark

  4. Chris says:

    Great for these people but they already have access to 35Mbs+ what about people like me who only gets 4Mbs and 10Mbs if it’s on “BT fiber network” and have since broadband started our lines have not seen an upgrade and we have lines where copper and aluminum are mixed and that is from an engineer who came down to fix my line a few months back

  5. Marty says:

    Wow can’t say I was expecting that. Living in the Wirral myself the council here is slow to react in my experience with them.

    1. New_Londoner says:

      Perhaps Steve Rotheram led on this rather than Wirral council.

  6. Liam says:

    I wonder if they will get to heswall?

    1. Marty says:

      It will. Depending on if their is a threat from B4RN operating in Little Neston comes to anything and if they so choose to expand into Neston itself.

    2. Jack says:

      Agreed, I live just below Lower Heswall (CH64) and get 20mbps on FTTC, with the nearest cabinet being 1.5km away which is a joke (Cabinet 4)

    3. Icaras says:

      From what I can work out on roadworks.org it looks like Heswall and Irby exchanges may be next, after Wallasey.

  7. Paul W says:

    Any ideas when this actually starts happening?

    1. Marty says:

      I’m just guessing perhaps sometime after the new year I could be wrong. Keep checking the https://roadworks.org/ and the thinkbroadband map https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#6/51.414/-0.641/geafttp/

  8. Icaras says:

    It’s not that it’s “separate enough”. It just is separate. Wirral and Liverpool are in the same county, but that’s it. Wirral isn’t part of Liverpool so the two roll-outs are completely different.

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