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13% of New Build Homes in Scotland Ignore Openreach’s FTTP

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 (8:48 am) - Score 3,088

Openreach (BT) has called on Scottish property developers to ensure they adopt “full fibre” ultrafast broadband ISP technology, which comes after it claimed that around 3,000 new properties a year (roughly 13% of the total across Scotland) are “currently missing out” on deploying their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP).

Last month we revealed that approximately 1 million UK plots via 14,000 different developers have so far been contracted with Openreach to deliver “fibre broadband” since February 2016 and 840,000 of those will be done using FTTP technology (here). The proportion of change is also rising, with 88% out of 240,000 contracted plots over the past 12 months now opting for FTTP (11% FTTC and under 1% pure copper).

All of this is roughly in keeping with the increasing moves toward FTTP that are being seen across the wider market for new build homes (here). We should add that various other operators (Virgin Media, GTC / OFNL etc.) are helping to facilitate this effort and the 13% figure seems to reflect those new homes that haven’t signed up with Openreach for FTTP.

Nevertheless Openreach are keen to push their own FTTP products and so last Thursday they invited more than 60 Scottish homebuilders to a conference at the BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh to discuss the issue.

Matthew Kirkman, Openreach’s Director of Infrastructure Solutions, said:

“Full fibre is the future. Scotland’s digital journey from copper to full fibre will take years, with the UK government having an ambition for everywhere to have access by 2033.

Developers building entirely new housing have a great opportunity to be right at the forefront. Many are already on board, with around 87 per cent of new homes in Scotland signing up with us for full fibre. The remainder are split between a superfast service via Fibre to the Cabinet, or copper.

We believe we can do better, and that’s why we’ve organised today’s event. We want to build closer relationships with Scottish developers large and small, and show how we can help them create future-proof networks in their new developments – and why it matters.

Research from the London School of Economics has shown that the standard of connectivity has a direct impact on house pricing, so building reliable, ultrafast connections in new developments is a no-brainer.

We want to see full fibre installed in all new developments, and all residents having access to a competitive retail market through our open network.”

Openreach currently offers all new developments of 30 or more homes the ability get FTTP built for free, while smaller developments of less than 30 homes (i.e. between 2 to 29 properties) can also benefit from a significantly discounted install (here).

Meanwhile forthcoming new laws will aim to mandate Gigabit capable broadband connections for new build homes and could make it easier for network operators to access buildings where landlords fail to respond (here).

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Mark Jackson
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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10 Responses
  1. Avatar baby_frogmella says:

    “Openreach currently offers all new developments of 30 or more homes the ability get FTTP built for free”

    Probably being pedantic here but technically its not free, FTTP is just made available at the same cost as copper for sites containing at least 30 plots. I suspect those ~ 3k homes are on new build sites with less than 30 plots being built so obviously most developers will shun FTTP in favour of cheaper copper/FTTC. Perhaps Openreach should think about lowering the threshold to 10 plots as long as their bean counters agree?

  2. Avatar FullFibre says:

    Why isn’t it law that new builds must get full fibre. Not just encouraged to but must have. It makes more sense to put it in as the homes are built than add it later. Provide subsidies if needs be, just get that fibre in at the time it makes makes the most sense!

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      See the last paragraph, although there will probably have to be exceptions for much smaller builds or individual homes and renovations in remote areas (i.e. for those the cost of installing FTTP may be unviable as a legal requirement).

    2. Avatar FullFibre says:

      Did read that and follow the link, “to encourage” threw me.
      “He also set out policy proposals to encourage FTTP for new build homes and existing apartments.”
      I’ll read the link in full now thanks.

      IMO there shouldn’t be any exceptions for expensive cases, just lower the priority and do them once cheaper areas are done or if there’s a genuine urgent need provide the subsidies.

  3. Avatar Brian McInally says:

    I live in a new build in Scotland bellway Stepps and it never got FTTP and when we first moved in the fastest internet we could get was about 5mbps

    1. Avatar Fastman says:

      that because if was probably registered before 2016 then . (before the 200 + sites and 9 month notice before First occupancy date was introduced in Feb 2016)

  4. Avatar Meadmodj says:

    “Free” means that OR will provide the duct, frames/covers etc for the builder to build the infrastructure to OR specification whilst their ground works contractor lays other services, paths, roads etc. The builder also needs to meet basic requirements of the ONT installation. OR will then provide the network cabling, connectivity and ONT.

    Since Feb 2016 OR originally provided Superfast free and since November 2016 has provided FTTP in new build infrastructure on developments over 30. But it also now has a FTTP sliding scale for developments of 2-29 from £3,172 per plot (2 plots) to £17 per plot for (29 plots).

    Openreach will also offer FTTP to commercial only sites. Openreach contribute £1,000 per commercial plot towards the cost of the build. If the costs to provide FTTP on the site exceed £1,000 per commercial plot, the property developer will need to make a co-funding contribution.

    Some estimates say access to Ultrafast+ can add 1% to the value of the home so there is no excuse for New Builds to not be FTTP (unless very rural position exceeds OR investment limits) and if the builder detests OR that much or they wish to add TV/Radio services they can select another provider (Hyperoptics/Truespeed/OFNL etc).

    I can only assume it is ignorance on the part of the developer and hopefully this OR initiative will address this. But in my view is Ofcom should mandate FTTP on three plots or more with a maximum cost to the builder of £7000 plus ground works contractor labour (which is required whether its copper or fibre).

  5. Avatar Jonathan Buzzard says:

    Personally I would mandate a full fibre solution to *ALL* new buildings in Scotland, regardless of their location. If you want to build a new property in some really remote location then you need to bear the cost. You might argue for a subsidy for affordable housing in remote locations, but basically it is just developers taking excessive profits and leaving the public purse to pick up the cost.

  6. Avatar Richard Auld Concept Solutions People says:

    While Openreach will supply FTTH notionally free, they will then reap the benefits of a virtual monopoly for the next 25 years. Alternative fibre infrastructure builders will share the benefits and offer dark fibre connections to any ISP.

    1. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      As will Altnets. Many new builds may have no OR presence – ever. It is the developers choice.

      OR is likely to continue to be under regulatory control with the obligation of open access to ISPs. The current difference between OR and Altnets is the number of available ISPs via their networks. It may change but some Altnets will be ISP exclusive for some time.

      Some new builds may have more than one network provider. One near me has both OR (FTTC) and Hyperoptics (FTTP) so as always there will be exceptions. Presumably OR will upgrade to FTTP eventually where they have a current presence.

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