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Openreach Add 7 New UK Areas to FTTP Gigabit Broadband Plan

Monday, January 13th, 2020 (12:57 pm) - Score 26,222
2019_openreach_fttp_chamber_and_engineer

Network access provider Openreach (BT) appears to have added 7 new UK locations to their roll-out plan for Gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP technology, which largely reflects the outcome from a recent consolidation of smaller builds in to fewer, but larger, build areas.

At present the operator is building at a pace of around 26,000 premises per week and they’ve already covered a total of 2 million premises, although their build rate is forecast to reach 30,000 per week when they exit the 2019/20 period. Most of this is still being delivered at the “lower end” of their £300 – £400 per premises passed cost range and they expect to “pass around 50% of UK premises within this range of costs.

NOTE: Deployment costs rise disproportionately the further you go outside of lucrative urban areas. Openreach claim those in the final 10% could cost £4K each to pass (here).

All of this supports their current aim of covering 4 million premises (homes and businesses) by March 2021 and then 15 million by around 2025. However we note that Openreach’s last roll-out update in October 2019 reflected their completed deployment plan for reaching that 4 million mark (here) and we’re currently awaiting their new strategy before the next major roll-out phase is announced.

Otherwise this month’s rollout update adds the following locations: Bromley, Erewash, Greenwich, Hillingdon, Rushcliffe, Southwark and Sunbury. Unusually no official announcement was sent to us about this development, although it did pop up on their Fibre First Forward Plan (credits to Harmeet for spotting the additions).

We should remind readers that this predominantly reflects Openreach’s purely commercial investment, which for the time being is being focused upon the most lucrative urban areas. Separately they’re also still rolling out some FTTP into rural areas, albeit mostly via Building Digital UK (BDUK) linked state aid schemes.

All of this will no doubt help the Government to achieve their ambition of deploying “gigabit-capable” broadband networks to cover the whole of the United Kingdom by around 2025 (here), which will also involve input from many alternative network ISPs.

Finally, Openreach has previously hinted that they could eventually go beyond 15 million premises (i.e. “majority of the UK if the right investment conditions are in place“), although this is unlikely to happen without softer regulation (they may have just got this one), easier wayleave agreements and an extension to the business rates relief on new fibre (currently in England it only lasts for 5 years – Scotland 10 years – but most FTTP builds plan investment over 15 years+).

Date of Openreach announcement Town, city or borough
February 2018 1. Birmingham        5. Leeds
2. Bristol                6. Liverpool
3. Cardiff               7. London
4. Edinburgh          8. Manchester
June 2018 9.   Exeter
September 2018 10. The Wirral
October 2018 11. Coventry
November 2018 12. Nottingham
November 2018 13. Belfast
December 2018 14. Swansea
January 2019 15. Bury
16. Barking & Dagenham
17. Bexley
18. Croydon
19. Greater Glasgow
20. Harrow
21. Merton
22. Redbridge
23. Salford
24. Sutton Coldfield
25. Richmond Upon Thames
March 2019 26. Salisbury  
April 2019 27. Armagh
28. Bangor
29. Ballymena
30. Greater Belfast
31. Coleraine
32. Derry-Londonderry
33. Enniskillen
34. Lisburn
35. Larne
36. Newry
37. Newtownards
38. Stockport
 
July 2019 39. Antrim
40. Barry
41. Bathgate
42. Ballyclare
43. Ballymoney
44. Ballynahinch
45. Banbridge
46. Broxburn
47. Broadstairs
48. Bromsgrove
49. Burgh Heath
50. Chelmsford
51. Carrickfergus
52. Cookstown
53. Craigavon
54. Doncaster
55. Downpatrick
56. Dungannon
57. Epsom
58. Ewell
59. Gtr Belfast (Carryduff & Castlereagh)
60. Kilmarnock, E.Ayrshire
61. Limavady
62. Magherafelt
63. Newcastle
64. Omagh
65. Ramsgate
66. Saintfield
67. Strabane
68. St Albans
69. Solihull
70. Slough
71. Sheffield
72. Torquay
73. Whitburn, W. Lothian
74. Worthing
October 2019 75. Aberdeen,
76. Ayr,
77. Aughton,
78. Bradford,
79. Billericay,
80. Brentwood,
81. Basingstoke,
82. Brighton,
83. Balham,
84. Chorley Wood,
85. Derby,
86. Hatch End,
87. Lichfield,
88. Molesey,
89. Northampton
90. Newbury,
91. Newcastle (N.I.)
92. Norwich,
93. Ormskirk,
94. Portrush
95. Portstewart
96. Rickmansworth,
97. Royal Tunbridge Wells,
98. Stanecastle,
99. Swindon,
100. Thames Ditton,
101. Tonbridge
102. Watford
103.Wickford
January 2020 104. Bromley
105. Erewash
106. Greenwich
107. Hillingdon
108. Rushcliffe
109. Southwark
110. Sunbury

UPDATE 3:01pm

Openreach informs that what they’ve done is consolidated a number smaller builds in to fewer, but larger, build areas which allows them to publicly announce more “contiguous exchanges” (i.e. a reallocation of the existing plan). As such there is technically no overall increase to premises passed beyond the last update and we’ll thus have to wait a bit longer for their next major roll-out announcement.

Leave a Comment
53 Responses
  1. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Looks like a good news story to me.

    More commercial FTTP is great for homes and businesses.

  2. Avatar Malcolm says:

    Seeing Southwark on the list thought we might finally have some good news but no its still “We don’t have plans to upgrade your area yet. But we’re working with Government and industry to change that” – oh well lets see what fun the USO brings…

    1. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Malcolm
      The Openreach document that Mark links to in the story above references the Bermondsey and New Cross exchange areas in Southwark as having been added to the deployment plans this month. No doubt it’s far too soon for the detailed work to have been carried out to translate this into a schedule of activity for delivery.

  3. Avatar chris conder says:

    Homes passed. Says it all.
    Bring on the altnets who are actually connecting homes and businesses.

    1. Avatar Jonny says:

      Which altnets are pulling fibre into people’s properties without a committed order?

    2. Avatar NE555 says:

      “Homes passed” means “homes where the FTTP network has been completed externally and are ready to accept orders”

      In order to get connected, people still have to place an order. If they choose not to order FTTP when it’s available, that’s up to them. (At least until the copper is retired).

    3. Avatar Mike says:

      @NE555

      Unfortunately many of the resident autists don’t seem to get that.

    4. Avatar CarlT says:

      If you’ve nothing constructive or even remotely coherent to say please feel free to refrain from commenting.

      You have been honoured by the crown and are behaving like a 12 year old troll.

    5. Avatar MrNew says:

      @CarlT

      I’ve seen better behaved 12 year old 🙂

    6. Avatar Adam Jarvis says:

      CC’s comment is a valid point regards “Homes passed”. It’s not a defined term regards BT as far as I’m aware (it’s certainly not in their A-Z glossary).

      So CarlT, can you confirm BT now use the FTTH Council Europe definition for “Homes passed”? because they certainly didn’t in the past. (And if you don’t know the answer or can’t provide a link where they state they do then you’re the one that’s trolling).

      Comments here are a level playing field, nothing worse than making others feel people can’t make valid points, in case we upset the incumbent’s marketing.

      Either way, it would be good to know Openreach’s official line on this.

      FTTH Council Europe:

      “‘Homes Passed’ is the potential number of premises to which a Service Provider has capability to connect in a service area. Typically new service activation will require the installation and/or connection of a drop cable from the homes passed point (e.g. fiber-pedestal, manhole, chamber, utility-pole) to the premises, and the installation of subscriber premises equipment at the premises. This definition excludes premises that cannot be connected without further installation of substantial cable plant such as feeder and distribution cables (fiber) to reach the area in which a potential new subscriber is located.”

    7. Avatar NE555 says:

      > It’s not a defined term regards BT as far as I’m aware

      It is a precise measurable term. For example, look at the KPIs from their quarterly results:
      https://www.btplc.com/Sharesandperformance/Financialreportingandnews/Quarterlyresults/2019-2020/Q1/Downloads/KPIs/BTGroup-Q12019-20-KPIs.pdf

      Under “Openreach – operational” you will see:
      Network deployment (‘000 premises passed)
      Network usage (‘000 premises connected)

    8. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Why does what the ‘FTTH Council Europe’ define it as matter, they are just a trade body for manufacturers and suppliers trying to sell their products.

    9. Avatar Adam Jarvis says:

      NE555: It is a precise measurable term. For example, look at the KPIs from their quarterly results.

      ** Nowhere in that document does it define what BT mean by “Premises Passed” though, it’s not defined in the glossary, that’s my point.**

      “Premises Passed” can mean a multiple of sins and my point was that Chris Condor makes a valid point that BT have been anything but clear regarding it’s definition previously, and you haven’t answered the question, do BT use the FTTH Council Europe definition.

      History:
      A case in point was at the cutoff of the Superfast Cymru broadband contract, where the lack of definition of “premises passed” meant the Welsh Government (partly their incompetence for stupidly believing ‘BT would do the right thing’ (forgetting they’re a commercial company) was unable to reconcile the exact number of homes/premises that had been passed in order to validate the contact terms, at the end of December 2017, and things were left in a manner that was unprofessional and anything but ideal.

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/01/openreach-takes-flak-unfinished-wales-fibre-broadband-rollout.html

      Again, I make the point that CC’s comment is a valid one and it’s always worth mentioning in these situations that ‘premises passed’ is no good to anyone aka. ‘utterly pointless’ if it’s nowhere near where you live.

    10. Avatar TheFacts says:

      Definitive answer must be the BT Wholesale checker. It’s a measurement of system size.

    11. Avatar CarlT says:

      Total Homes Passed – the number of premises that can order a fibre service. Being able to order a fibre service in Openreach parlance = a premises should be reachable with nothing more than a drop cable = exactly what you described, Mr Jarvis.

      In some instances there will be cases where the path for that drop cable needs verifying, however that’s all that needs examination. The FTTP infrastructure is in place and a drop cable installation is it. No fibre manifolds, no build of new splitters, etc, etc.

      The usual one Ms Conder, who I note you’re a fan of, uses is partially complete FTTP builds, specifically Arkenholme. If the fibre is sitting coiled up on poles connected to nothing with no connectors for homes and no availability showing on the Openreach system are the premises connected to the pole passed?

      No. If Openreach can, according to records, reach the premises with nothing more than installation of a drop cable the premises is passed. If they have to build distribution network over and above the drop it is not.

      Do you really think Openreach want to be receiving loads of orders from people and spending their time running surveys and coming back with excessive construction charges or lead times of months as they have to build extensive new plant, alongside all the regulatory issues that would cause as they fail to adhere to service level agreements?

      Would that really be worth a little PR?

      CityFibre talk about premises addressable by their metro networks for a really good reason.

      As far as Superfast Cymru go the only reason I can think of for confusion was reconciling which premises were commercial deployment and which were subsidised.

      The idea that it’s useless to know whether or not a premises can order FTTP is absurd. The idea that the premises actually connected is a valid metric as far as availability of a service goes is absurd beyond to indicate a minimal boundry.

      Openreach are heavily regulated. They aren’t some gangster group where a bunch of burly blokes rock up after the FTTP has been built, kick people’s doors down, forcibly pull out the copper and install ONTs.

      Neither can they send people to the local pub to persuade as many people as possible to sign up or go door to door getting signing people up to FTTP in return for free wayleaves.

      Amusing as your pedantic mental gymnastics was reading earlier comments from you elsewhere I think I’ll pass on further discussion though: thank you.

    12. Avatar CarlT says:

      As a last thing before I return to the day job: before the inevitable comments about how I’m some kind of BT fanboy / copper luddite / some of the more entertaining terms used in https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/01/ofcom-start-major-review-to-boost-uk-full-fibre-broadband-market.html#comment-215677 go about copper carcasses I’d respectfully point to https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ILPWLpi_5X5mVaRKSdo88MVpE-ED0lO7/view

      I call it as I see it. The remark at the start of this thread is silly.

    13. Avatar AnotherTim says:

      @CarlT, good slides. Just out of interest what is the SDX post-nominals? (I think I can guess the others)

    14. Avatar Phil says:

      Indeed homes passed isn’t homes connected. Connecting everyone is almost the same amount of work again and a big undertaking. If everyone that is passed currently ordered FTTP today, how long would it take to complete those orders? A year, two years, 5 years, 10 years…

      However this doesn’t matter at all currently as the industry is only going by the properties passed metric, it is all about keeping shareholders happy by building out ‘potential’. The bubble will either burst or not when investors/shareholders realise that having spent billions passing every property in the UK, they aren’t actually making any money from it as only a small percentage are connected and competition means very little profit. We will end up with a lot of consolidation in the industry as smaller alt.nets have no option to sell what assets they have and shut up shop.

      Openreach stand to benefit the most, as they can push ISPs to move people over to FTTP as they shutdown copper and do the ‘connections’ to fibre more efficiently by exchange area. Even if the services on FTTP are only generating the same revenue as copper for Openreach, they still gain from the much reduced maintenance of an ageing copper network, plus they will consolidate their telephone exchanges and sell many that will no longer be required.

    15. Avatar CarlT says:

      Tim,

      Thank you!

      Silver Peak Deployment Expert.

      Given I proctor and grade the practical exams it was a good idea for me to actually pass it myself first.

      Basically I architect, design and deploy software defined, application aware overlay networks, in between certifying our partners’ engineers to do so too.

      Broadband is a massive part of that. The tech is intended, alongside giving more network visibility and control, to behave like RAID does for disk drives – combining inexpensive WAN circuits to provide high quality network experience.

    16. Avatar CarlT says:

      Phil: No, it’s simple reality. Openreach can’t force people to move to FTTP. How do you propose they detail the reach of their network?

      Openreach can’t push operators around and force migrations to fibre and withdraw copper. The regulation to permit this is still not set in stone it’s only doable with exemptions to the norm.

      When they are able to do that they can certainly begin progressing but it will, as with Verizon and every other copper shut down, take years.

      We aren’t China and can’t have gangs kicking doors down, forcibly installing optical kit, ripping out the copper and leaving.

      The uptake of FTTP will be gradual. It shouldn’t be a major issue though bumps in the road will advise. Even when an exchange is fully built out it’ll be years before copper is completely withdrawn.

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    No sign of Carlisle on that list

    1. Avatar AndyC says:

      Considering the amount of G.Fast pods that have spung up around the city i suspect we will be waiting a while yet, i know a lad who works for openreach and while he says theres a lot of fibre in the stores at the momment he has not been told of any local rollout outside of the developments that have signed up to fibre, shame really since there is a major openreach yard here i would have thought it would be quite cost effective for them since they wouldnt have to travel far at all.

      mind you considering what happened to virgin maby they are holding off

  5. Avatar dee.jay says:

    Keep ’em coming. I think I’m in for a wait here in Bridgend.

    1. Avatar David says:

      Doubt it – I live between 2 houses in Rumney and Barnsley – neither are getting it – both are next to Cities that have. Even Virgin is nearby in both locations but no cigar! (in Rumney it’s the end of my street, and in Barnsley 33 houses in 1 estate built in 2015 – can only get ADSL from the exchange)

      The usual towns listed have to get at least 20 ISP’s all competing in them before they even look elsewhere – or that’s how it looks/feels

      Hurrah for 4G/5G! at least it’s always there, always with you and always works

  6. Avatar Sian Foster says:

    And what about where I live? It is still standard broadband, no fiber whatsoever! I work from home and can’t even make an income because we get 0.3-1 mbs on our line. I’ve list so much money since moving in here, it’s 2020 for crying out loud! When are they going to sort my road out??? It’s ridiculous even trying to watch Netflix or amazon because we don’t have the speeds required to use them. I cancelled my sky because you could not use their services due to the poor speeds, so… Sort out our postcode for fiber for god sakes.

    1. Avatar DontMakeMeLaugh says:

      If you want it that badly then put your hand in your pocket and order FTTP on Demand.

    2. Avatar AnotherTim says:

      @DontMakemeLaugh, FTTP on Demand is not available everywhere – unless you are connected to a FTTC cabinet you can’t actually order FTTPoD even if you can afford it.

    3. Avatar Gary HILTON says:

      How is your 4G signal, And not just with your current operator but with others ? I suffered for years with a pitiful ADSL hoping for fibre, bitching about BDUK and Openreach allowing my line to degrade over the years losing 50% of the poor speed I originally got.

      Then bought a proper 4G device and now have roughly 40Meg down 20Meg up.

      If you are also in a poor 4G reception area then I really do sympathise. If you’re not then do something about it.

    4. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      @Sian
      Always check on things that are important to you before moving house!

      More constructively, as Gary has suggested, look at 4G options as an alternative. And don’t forget that an external mobile aerial on your roof (connected to a wifi router inside the house) can make an enormous difference to the signal strength as it will be a far better receiver than your mobile.

    5. Avatar David says:

      @ Sian Foster

      Or better still – rather than wasting a lot of money on FTTPoD which will give you a paltry 330/50 at best. Go to Cerberus or Giganet and pay for actual fibre either 500/150 or 1000/1000 – I was quoted 41K for FTTPod for the build – but I was already in an area for Giganet and they wanted £580 a month for 1000/1000 – in some towns like Sheffield they do it for £199 a month!

      Much better and cheaper than FTTP out there – And if you can afford £41k for FTTPod then you can get 2.5 years of proper FTTP for that AND up to 5K for install costs if you need them.

      I would have got it- but I couldn’t

  7. Avatar Peter Sharp says:

    Just depends now which part of Erewash will get it.

  8. Avatar MrNew says:

    @chris conder

    Boring, I wish you would change the record 🙁

  9. Avatar Optical says:

    Wish they do my part of Bath with FTTP.

  10. Avatar Martin E says:

    Leeds FTTP ‘Fibre First’ is still non-existent for customer orders in areas where their map, for several months now shows ‘Programme Build Complete’

    https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fibre-first

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Read the small print. Doesn’t say 100% of each exchange area is getting covered.

    2. Avatar Martin E says:

      Even where infrastructure such as new poles and overhead fibre have been deployed, where ducts all over have been surveyed and unblocked, where the overwhelming majority of existing copper infrastructure is underground and the area is one of several cabinets ignored for FTTC there is still no fibre availability.

      Maybe they will serve these existing FTTC areas first and ignore the not-spots as they have done for nearly a decade now and that is what is really meant by ‘fibre first’

      Their ‘plans’ and ‘maps’ ARE a work of fiction, availability IS non-existent.

    3. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      Fibre First does not guarantee 100% FTTP coverage.

      Also some not spots ie. EO and slow VDSL2 without cable option are getting covered. Not all but enough that I notice them.

      http://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/broadband-map#14/53.8170/-1.5297/geafttp/

      Is hopefully more representative than the single colour exchange area maps that Openreach use.

    4. Avatar CarlT says:

      Really Martin?

      Availability in Leeds is non-existent?

      Martin: your property/street are not our entire city.

      https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/E08000035

      I’ll put the disclaimers on the Openreach site below. I’m not a fan of theirs but let’s get real – they have and continue to make FTTP available in the city and make very clear that they aren’t building to every premises covered by maps or lists.

      As far as it not being available at all goes, well, Chapeltown, Headingley and Moortown are listed as complete. They are actually coming back to them and doing a little more coverage as they came in below budget so have been able to cover more premises, however picking on a random address for each:

      Address 11 SHOLEBROKE VIEW, LEEDS, LS7 3HQ on Exchange CHAPELTOWN is served by Cabinet 23
      WBC FTTP Up to 1000 Up to 220

      FTTP is available and a new ONT may be ordered.

      Address 11 GRANBY GROVE, LEEDS, LS6 3BE on Exchange HEADINGLEY is served by Cabinet 59
      WBC FTTP Up to 1000 Up to 220

      FTTP is available and a new ONT may be ordered.

      Address 3 ST. MARGARETS DRIVE, LEEDS, LS8 1RU on Exchange MOORTOWN is served by Cabinet 53
      WBC FTTP Up to 1000 Up to 220

      FTTP is available and a new ONT may be ordered.

      https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fibre-first#fibrefirstlocations

      Programme Build Complete refers to the exchanges where build has been largely completed as part of the FTTP Fibre First Towns, Cities and Boroughs Build Programme, but does not mean that services will be available from this date.

      Openreach has exercised its best efforts to ensure that the maps accurately reflect its relevant FTTP build plans at the time of publication. Details at an exchange level are shown only where Openreach expects that it will build in the greater majority of the relevant exchange.

      https://www.openreach.com/transparency

  11. Avatar Cesar says:

    Still no Wapping D:

  12. Avatar Ian says:

    I’m in Worcester in a new build property and have BT FTTP and get approx 300mbps. Are there any announcements of consumer 1gbps coming in the near future?

    Sorry if this is a dumb post, new here!

    1. Avatar Spoffle says:

      BT 1Gb is coming in March.

  13. Avatar Jamie Simms says:

    Yet again still no Fibre in Leicestershire other than the new build housing areas. Although I have a feeling that CityFibre/Vodafone May be coming later in 2020 as they are busy extending their network around the city.

    1. Avatar Archie says:

      That’s not right. Where in Leicestershire are you? Charnwood Borough is virtually completed covered by Virgin FTTP (as are a lot of other places in the county).

  14. Avatar Colin says:

    It does grate on me that they keep referring to it as “Gigabit FTTP”, when Openreach don’t even publish pricing for a gigabit connection – gigabit speeds are being held back for businesses to replace expensive leased lines.

    Meanwhile, outside of London, we’re stuck with hardly any ISPs actually offering FTTP, and those that do offer slower speeds than many get with FTTC, but for a higher cost!

    1. Avatar Colin says:

      OK, so it seems they do now publish gigabit pricing (I read they didn’t on ispreview only a short while back!).

      My other points stand tho.

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      Openreach aren’t stopping ISPs from offering FTTP. They choose not to.

      The cheaper ones are those with their own kit in exchanges. Nothing stopping them upgrading that kit and their interconnects to Openreach and selling FTTP.

      There’s a fair amount of ISP presence outside of London. Alternative networks are a thing for sure.

    3. Avatar Colin says:

      @CarlT, I wasn’t complaining about Openreach, so I don’t know why you are jumping to their defence.

      It was more a general complaint about the sorry state of FTTP offerings outside of London (which is also rich with AltNets and cable). I’ve *finally* got enabled for FTTP, but unless I pay 3x as much and sign a lengthy contract, I’m stuck with the same 80/20 FTTC I’ve had for several years.

      I’m disgruntled with the *painfully* slow speed at which things have moved, which is of course the reason why most ISPs don’t offer FTTP, which in turn is the reason for the ludicrously high prices from the few that do.

      At this rate it will be another decade before there are any affordable, fast FTTP packages available in small towns 🙁

      AltNets exist out of London, sure, but only in tiny, densely populated pockets (for obvious reasons)

    4. Avatar CarlT says:

      You ‘finally’ have access to FTTP and are complaining because it’s too expensive?

      I’m sure the 90% of the UK without that option are devastated for you.

    5. Avatar Colin says:

      > You ‘finally’ have access to FTTP and are complaining because it’s too expensive?
      > I’m sure the 90% of the UK without that option are devastated for you.

      Not really sure what point you are trying to make?

      It’s essentially pointless having the *capability* of fast internet if a large segment of the population can’t afford it.

      TBH, I don’t even understand why ISPs are offering FTTP plans that hobble FTTP speeds to 32 or 50Mb, or indeed why they are *allowed* to.

      But no, I suppose I should be really pleased that I now have the option of paying almost 2x as much for the same speeds ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  15. Avatar Steve says:

    I notice this now says Chelmsford build is complete. Any idea how long it takes from build completion to being able to order?

  16. Avatar Ric says:

    Why isn’t Bedford on the list, it’s one of the main areas for London commuters. More and more people are working from home. Bedford should be a priority.

  17. Avatar Paul Ward-Miller says:

    Post code RH54DR

    My internet signal/speed is awful. Just purchased a short term Sky Sports package through Now TV. Keeps buffering and definitely not HD quality

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