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Ofcom to Help BT Fibre Rollout Reach 3.2 Million Rural Premises UPDATE

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020 (10:52 am) - Score 7,167
3d rendering of optical fiber cable

Ofcom has proposed to change their UK regulation as a result of Openreach’s (BT) recent commitment to extend their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network to a further 3.2 million rural properties, which will allow the operator to include these investment costs in its prices upfront.

Back in January 2020 (here), Ofcom proposed a new approach to pricing Wholesale Local Access (WLA) services in the UK (excluding Hull). For areas considered to be less competitive – Geographic Area 3 – the regulator proposed having cost-based prices using a Regulatory Asset Base (RAB) approach, which would allow BT to recover (from a wider range of products) any fibre network investments that it makes (i.e. reducing the risk of its investment).

NOTE: Area 3 means locations (e.g. rural) where Openreach is the only operator providing a large-scale network (i.e. no rivals or plans by rivals).

At the time Ofcom said that such a change (i.e. being able to include the cost of this deployment in its prices from the outset) would be contingent upon BT making a “firm commitment to lay fibre in these [rural] parts of the country … If not, its prices would only increase after fibre has been built.

In May 2020 BT announced that it intended to ramp-up their investment in “full fibre” broadband (here) via a commitment of £12bn to deploy their FTTP network across 20 million UK premises by the “mid – to late-2020s” (at present they’ve completed 3 million and this will reach 4.5 million by March 2021).

Judging by today’s update from Ofcom, this new aim includes 3.2 million rural properties (i.e. commercial build without state aid) by 2025/26. In short, BT has provided a commitment that Ofcom are happy with and consequently they’re now consulting on the originally proposed change.

Ofcom Statement

In January, we set out details of a post-build RAB approach, under which prices are set to recover the cost of the copper network but are allowed to increase as BT deploys a fibre network. However, we expressed a preference for a forecast RAB approach, if Openreach were prepared to commit to building fibre commercially in Area 3 on sufficient scale.

Under the forecast approach, we set a price cap for the duration of the control, which includes a contribution to the recovery of fibre investment costs based on a committed level of fibre deployment. We noted that Openreach had suggested extending the proposed approach to charge controlling WLA services in Geographic Area 2 to Area 3, by indexing copper-based services of bandwidths up to 40 Mbit/s download, 10 Mbit/s upload (40/10) to inflation. We recognised that there could be added advantages of a consistent pricing approach across Area 2 and Area 3. However, we explained that to take this forward we would require a commitment from BT to build a fibre network in Area 3.

In June 2020, Openreach committed to build fibre commercially (i.e. without public subsidy) to at least 3.2 million premises in Area 3 cumulatively by the end of 2025/26.

In light of this commitment, we are consulting on adopting a forecast RAB approach in Area 3 by indexing copper-based services of bandwidths up to 40/10 [40Mbps download / 10Mbps upload] and allowing pricing flexibility for higher speed services.

The closing date of this consultation is 16th September 2020. Ofcom now expect to publish their final decision relating to the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review (WFTMR) by 31st March 2021.

In summary Ofcom’s proposals are:

• To adopt a forecast RAB approach.

• Pre copper retirement, to set charge controls on MPF [fully unbundled copper lines] and FTTC 40/10 rentals at CPI+0; and allow pricing flexibility on Openreach’s FTTC services at bandwidths above 40/10 and fibre services (FTTP and G.Fast).

• To restrict Openreach’s ability to geographically target price reductions in Area 3 by prohibiting geographic discounts on FTTP rental charges in Area 3.

We should add that the regulator will also require Openreach to provide Dark Fibre links in Area 3 to support mobile and other network growth.

UPDATE 11:14am

In keeping with this Openreach has just published an extended list of 251 locations (PDF) in the “final third” (i.e. final 30% of the hardest to reach UK premises) where it will build the new FTTP network over the next 3 years, which includes the likes of Millom, Thurso, Ballycastle and Aberystwyth.

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said:

“This year we’ve all seen the importance of having a decent broadband connection and at Openreach, we’re convinced that Full Fibre technology can underpin the UK’s economic recovery.

Right now, we’re building a new, ultra-reliable full-fibre network that will boost productivity, cut commuting and carbon emissions, and connect our families, public services and businesses for decades to come. It’s Ofcom’s proposals that give us the right conditions to build commercially in hardest to reach areas.

We’re determined to find inventive engineering solutions and effective partnership funding models to reduce costs and enable us to connect as many communities as possible across the UK without public subsidy.

Openreach is leading the charge to help Government achieve its target of making gigabit capable networks available nationwide by 2025. And we hope that by publishing our own plans, we can help ensure that taxpayers only fund connections in communities that really need public support.”

Oliver Dowden, UK Digital Secretary, said:

“Fast and secure internet connections will be a vital tool to help our economy recover and we have committed £5 billion to make sure the hardest-to-reach areas of the UK aren’t left behind.

Today’s announcement is a significant step forward, with Openreach delivering better broadband so 3.2 million families and businesses can work and enjoy faster speeds.”

The full list of locations for Openreach’s FTTP build over the next few years is below (i.e. those within the first phase of network build in rural market towns and villages up to March 2024 as part of OR’s 3.2m Area 3 commitment), but we recommend the linked document above for its regional categorisation.

Exchange Totals Locations
Aberconwy 3 Conwy
    Deganwy 
    Tywyn
Abercynon 1 Abercynon
Abergavenny 1 Abergavenny
Aberystwyth 1 Aberystwyth
Alloa 3 Alloa
    Sauchie
    Clackmannan
Alnwick 1 Alnwick
Alva 2 Alva
    Menstrie
Ardrossan 3 Ardrossan
    Saltcoats
    Stevenston
Askern 1 Askern
Aviemore 1 Aviemore
Banbury 1 Banbury
Banff 1 Banff
Bangor 2 Bangor
    Penrhos Garnedd
Barnoldswick 1 Barnoldswick
Barrow-In -Furness 1 Barrow-In -Furness
Beamish 1 Beamish
Belper 1 Belper
Bexhill 1 Bexhill
Bideford 2 Bideford
    Northam
Blyth 1 Blyth
Bodmin Moor 1 Bodmin
Bourne 1 Bourne
Bridgwater 1 Bridgwater
Bridlington 1 Bridlington
Brynmawr 1 Brynmawr
Buckie 3 Buckie
    Findochty
    Buckpool
Burnham-On-Sea 2 Burnham-On-Sea
    Highbridge
Burton On Trent 1 Burton On Trent
Buxton 1 Buxton
Caernarfon 3 Caernarfon
    Caeathro
    Llanrug
Caerphilly 3 Caerphilly
    Bedwas
    Llanbradach
Caister-On-Sea 1 Caister-On-Sea
Campbeltown 1 Campbeltown
Cannock 1 Cannock
Canterbury 1 Canterbury
Chapel En Le Frith 1 Chapel En Le Frith
Chester Le Street 1 Chester Le Street
Chippenham 1 Chippenham
Cirencester 1 Cirencester
Colwyn Bay 1 Colwyn Bay
Crediton 1 Crediton
Cross Hills 1 Cross Hills
Cross Keys 1 Cross Keys
Crowborough 1 Crowborough
Cullingworth 2 Cullingworth
    Wilsden
Cumnock 4 Cumnock
    Auchinleck
    Netherthird
    Holmhead
Cwm 1 Cwm
Dalmellington 1 Dalmellington
Dalry(Ayr) 1 Dalry(Ayr)
Dalton-In-Furness 1 Dalton-In-Furness
Dartmouth 1 Dartmouth
Daventry 1 Daventry
Dawlish 1 Dawlish
Dorchester 1 Dorchester
Dumfries 3 Dumfries
    Maxwelltown
    Georgetown
Dunbar 2 Dunbar
    Belhaven
Evesham 1 Evesham
Exmouth 1 Exmouth
Falmouth 1 Falmouth
Fauldhouse 3 Fauldhouse
    Breich
    Longridge
Ferndale 3 Ferndale
     Tylorstown
    Wattstown
Filey 1 Filey
Forres 1 Forres
Fraserburgh 1 Fraserburgh
Gainsborough 1 Gainsborough
Galashiels 2 Galashiels
    Tweedbank
Galston 1 Galston
Girvan 1 Girvan
Glossop 1 Glossop
Godalming 1 Godalming
Goldthorpe 1 Goldthorpe
Great Wakering 1 Great Wakering
Harrington 1 Harrington
Hartford 4 Hartford
    Greenbank
    Winnington
    Barnton
Haslemere 1 Haslemere
Hatfield Woodhouse 2 Hatfield
    Stainforth
Haverhill Town 1 Haverhill
Hawick 1 Hawick
Haywards Heath 1 Haywards Heath
Hednesford 1 Hednesford
Hereford 1 Hereford
Herne Bay 1 Herne Bay
High Green 1 High Green
Horncastle 2 Horncastle
    West Ashby
Horsham 1 Horsham
Houghton Le Spring 3 Houghton Le Spring
    West Rainton
    East Rainton
Hullbridge 1 Hullbridge
Hunstanton 1 Hunstanton
Ilfracombe 1 Ilfracombe
Irby 1 Irby
Kendal 1 Kendal
Kilsyth 2 Kilsyth
    Queenzieburn
Kilwinning 1 Kilwinning
Kincardine 1 Kincardine
Kings Lynn 2 Kings Lynn
    South Lynn
Knottingley 1 Knottingley
Leabrooks 3 Leabrooks
    Somercoates
    Swanick
Leek 1 Leek
Lennoxtown 2 Lennoxtown
    Milton of Campsie
Leominster 1 Leominster
Lewes 1 Lewes
Llandudno 1 Llandudno
Llanelli 3 Llanelli
    Swiss Valley
    Dafen
Llantrisant 4 Llantrisant
    Pontyclun
    Llanharan
    Miskin
Lossiemouth 1 Lossiemouth
Ludlow 1 Ludlow
Lytham 1 Lytham
Maldon 2 Maldon
    Heybridge
Malton 1 Malton
Malvern 1 Malvern
Market Drayton 1 Market Drayton
Matlock 1 Matlock
Millom 1 Millom
Morpeth 1 Morpeth
Mountain Ash 2 Mountain Ash
    Abercwmboi
Nantwich 1 Nantwich
Newtown Llantwit 4 Llantwit Fardre
    Beddau
    Church Village
    Tonteg
Northwich 1 Northwich
Otley 1 Otley
Penrith 1 Penrith
Penryn 1 Penryn
Peterhead 1 Peterhead
Pickering 1 Pickering
Portishead 1 Portishead
Portland 1 Isle of Portland
Poulton 1 Poulton-Le-Fylde
Prestonpans – Port Seton 2 Prestonpans
    Cockenzie and Port Seton
Pwllheli 1 Pwllheli
Rayleigh 1 Rayleigh
Rhosllanerchrugog 1 Rhosllanerchrugog
Rhuddlan 1 Rhuddlan
Rhyl 2 Rhyl
    Kinmel Bay
Rhymney 1 Rhymney
Rochford 1 Rochford
Sandbach 1 Sandbach
Scarborough 1 Scarborough
Seaford 1 Seaford
Selby 1 Selby
Selkirk 1 Selkirk
Settle 1 Settle
Skelmersdale 1 Skelmersdale
Skipton 2 Skipton
    Embsay
Sleaford 2 Sleaford
    Leasingham
South Elmsall 3 South Elmsall
    South Kirkby
    Upton
South Molton 1 South Molton
South Queensferry 1 South Queensferry
St. Annes 1 St. Annes
Stamford 1 Stamford
Stonehaven 2 Stonehaven
    Cowie
Stratford On Avon 1 Stratford On Avon
Stroud 1 Stroud
Swadlincote 1 Swadlincote
Teignmouth 2 Teignmouth
    Bishopsteignton
Tewkesbury 1 Tewkesbury
Thirsk 1 Thirsk
Thurso 1 Thurso
Towcester 1 Towcester
Truro 1 Truro
Upwey 1 Upwey
Walney 1 Walney
Welshpool 1 Welshpool
West Kilbride 2 West Kilbride
    Seamill
Weymouth 1 Weymouth
Whalley 1 Whalley
Whitby 1 Whitby
Whitstable 1 Whitstable
Whitwell 2 Whitwell
    Creswell
Wickersley 2 Wickersley
    Thurcroft
Workington 1 Workington
Yeovil 1 Yeovil
Codicote 1 Codicote
Gerrards Cross 1 Gerrards Cross
Kingsbridge 1 Kingsbridge
Connahs Quay 1 Connahs Quay
Cullompton 1 Cullompton
Lynton 1 Lynton
Taunton 1 Taunton
Kelty 1 Kelty
Penicuik 1 Penicuik
Peebles 1 Peebles
Tranent 1 Tranent
Willington 1 Willington
Elgin 1 Elgin
Ellon 1 Ellon
Inverurie 1 Inverurie
Bognor Regis 1 Bognor Regis
Buckley 1 Buckley
Lanark 1 Lanark
Ilminster 1 Ilminster
Winsford 1 Winsford

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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.
Leave a Comment
73 Responses
  1. Avatar joe

    “Ofcom now expect to publish their final decision relating to the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review (WFTMR) by 31st March 2021.”

    Add in potential legal challenges and we could be in 22 b4 its sorted.

    We need a system able to move faster….

  2. Avatar Jake4

    So they’re going to overbuild JurassicFibre’s Exmouth rollout.

    • Avatar I

      The altnetters love to talk a good game about competition, so here it is.

      Can’t criticise OR for wanting to upgrade their network.

  3. Avatar AnotherTim

    I see that there are areas in Herefordshire listed where Gigaclear have built as part of the Fastershire BDUK, but I can’t see anything in the Gloucestershire part of the Fastershire areas which are still waiting for anything better than ADSL2+, which is disappointing.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @AnotherTim
      That should mean that you’re still in scope for deployment via the £5bn government funding.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      Actually my area (where “area” isn’t defined) is supposed to be included in the Gigaclear build – which was due to be completed by the end of 2018. The latest from Fastershire is that the build will start this quarter – but that’s what they said last quarter…
      The areas shown on the Gigaclear website are no longer the build areas, so nobody knows what the areas actually are. However, there is no sign of any planned works on one.network anywhere within miles.

    • Avatar Mark

      Cirencester and Shroud in Gloucestershire.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      Cirencester and Stroud do have areas that aren’t “superfast”, but they have no sub-USO areas. The Forest of Dean is 15% sub-USO, and has no locations included in the list.

  4. Avatar Gregory Berry

    Finally, FTTP where I live! I know it says 3 years, but is it likely to go over that do you think?

    • Such plans are always tentative and subject to change (i.e. areas dropping off the list and new ones being added), but generally Openreach are normally quite good at keeping to a time-scale (relative to others in the market).

  5. Avatar Jamie Simms

    Really not sure what Openreach have against Leicestershire but once again another extensive list published but not one place in Leicestershire is included and I am still confused how Leicester city was not made a Fibre first city considering its size and population especially considering that Virgin has limited footprint and not a Gig1 area and CityFibre doing a very limited rollout to a small area.

    Overall this announcement has some positives with the amount and Ofcom support but it is disappointing that again lots of overbuilding happening against Virgin,CityFibre and smaller rural operators like Gigaclear and Jurassic fibre & others. To me Openreach would be better to focus the investment on areas that do not already have FTTP

    • Avatar I

      “but it is disappointing that again lots of overbuilding happening against Virgin,CityFibre and smaller rural operators like Gigaclear and Jurassic fibre & others.”

      It’s a competitive business, there is no expectation that if an altnet has issued a press release, everyone else should stay away. That said, many of the areas announced today don’t and probably never will have an altnet.

      Openreach’s ISP customers will want to supply a competitive service, which means Openreach needs to build out too – and given that this is a commercially funded rollout they can do whatever they like

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      “many of the areas announced today don’t and probably never will have an altnet.”
      I cynically suspect that some of the areas where altnets have announced plans will never have an altnet either.

  6. Avatar Fermanagh

    Is this just the premises in the listed towns/villages themselves that will be upgraded, and not the surrounding premises which are serviced by the exchanges being upgraded?

    • Avatar Its coming

      Usually it is everything. Unless theres an overwhelming cost and then funding is sought through government.

  7. Avatar Gavin

    While it is good that OR are adding all these rural locations in their plans, what happens to the regular market 2 areas that so far haven’t been listed anywhere?

    Is there now more of a financial incentive to build in a market 3 areas?

    Or are the listed places being done along side the market 2 areas?

    • Avatar CarlT

      ‘Area 3’ is nothing to do with what was formerly market 3.

    • Avatar Jonathan

      A *LOT* of these locations are not remotely rural. Randomly picking two in the North East of England, nobody in their right mind could describe Blyth or Chester Le Street as rural. I mean Blyth has a population of 37k, on the other hand Beamish is definitely rural.

    • Avatar Gavin

      I just find it strange that all these rural places are being listed yet thousands more financially viable areas haven’t been on any list.

    • Avatar I

      Maybe your idea of “financially viable” is different from theirs. Openreach may find that it is more worthwhile tackling these less desirable areas since competition is unlikely to arrive.

      A lot of these places will have FTTC available, so the bulk of the work has already been done (getting fibre from the exchange to an aggregation node) – this is now about getting it closer to the home.

      So the urban vs rural argument perhaps doesn’t apply in the way that it previously did, e.g. my parents’ “rural” road has about 100 houses and a few businesses spread over about a mile. 288 port FTTC cab is on one end of the road, and agg node is likely nearby. A nice easy win when they get around to it – they’ve already FTTP’d the other road that the cab serves

      Worth pointing out that even Openreach doesn’t try to claim that this is entirely a “rural” thing, they accurately call it the “Market Towns and Villages programme”

    • Avatar CarlT

      Only so much resource available and they don’t want to make announcements too early. Until the resources are in place and a plan can be made announcing an area will result in a bunch of complaints if it takes too long to build.

      It’s a no-win situation really. We’re a bunch of entitled whingers when it comes down to it – seeing people complaining because their FTTP isn’t symmetrical or they can only get Virgin Media when they want symmetrical gigabit is crazy.

  8. Avatar Sam

    Still no mention of my village, Last as per usual.. Probably beyond 2025.

  9. Avatar ChrisD

    I think their definition of ‘rural’ is pretty loose. For example, Ely, Chippenham, Penrith are hardly in the sticks!

    • Avatar Pezza

      Yes just what I was thinking looking at my area and the locations chosen for improvements, the towns with the largest populations… or in other words only chosing places where they will see a return on investment, despite the fact if the government is helping to fund it, that’s everyone’s taxes paying for it..

    • Avatar Go Faster Jeff

      @Chris by ‘their’ I assume you mean OFCOM who defined Area 3? Plus, the definition is based on more than just rurality.

      Also, @Pezza the point of the article is that this coverage will be provided without subsidy.

  10. Avatar Lawrence

    Again no sign of shevington/Appley bridge on the list. Very disappointed to say the least. Lockdown on 6mbps adsl has been challenging, not even fttc available.

    I’ll faint the day I get fibre

    • Avatar JamesP

      If you can only get ADSL, chances are you will be get FTTP separately to any Fibre First plans. This may be sooner rather than later.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      @JamesP, I’m not aware of anything that will mean ADSL only areas are dealt with sooner rather than later. I suspect that many will be later.

    • Avatar JamesP

      @anotherTim. There are several areas around me that still only have ADSL (or very slow FTTC access) and they appear to be on the cards for FTTP. I assume as part of infill programs as they are not listed on any part of the fibre first programs?

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      @JamesP, you’re saying that ADSL areas near you are being upgraded to FTTP, but aren’t in the lists released by OR? I suspect it is just chance and nothing to do with targetting ADSL areas. I’ve not heard of any policy to prioritise ADSL areas.

    • Avatar JamesP

      @AnotherTim – Correct. It’s likely infill for areas that are below the USO / sub-superfast – for example, close to me in East Kent we have Plucks Gutter (ADSL only, rural area, upgraded to FTTP last year), A rural area north of Ash (ADSL only, rural area), and Chillenden (ADSL and slow FTTC). None of these villages are on any lists.

      As I have also noted previous, some areas with FTTC at superfast speeds are also being upgraded to FTTP (Chislet/Boyden Gate for example) and they are not on any lists – It’s quite random but I guess there is logic behind it.

  11. Avatar Pezza

    Well that seems a useless list, in my area in North Dorset no villages are included it seems, Gillingham and Yeovil are towns with FTTC and probably some FTTP already, like my village, only as towns they are populations of several thousand. Yeovil is a fair size and probably has a population around 45k.
    I’ll just continue to live in hope, but once the local wireless broadband service, of we get a reliable 5G signal, that exceeds FTTC I’m off to them.

    • Avatar CarlT

      I imagine the 3.2-ish million premises that will benefit will disagree that it’s useless.

    • Avatar Jack Court

      Unfortunately the 3.2m won’t be happy as there was a new rule quietly introduced recently that means anything that doesn’t directly benefit North Dorset villages is useless.

      This is actually the real reason the Tokyo Olympics were postponed and I’ve heard they will now be held in Blandford Forum in 2021

    • Avatar Replying to a big spoilt baby

      North Dorset also got Shaftesbury and Motcombe. You can pay for fibre yourself through fibre on demand if you’re so desperate. Then you’ll see the costs involved

  12. Avatar Alec Broughton

    missing our rural mid-devon exchange off the list of hard to reach places again… :(, no roadmap to upgrade our exchange according to openreach. Would love to get off classic ADSL over long line with mixed copper and aluminium…

    there is no way this list will cover the “final” 30%..

    • Avatar CarlT

      It’s not supposed to cover the last 30% – that’d be closer to 9 million premises than 3.2.

    • Avatar JamesP

      As Andrew said on Think Broadband, it’s a third of the final third. So likely there will be more announcements in due course.

  13. Avatar Alec

    hmm, perhaps I misinterpreted the quote in the update.

    “In keeping with this Openreach has just published an extended list of 251 locations (PDF) in the “final third” (i.e. final 30% of the hardest to reach UK premises) where it will build the new FTTP network over the next 3 years”

    • Avatar Max

      I am also confused by that, I live in an area where an FTTP quote was 170K by Openreach and currently only gets ADSL2+ in Scotland but my town isn’t on that list, when you would think it must be in the final 30% for it to be quoted at 170K.

    • Avatar Go Faster Jeff

      I think the bit you are both missing is that the final third is around 10m homes and this announcement is about a subset of the 3.2m that will be built by 2024 .

      So still lots of expensive, difficult premises that need to be sorted. And probably some more locations to come from Openreach post 2024.

  14. Avatar Mark

    The Cotswold town I live in is missing, I wonder how they come up with hard to reach? Lots of the area have BT ducts in the ground in pavements etc, equipment cabins in the ground, which Fastershire utilised,being a conservation area, martinght be a reason? I know the locals stopping a couple of green cabinets being installed at planning stage,perhaps will get something in 50 years.

  15. Avatar Ryan

    So my town is (amazingly on this list) purely from a south-east point some of these towns are definitely not rural.

    A fair few of the towns are large 20K + with direct trains into London, Lewes and Haywards Heath for example are circled by A roads and motorways. I wouldn’t classify them as rural at all.

    It does however look like they have (amazingly) realised which areas will be covered by other providers and decided not to go there so Peacehaven comes to mind here, it looks like Newhaven will suffer from having a small pocket of VM, so they now miss out.

    I can see these areas being market 3 however I cannot see how they are rural. The 3-year wait now begins but at least we have progress.

    • Avatar JamesP

      My thoughts to. How they managed to squeeze ‘Canterbury’ in to this as Rural amazes me! It should be done as one of the main Fibre First Towns/Cities! Whitstable and Herne Bay also don’t feel very rural…

      My village is definitely rural, and not included on this new list… More waiting.

    • Avatar FibreBubble

      There are no motorways in Lewes or Haywards Heath. There are some long rural lines though.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Canterbury is a cathedral city with a relatively small population that I can imagine being an absolute nightmare to build in.

      It probably doesn’t merit the same status as Richmond upon Thames, Derby, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, all of whom have 6-figure populations.

      Either way all academic. One big pile of work now!

    • Avatar Ryan

      I never said in Lewes or HH but circle – Lewes and HH are both close to A roads or Motorways.

      The point I was making though is that they are hardly “rural” with both having a direct train into London and a large population.

      There is nothing rural about them

    • Avatar FibreBubble

      Lewes is in East Sussex which has no motorways whatsoever and Haywards Heath is in West Sussex which has under 8 miles of motorway none of which circles Haywards heath. .

      You are clearly wrong about the motorways and just as wrong bout the long and rural lines out of both exchanges.

    • Avatar Peach

      They are rural compared to the fibre city areas e.g. Brighton/Worthing. These are not remote locations but are not big towns or cities either, some exchanges in the South East have very few cabinets and properties are sparsely populated (e.g. Isfield, Chiddingly, East Meon, Privett, Plaistow, Sidlesham, etc.) which are the kind of areas that will need government funds to help with the rollout.

    • Avatar CarlT

      20k population isn’t a large town, Ryan.

      Basingstoke is a large town. Reading is a large town. Luton is a large town. Telford is a large town. All over 100k population.

      This classification seems to be for everything that isn’t a large town or city and, frankly, it really doesn’t matter.

      My city isn’t on any of the lists. A couple of the large towns I mentioned aren’t on the lists yet.

      It’s the same glass going into the ground and on the poles with the same kit either side.

  16. Avatar Murray Sharp

    For Scottish exchanges/towns how does this link in with R100 programme?

    • Avatar CarlT

      The only link is that areas that receive FTTP on BT’s tab no longer need subsidy through R100 and are probably ineligible once coverage data is more granular.

      Other than that nothing to do with it at all.

  17. Avatar CarlT

    There are two lists it seems: Fibre First Cities and everything else. There are also various builds that go unannounced either as part of smaller infill programmes or government subsidised build.

    To those complaining about their town or village not being announced to receive Openreach cash I would point out that there are a number of 100k+ population cities that aren’t on any lists, and £5 billion of taxpayer subsidy to be spent by 2025 which may benefit them.

    Lastly just because a place has a certain number of people doesn’t mean it’s not in the more difficult to build to areas. There are a list of reasons why an area may be expensive to build to.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Cases in point as far as cities go:

      Cambridge, Oxford, Leicester, Wakefield, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Huddersfield, etc, etc.

      TL;DR early days yet. Calm down. Areas announced are where the numbers are right and the engineering capability present.

    • Avatar Murray Sharp

      So R100 might be stooddown in these areas even though SG has committed subsidy to get those not able to get 30mb up to that speed?

    • Avatar Mark

      I think you’ll find a lot of places are quite similar, pavements, rows of terraced houses, the identical out of town shopping areas and industrial estates, detached houses, driveways, blocks of flats, etc,i suspect landowners,wayleaves, permissions etc could factor in, and planning for the more protected areas.

    • Avatar Go Faster Jeff

      @Carl

      Agree

      The reality is these places need resolved and OFCOM think only one provider will show up. The good news is someone has committed so there’s now 3 million less homes to worry about and more chance of £5bn being enough government cash to get most of the job done in the places left behind.

    • Avatar CarlT

      I’m aware a lot of places are quite similar, Mark.

      Picking a couple of places that aren’t exactly small from this list Canterbury and a place I’m very familiar with, Stratford Upon Avon, aren’t two of them.

      Loads of conservation areas, loads of preservation orders, loads of weird and wonderful types of surfaces, loads of traffic restrictions.

      Some of the areas will be very easy. Some of them utterly excruciating and relatively expensive. If enough are relatively expensive it takes them out of the relatively easy bracket and into the final 30%.

      I think a lot of people forget just how many premises may be passed purely by building out to our 100k+ population metropolitan areas.

      London, Greater Manchester, Birmingham and the metro area of West Yorkshire: Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees and Wakefield, which have very little distance between each, alone are a lot of people. The size means far more premises to spread costs for each individual project between so outliers impact it less, and you can leave them until last and build what you can with the funds left over from the easier stuff.

      The population density also likely means more existing infrastructure for spines.

      Villages are sometimes actually pretty cheap to build to once you get fibre there, it’s the fibre spine to the place that’s the nasty part. Market towns aren’t great. Towns and cities that are giant conservation areas with S.58 orders all over the shop aren’t good.

      The Openreach budget is not that high and can’t be. They can’t spend what Virgin Media are per premises and they are the only others that are building at scale.

      CityFibre are getting there with scale but I struggle to see how they are keeping costs down. Only now they’re starting to make extensive use of PIA and their own poles can I imagine things getting more economical.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      Having this announcement mixed up with the Ofcom one is not helping the headline reading knee jerk reactions.

      Ofcom say rural
      Openreach say final third

      Two different definitions and final third is a lot bigger than official rural, 20% versus 33%

      But hey lets all get mad at what is actually some good news, not for everyone but a good 3.2 million

  18. Avatar AimDev

    My town is classified as rural by DCMS, and is on the list on this page (Openreach document link results in a 404 btw)
    However it has suffered from BDUK rollout screwups by the CC (< superfast FTTC).
    There is, within 500m, a new build which has FTTP (300Mbs), as does another new build 2km away, same town.
    To extend this to the rest of the town, and its proposed regeneration area would be great, and probably easy as both East/West areas are fibre enabled.
    What is not needed is the local CC being involved at all.

  19. Avatar David

    Well it looks like my village and all villages inbetween Swansea and Ammanford will be no go for fibre for next 5 years. While we all try and work from home great huh! good to see that 5BN is being well spent in areas that already have Virgin Media while others are left in the dark “you like what I did there”

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      None of the £5 billion is being spent for the areas announced by Openreach. It is the opposite, i.e. todays announcement is commercial build, and may mean less needs to be built with the £5 billion increasing the chance that it will be enough money to fill in the gaps.

  20. Avatar Mark

    Roll-out in villages around my area with Gigaclear were quite quick, just laying along grass verges which were quickly dug and covered cabins easily located etc, they stopped before reaching my area, I can see why the difficulties from all the services in the pavements, permission for cabins and members of public complaining, in a nutshell there just a bunch of complainers here.

  21. Avatar andrew price

    Still no sign of any new work for our village in west wales 1.5mbp is all we can get how many more years do we have to wait for more speed

    • Avatar Woe is me

      2033 is target date for everyone. Habe some patience Openreach and altnets don’t just work for you.

  22. Avatar FTTP4ALL

    Finally, Llanelli is on the list.. YES!!

  23. Avatar Vista

    I’m disappointed that MYSLA (Slaithwaite exchange) isn’t on the list. Do we know when the next round of announcements will come?

  24. Avatar James Stanson

    Is there any indication of when Cirencester will have FTTP please? Thanks for any pointers.

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