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Openreach Build FTTP Broadband to 80,000 Edinburgh Premises

Monday, Jul 6th, 2020 (1:13 pm) - Score 4,057
openreach engineer pulling fibre optic cable duct

Openreach (BT) has today announced that 80,000 premises across the city of Edinburgh in Scotland can now access their 1Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network and work is on-going. The city was one of the first to be announced under their “Fibre First” deployment plan, which began two years ago.

At this stage it’s still unclear how much the city’s deployment is costing the operator and how many premises will ultimately benefit, although their roll-out has now completed in Abbeyhill, Corstorphine, Davidson’s Mains, Newington, Fairemilehead, Fountainbridge and Liberton. Most of the build is also nearing completion in Colinton, Granton, Leith and Morningside.

NOTE: Openreach’s FTTP based broadband ISP network currently covers 2.75 million UK premises and aims to reach 4.5 million by March 2021. After that they have an ambition to reach 20 million by the mid-to-late 2020s (costing c.£12bn to complete).

Meanwhile Openreach’s engineers are due to restart work (i.e. as COVID-19 restrictions ease) in areas including Stockbridge and the West End, Craiglockhart and Portobello. Upgrades will also start in Maybury, West Edinburgh, and the city centre’s Waverley exchange area later this year. Suffice to say that they’re far from finished.

However, it’s probably no coincidence that the operator has put this announcement out today, which follows only a few days after Virgin Media announced that their 1Gbps DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrade had also gone live across Edinburgh (here). Both now have a large area of coverage in the city.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s Partnership Director for Scotland, said:

“We’ve made great progress here in Edinburgh despite the challenges of Covid-19 restrictions, with 80,000 city households and businesses now able to connect to our new full fibre broadband network.

Connectivity’s been vital for city businesses, home workers and families home educating during the lockdown, with record demand across our network. Now, as the nation faces the economic fallout from the pandemic, it’s going to be even more essential.

Our rollout in Edinburgh offers these 80,000 homes and businesses access to the fastest, most reliable broadband available anywhere in the UK. That gives the city an economic edge for the recovery – so I’d urge people to check if they can upgrade now.

The copper network is coming to the end of its working life and will eventually be switched off. Edinburgh businesses and residents can be early adopters to the new full fibre network, with a choice of providers who use the Openreach network to offer services.”

We should point out that Openreach and Virgin Media aren’t the only gigabit broadband builders in the city. Cityfibre’s own FTTH network (Gigafast Broadband) also started to go live earlier this year (here), but their coverage remains comparatively small. Elsewhere Hyperoptic’s full fibre connectivity, which tends to focus on large apartment blocks (MDU), has also been present across various parts of the city for some years now.

Otherwise readers will no doubt note that “fastest, most reliable broadband available anywhere in the UK” claim, which isn’t entirely accurate since there are other ISPs offering 2Gbps and 10Gbps packages (e.g. Zzoomm, B4RN and Black Fibre). On top of that Openreach’s network is asymmetric in speed rather than symmetric, which is what many of their rivals are already doing (e.g. Cityfibre). Mind you none of those have good coverage, yet.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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33 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Gary says:

    Well now Robert ” the fastest, most reliable broadband available anywhere in the UK” Thats not entirely true now is it ?

  2. Avatar photo JP says:

    Be nice if they could finish rolling out in my area, or are they not bothering with underground telephone lines, just overhead and new builds?

    Getting a killer estimate of 0.00mbps at the moment.

    1. Avatar photo Doctor Colossus says:

      That’s not just killer – that’s stone dead! 😀

    2. Avatar photo JP says:

      Supposed to be a fibre first area too?

    3. Avatar photo JP says:

      Well I managed to get through to Openreach and they linked me a form to fill out, now been assigned a case number and will get back to me in 5 days…

      Hopefully something a bit more solid will come of this.

  3. Avatar photo CarlT says:

    Great to see this. Perhaps later than many, myself included, would have wished but it’s getting done and should be saluted.

    Let’s hope the rollout continues to accelerate and hits all the, aggressive, targets.

  4. Avatar photo Darren says:

    I’m glad that they are accelerating their FTTP roll out. Does anyone know if they are concentrating on Virgin areas first, or targeting areas where people only have ADSL/FTTC as a choice?

    I notice a week ago two Openreach vans were in my street and they were running fiber through ducts. They said to my neighbour they were rolling out FTTP over the next few months in my street. Interestingly I’m not in a Fibre First area.

    I would love to know their selection choices for where to roll out fiber. Seems random to me.

    1. Avatar photo Ryan says:

      Whether they will admit it I suspect they are looking at areas with Virgin and targetting them more than areas with only FTTC and nothing in the future because they have the market already and Virgin is a competitive area.

      The disappointing part of this is it further distances the have and have not’s as if you have Virgin you already have a superfast service whereas if you have only FTTC at best you are left in the cold.

      It’s frustrating when the above applies to us – living on 25 for the foreseeable future – bring on 5G or low earth satellites as that’s the only faster service we will get.

  5. Avatar photo Tom says:

    Does anyone know when Openreach are due to release their next planned locations for FTTP??

    1. Avatar photo Harmz says:

      It’s every quarter, we’re due an update any day now.

      January 13th and April 13th were the last two updates. I think the 13th both times is just coincidence, but it should be early to mid July.

      Keep a lookout of the file linked to the “click here” text on the second to last paragraph here:

    2. Avatar photo Tom says:

      Update has now been released – Talk about timing

  6. Avatar photo Lawrence says:

    I was speaking to a local openreach engineer who told me that my area is due to start fttp rollout towards the end of the year. It’s not been mentioned on any of the rollout lists. Are we due a new one?

  7. Avatar photo Bob@ItsGoodToTalk.com says:

    Openrewch twitter account assure me my area is due to get FTTP by December this year, but we are not on any existing announcement either.

    1. Avatar photo Fastman says:

      more sarcasm sarcasm as ever

      how would know what rollout you were on anyway

      suggest you keep reviewing the openreach checker and that will advise

    2. Avatar photo Bob@ItsGoodToTalk.com says:

      What is sarcastic about two facts?

  8. Avatar photo Dave D says:

    My area is being fttp enabled by openreach at the moment and it isn’t advertised anywhere.

    1. Avatar photo JPR says:

      Exactly the same with me, I was very surprised to see contractors pulling the cables through, as my area isn’t listed anywhere.

    2. Avatar photo Mark says:

      I live in Dalkeith about 8 miles south of Edinburgh and VM cabled up the whole town apart from my estate. Then out of nowhere about a month ago openreach enable FTTP in my whole estate, so I placed an order and have been live for 5 days now.

  9. Avatar photo Josh Welby says:

    My area North West London will not have FTTP from Openreach anytime soon
    and it may start in two years time according to Openreach Engineers in this area
    I have not spoken to any Virgin Engineers about this yet

  10. Avatar photo CarlT says:

    Loads of smaller areas not on any lists being enabled. The lists cover two parts of the rollout but there are others.

    1. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

      I agree.

      From what I understand there is a deliberate policy of finding low hanging fruit. Areas that are quick and easy to do and will gave good uptake. Then build out from there.

      As I’ve said a few times a lot of the OR FTTP will be deployed on a PCP by PCP basis. So switch off will be on a DSLAM by DSLAM basis. Which makes perfectly good commercial sense.

    2. Avatar photo GNewton says:

      BT Openreach says this on https://www.openreach.com/transparency :

      “The approach outlined on this page is not followed for other FTTP deployment related to BDUK, new sites, our market towns and villages build and other smaller scale infill.”

      Hence, it has some other rollouts in addition to the published Fibre First areas.

      Having said that, up to this date it only roughly covers 2.5 Million premises, this company is many years behind of where it should be! The vast majority of premises in this country have no fibre broadband.

    3. Avatar photo Fastman says:

      a builder not sure why you think openreach will be switching off DSLAMSs or overbuilding DSLAMs areas – there are in excess of 200+ or more service providers selling FTTC therea only a handful currently selling FTTP – why would you want to do that – cant seen that happen any time soon in any large scale

    4. Avatar photo Fastman says:

      G newton

      actually 90% of the UK has fibre broadband in excess of 24 m/bps but you know that already and actually most people want a service that works and does what it needs to do for them ( upgrade from 2m adsl to > 30 m/MBPS 30 fttc Is life changing – FTTP will increase but its more challenging, complicated and very dependant on local conditions (duct no duct/ poles no poles) all sorts of issues impact of deployment of FTTP (which determine roll out or not)

    5. Avatar photo GNewton says:

      @Fastman: Fibre broadband coverage from BT/Opereach currently is 2.575m premises. You are probably talking about VDSL or cable, not fibre broadband, when quoting your 90%+ figure!

  11. Avatar photo Peter says:

    Great for the people of Edinburgh, not so great for the people of the surrounding council areas that again shoo no signs of receiving any FTTP love from BT Openreach. Gets annoying that Edinburgh for the most part now has near 3 built our fibre networks and where I live still doesn’t even have one.

    VM did have street dates for planned works for Newtongrange and for most of Gorebridge (nothing for my bit though (Grr!!!!)) until Covid-19 hit and now nothing, they have all been pulled.

    Kind of sick of these half hearted deployments that limit the growth of communities to the big cities with these types of focus works.

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      VM haven’t pulled out from Newtongrange and Gore ridge, just delayed due to Covid19.

      I got Virgin in Mayfield in December and OpenReach just installed FTTP in my street a couple months ago.

      No OpenReach FTTP rollout planned on the Dalkeith exchange, just retro new build upgrades.
      Basically running fibre to new developments that only got court originally.

      They are doing lots of this retro FTTP at new build properties in Woodburn, Kippielaw, Mayfield and surrounding areas.

      ThinkBroadband maps shows all the areas active.

      Where are you that Virgin are skipping you?

    2. Avatar photo Mark says:

      @ John

      I’m one of the lucky ones in Kippielaw who got hooked up with Openreach FTTP. I was very disappointed when I found out virgin were skipping my estate and was a little disappointed but it all worked out in the end.

    3. Avatar photo Peter says:

      @ John

      I’m at the tail of the town at the most south part of Gorebidge, I noticed the roadwork notices (one.network) seemed to stop in Gorebridge at the bridges that go over the railway line near the station in town at two points which was very strange as considering there are 2 housing developments in those areas at around 250-400k a plot (AKA juicy consumers imo), maybe they are possibly FTTP connects via BTOR?

      Now I’m working from home for work all the time (Looks likely for at least the next 6 months full time) I have considered getting a second FTTC line as my Synology router can load balance two circuits.

    4. Avatar photo John says:


      They split Woodburn in 2, with the 2nd half appearing on roadworks website around 6 months later.
      The same with Mayfield, they are still doing the 2nd half.

      They added all of Newtongrange (right up to the doctor’s surgery) and large parts of Gorebridge in 1 go, which was their biggest batch added since they started in Bonnyrigg a couple years ago.

      I would have expected them to add the rest of Gorebridge to the plans at a later date, it’s usually staggered like that.

      Virgin have completely skipped all the new private developments around Woodburn and the new development at Kippielaw.
      They might skip some of the new developments in Gorebridge to if that affects you.

      If you’re in a new build OpenReach are currently retro fitting FTTP to lots of the recent new build developments in the area (built in the last 20 or so years) as they tend to be fully ducted and easy to pull the fibre through.
      They’ve done some in Bonnyrigg, Eskbank, hundreds of the new properties in and around Woodburn, the development in Kippielaw and some in Mayfield.
      I tiny bit OpenReach FTTP in Gorebridge at new housing opposite Greenhall.

  12. Avatar photo John says:

    Copper originally*

  13. Avatar photo Peach says:

    Openreach do run a programme of retrofitting estates which tend tocbe ducted estates and can be anything up to 30 years old. These generally rely on existing spine cabling and is not to the same scale as a fibre city/village

    1. Avatar photo CarlT says:

      Spot on, Peach. Thank you. Some low hanging fruit being taken up.

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