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Openreach Quietly Hits 3 Million UK FTTP Broadband Premises

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020 (8:54 am) - Score 8,058
diamond cutter rural fttp openreach

Network access provider Openreach (BT) has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that they’ve just passed a new milestone, which was achieved by extending their gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP network coverage to a total of 3 million UK premises. Only another 17 million more to go..

The latest milestone was achieved without much fanfare, although it’s still an interesting figure for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it shows that Openreach’s build pace is continuing to ramp-up despite the impact of COVID-19, and secondly, it’s worth remembering that 3 million premises passed was the original “Fibre First” target (this was set in 2018) before it was boosted.

NOTE: Openreach added 1.3 million FTTP premises in 2019/20, which is expected to be followed by 2 million in 2020/21 and rising to a max build rate of 3 million per year.

Since then Openreach has raised their FTTP roll-out target a couple more times and now expects to reach 4.5 million premises by March 2021 (1.5 million more than expected). After that they hold an ambition to cover 20 million homes and businesses by the mid to late 2020s (2025-30), which is expected to attract a total cost of £12bn (here); some of that will be supported by public subsidy (e.g. BDUK and the £5bn Gigabit Roll-out).

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94 Responses
  1. Avatar CarlT says:

    Belated but brilliant.

    1. Avatar GNewton says:

      What’s so brilliant about it? You’d expect a telecom to build/maintain fibre networks anyway, just like an electric utility company does for power lines, or the water company for he water pipes. Or would you organize a local campaign to get power lines and water pipes, too?

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Agreed brilliant.

  2. Avatar a welshman says:

    my village is on the list to be done but no sign of anything happening yet

  3. Avatar Samuel May says:

    Good, lets hope they maintain this momentum.

  4. Avatar Ian says:

    They have fitted the cables, but no idea when it’s going live! Can’t seem to find out anything!

    1. Avatar joe says:

      You can easily wait months from cables to live.

    2. Avatar Harry says:

      I’m wondering the same. Our street is getting cabled up as we speak, but I’m out of contract as of last month and am paying way too much.

      Joe’s comment doesn’t fill me with hope…

    3. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @James Rudd

      Look on the bright side – at least works have started and there is momentum in the project. You have an delivery date that **might** be 12 months off but once that FTTP is there you will never have to worry about bandwidth again.

  5. Avatar AnotherTim says:

    Great news. I do wish they would prioritize replacing ADSL/ADSL2+ though.

    1. Avatar j karna says:

      I live in third-world South London in terms of broadband provision. Stuck on ADSL+2 with asymmetric speeds 12.0 Mbps / 0.888 Mbps. Got no where with Openreach about moving
      to the 21st century. Wrote to the CEO of Openreach and no response. Checked all the FTTP suppliers and they have no plans for my area.

    2. Avatar joe says:

      Given the roll out pace and locations you have a near certain fttp coming inside a 5yr window.

    3. Avatar AnotherTim says:

      I don’t think it is near certain at all – a random property has a 15% chance of FTTP coverage by Openreach within a year, and 66% by the late 2020s.

    4. Avatar joe says:

      Its not a ‘random property’ it a property in a major city – the capital. Once you exclude many rural properties which are far harder/more expensive and include far more active providers the chances of no fttp for a London property are low in that window.

    5. Avatar Fastman says:


      ts not a ‘random property’ it a property in a major city – the capital. Once you exclude many rural properties which are far harder/more expensive and include far more active providers the chances of no fttp for a London property are low in that window.

      Joe there are many reasons why it might not be covered , wayleaves, duct issues, direct in ground, all sorts reasons why it might not make commercial sense to do it , and make more commercial sense to do somewhere else

    6. Avatar joe says:

      @Fast I’m perfectly aware of reasons why it might not happen. Thats why – re-read – I said *low* chance.

      The scale of BT + others deployments when delivered makes that inevitable…

    7. Avatar Nick says:

      I’ve be pleased with 12.0 Mbps, how about doing the people with the worst connections first.

  6. Avatar Kevin says:

    I remember when they had similar roll outs for ADSL, seemed at the time it would forever to reach us, however look at where we are now.

    Hopefully the burden of replacing Huawei kit won’t impact the roll out.

    1. Avatar AnotherTim says:

      Yes, look where we are now – we got upgraded from ADSL to ADSL2+ a couple of years ago.

  7. Avatar Fibre Roll Out says:

    Question to ask this. How many million of homes are there in UK? 20m for FTTP roll out will not getting 100% coverage within next 5 years.

    1. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      Around 30.4 million premises, business and homes.

      The figures Openreach and others talk about cover both residential and business.

      There are other FTTP operators with roll-out plans to, and overlaps will be not be 100%

  8. Avatar LT says:

    They are currently active in my area with a large presence. Unfortunately due to circumstances outside their control the original plan to complete by August has been pushed back to January for my section. It is quite impressive though if you watch the scheduled works on roadworks.org to see how quickly they can get it done when they dont have to compete with other services for access to the streets.

  9. Avatar Wally1 says:

    Our area went live in Jan. We waited for Sky to offer service but
    they still do not. Ordered from BT a month ago. Scheduled to fit
    yesterday. Did not come – said they had just realised we live in
    a flat so could not fit due to Covid19 rules even though the BT
    Broadband Checker notes this fact and no mention of this restriction
    on Openreach website. Landline already taken by BT and nearly lost
    our Sky FTTC connection. New BT appointment now 11 Aug. hoping Covid19 restrictions ease. So not easy to get FTTP even if it is live in your area.

  10. Avatar James Rudd says:

    Our village had the fibre installed during May with a mix of fibre via poles and underground ducting for more modern housing. Openreach website updated on 26 June to say that ready to order so I ordered it and it went live yesterday

    I got Fibre 250 (same spec as Fibre 300) for £39.99 but wasn’t available on line – i had to do a web chat to get it and was a special offer

    So far so good even with the Smart Hub 2 getting fairly decent WIFI upstairs of around 220mbs and constant 300-310 to router – steady uploads at 51mb so all in all very pleased

  11. Avatar Mark Roxburgh says:

    Some of us are still waiting for the FTTC upgrade. (It was completed, but BT Wholesale only offer the service to business customers)

    1. Avatar The Facts says:

      Sounds unusual, where?

    2. Avatar Mark Roxburgh says:

      East Sussex. My line speed is capped at 20mb (it was 18mb, but I complained and so it was increased slightly) my provider told me it can’t go any higher due to what BT wholesale provide to isps. I went on the BT Wholesale website and I can buy business broadband direct from them that promises speeds of 25mb and a higher.

      Basically the government pay Openreach to upgrade lines and then BT wholesale keep the benefit for themselves.

      Until ofcom break up the BT group company cartel things will never improve.

    3. Avatar Jon says:

      You don’t need to use a provider on the bt wholesale network, other providers will have unbundled the exchange

    4. Avatar The Facts says:

      @MR- surely what ISPs buy from BT Wholesale determines speeds.

    5. Avatar Mark Roxburgh says:

      My provider is saying that the speed is determined by BT Wholesale so nothing can be done. My provider is part of the BT cartel.
      I’m am stuck in an 18 month contract so can’t change as they are meeting the minimum speed requirements(which is also the maximum according to the BT wholesale speed checker)
      Openreach received grants from both central and local governments and my address is included in the stats that the upgrade was successful
      My provider offers the highest guaranteed speed of all providers, so it is the best I can get other than setting up my own ISP.
      Because Openreach say the line is upgraded nothing more can be done until FTTP. Is rolled out which will probably be another 10 years at least unless the government stump up a serious amount of cash!

    6. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      Very likely that what you are seeing is differences between sales estimates and some providers being pessimistic and some optimistic and you knowing what your VDSL2 connection can do.

      VDSL2 is not going to be significantly different speeds between providers (i.e. BT wholesale has no special options) pending variations due options supported by ISP router/modem

      As for the line being included in the stats, without knowing the exact details hard to say, but plenty of properties with sub 30 Mbps sync see further upgrades via the phase 2 or 3 roll-outs.

    7. Avatar Jack Court says:

      @Mark Roxburgh

      If you think Openreach and BT Wholesale are in cahoots and breaking some serious regulatory rules, you should report this to OFCOM as you have uncovered something which will have profound consequences and result in a fine for Openreach that will run into the very high millions. You will be a hero.

      Meanwhile back in the real world, all ISPs who want it have access to the same products and the same line-by-line VDSL performance info, irrespective of whether they owned by BT Group or not.

    8. Avatar Fastman says:

      East Sussex. My line speed is capped at 20mb (it was 18mb, but I complained and so it was increased slightly) my provider told me it can’t go any higher due to what BT wholesale provide to isps. I went on the BT Wholesale website and I can buy business broadband direct from them that promises speeds of 25mb and a higher.

      your not an ISP so you cant do that

      sounds like it might be you ISP at fault or something a bit odd
      suggest you put your address throught the BT checker to see what Bt as a service provider would offer you

    9. Avatar Mark Roxburgh says:

      I can’t find an ISP that will guarantee superfast broadband. Of the providers that sign up to the Ofcom voluntary code of practice, my ISP, offers the highest minimum speed guarantee which is 20mb. I have just signed a 18 month contract so can’t move anyway at present. Some providers would only guarantee 16mb. For any other ISP then there is no guarantee.

      It just seems a little pointless paying Openreach to upgrade lines to FTTC if you can’t get faster speeds compared to ADSL.

      I will just have to accept it for what it is. I won’t be seeing FTTP anytime soon as I have been quoted 13K+VAT by Openreach to install FTTP!

      I think mobile broadband is probably the way forward for rural areas as I achieve greater speeds when I tether from my mobile.

    10. Avatar Jack Court says:

      @Mark Roxburgh
      Great so I think we have agreed there is no BT cartel or conspiracy. Let’s cover the point on it seeming pointless to pay OR to upgrade lines to FTTC if you can’t get faster speeds.

      How much did you pay them to uplift your personal line? Have you complained to Openreach that they haven’t fulfilled an obligation they have made to you? Or is it more the case that the cabinet was upgraded through somebody else’s investment, plenty of other premises connected to it get better than ADSL speeds, and you are too far from the cabinet to experience that?

      The reality is you are very likely getting the intended performance even if it is not what you would like. It may be the case that someone other than OR will see their way to an FTTP investment case to serve your home. The only way we will get close to the PMs 2025 ambition is if many operators step-up.

    11. Avatar Mark Roxburgh says:

      @Jack Court

      The line was upgraded as part of a government subsidised scheme. Openreach receive funds from both central and local government to do this.

      If the line is not capable of superfast speeds then so be it, however both Openreach and government are reporting that it is capable of superfast speeds. The people who decide isn’t capable are BT Wholesale and the ISPs.

      I am unaware of any other wholesale providers and ISPs dont declare which wholesale company they purchase from.

      The only reason I know who my ISP buys wholesale from is that they blamed BT Wholesale for the speeds. The BT Wholesale speed checker indicates the maximum possible download speed is below the definition of superfast broadband.

      I’m sorry if the term cartel offends or upsets you, but Openreach, BT Wholesale and my ISP are all part of the BT Group and share the same CEO and board of directors.

      My expectations are honesty.

      If the line can’t support superfast broadband then Openreach and government need to admit this and then I will accept it.

      At the moment Openreach and government are claiming it is and reporting it in figures that have been upgraded to superfast broadband.

      It seems it is just about publicity and propaganda saying look how great we are when In practice they haven’t delivered.

    12. Avatar CarlT says:

      You can’t buy business broadband from BT Wholesale – they don’t sell broadband to end users.

      If the checkers indicate you can’t get above 24-30 Mb over FTTC/VDSL Openreach weren’t paid for your property.

      Sky/TalkTalk/Vodafone/whomever may well not want to sell to you as they have a minimum and you’ll bring their average speed down. That’s their decision.

      Not a lot more than that to say.

    13. Avatar Mark says:

      @Jack Court @Carl T

      I have worked out what happens. Openreach upgrade a cabinet with FTTC. Central and local government automatically presume all households now have superfast broadband. What they don’t realise is that in rural areas a lot of properties are more than 1km from their nearest cabinet and can’t achieve speeds that meet the superfast thresholds. Also I believe they go by the ‘crow flies’ when working out distance to cabinet. I am 300m by the ‘crow flies’ but actually 1.1km in line distance, which explains my 23mb maximum download speeds for my line.

      Average speeds in my area are skewed by a new housing development which has 1gb FTTP but is on the same cabinet as me.

      Now I know my maximum achievable speed I know that central and local government are just looking for publicity and not results. All ISPs also use lies to sell to customers.

      Ofcom even accredite these sites, so customers have no hope of knowing the truth when buying broadband.

  12. Avatar Samuel says:

    hehe – I checked with Superfast Essex the other day to which they responded “plans for your address have changed. After further investigation we have that fibre broadband is already available or planned, just not by Superfast Essex.” However, when I then check with OR, they come back about a week later, saying there are no plans for my address. No other third-party providers in my area either. So somebody got the wires crossed. Heck anyway, they tell me I already have access to like 50Mbps, of which I don’t, these are their predicted speeds; heck they’re even limiting the line lower than that for stability ~ 20Mbps.

    1. Avatar Fastman says:

      that means it no by openreach so probably a wireless or other provider which is why its not showing on openreach information and why superfast essex have provided you the response they have

  13. Avatar NGA for all says:

    Good to see and the 500k+ plus in rural is a lasting legacy for BDUK.

  14. Avatar Dazzza says:

    I’m paying for fiber but I’m only getting 10mb down openreach network is a joke

    1. Avatar Bonjovy says:

      Fibre not Fiber…….There is no way you are only getting 10mb on FTTP.

    2. Avatar GNewton says:

      “I’m paying for fiber but I’m only getting 10mb down openreach network is a joke”

      Another victim of ASA promoting false “fibre broadband” in the UK.

  15. Avatar John Uncle says:

    If the price is around the £40 mark, then there would be significant uptake. Rural areas that have been upgraded to FTTP after donkey’s years of waiting for anything better than 2Mbps will leap at FTTP and grab it with both hands.

    Seems odd that the likes of Sky, Vodafone, TalkTalk etc are dragging their feet to offer FTTP via Openreach. And if Openreach is building rural, why isn’t CityFibre?

    When will the consumer FTTP Ultrafast 900 (Gigabit) product be priced in the range of £25-35 per month for the consumer?

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Gigabit will be priced at that level when it’s the entry level product. In the interim people are fortunate enough to have a few packages available to them across a variety of price points.

  16. Avatar Dave says:

    BT Open Reach should not be congratulated for over promising and under delivering.

    BT have sucked tonnes of taxpayers money for Openreach only to use it to pay the CEO bonuses and the directors champagne.

    1. Avatar Bonjovy says:

      Dave – utter bollocks. If you want to be a troll the sod off and find a cave.

  17. Avatar Wayne says:

    I wouldn’t congratulate them, they don’t even do complete roads. My neighbour can have 900 mb download speeds and yet although I’m only 20 feet away I can only have 9 mb because they just stopped. To top it off I received an email saying my address was now complete.

    1. Avatar A_Builder says:

      Then there may be a database error – not unknown….

      Or it does take a few days/weeks for the public side Database to be updated.

      It you are served from the same phone pole or chambers as your neighbour it should not be a physical issue.

  18. Avatar Liam says:

    I got told by a openreach engineer that I won’t get it since we don’t have them wooden poles I know I get the full fat 80mbps but I want faster, virgin media are not all that great for gaming I’d rather have FTTP instead of this FTTC which is old now. All they added was an extension for more lines that’s about it West London is moving so slow with the times it’s unreal.

    1. Avatar Fastman says:

      uttter rubbish

      got told by a openreach engineer that I won’t get it since we don’t have them wooden poles I know I get the full fat 80mbps but I want faster, virgin media are not all that great for gaming I’d rather have FTTP instead of this FTTC which is old now. All they added was an extension for more lines that’s about it West London is moving so slow with the times it’s unreal.

      if its that important then you have an option to get a FOD or co fund it with openreach

  19. Avatar Ralph says:

    That all sounds good BUT I am on not just copper lines but the system even before that .
    Why can’t they get everyone onto fibre before spending more money on those that already have fibre broadband.
    I would love to be able to watch a movie without it buffering.
    So come on openreach get your finger out and supply everyone with fibre broadband BEFORE upgrading those that already have it.

    1. Avatar Marek says:

      What do you mean you are on system before that? Are you using isdn (most likely no) or dial up internet which is still using phone likes?

    2. Avatar Gary says:

      I really wish the decision makers at the ASA would read this post.

      “Why can’t they get everyone onto fibre before spending more money on those that already have fibre broadband.

      supply everyone with fibre broadband BEFORE upgrading those that already have it.”

  20. Avatar G Cot says:

    Given in general (Virgin being an exception) it appears that the ISP, back haul, exchange equipment that seems to make the biggest delimiters. Why are we still overbuilding.
    If the rules were changed to be
    1 first come first to have exclusive network in any town for say 8 years
    2 Must rent any line, from nearest intersection to consumer, to any ISP
    3 For every 100 rural premises passed, they must pass, or invest in a fund to assist installation to 2 premises in an area considered hard to connect

    1. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      1. Against competition rules
      2.Nearest intersection is last splitter which is not active, so how do you unbundle passive infrastructure? FTTP unbundling will only work from last active element. For smaller vertical ISP will add complexity to roll-out.
      3. Commercial answer to this is then to not roll out to any rural properties, i.e. shifts the balance towards an urban focus

    2. Avatar GNewton says:

      “1. Against competition rules”

      Maybe, but can’t the rules be changed? Building multiple access networks in urban areas is just a plain waste of resources!

    3. Avatar A_Builder says:

      Perfectly possible to use different Lambda over the passive elements with each Lambda assigned to a different provider.

      Doesn’t add much, if any, complexity at all. Passive remains just that.

    4. Avatar CarlT says:

      Still means can only unbundle from active equipment though – need an OLT and multiplexer. Impractical to do this anywhere other than next to the existing Openreach OLT, and may mess up the optical power budgets.

      Running multiple fibres per Switzerland might be a better plan, or just accept Bitstream for what it is right now, with NG-PON2 as and when.

    5. Avatar AnotherTim says:

      “Building multiple access networks in urban areas is just a plain waste of resources!”
      The regulations aren’t designed to maximise the use of resources, they are designed to allow companies to maximise profits. Companies do that by building in places they can make a profit (which is often the same places as other companies choose), and ignoring places where they wouldn’t make a profit (which is often the same places as other companies ignore).

    6. Avatar A_Builder says:



      But still better than nothing. I suspect the active kit would have to be OR’s and that the link would go into that.

      PtP would be a better solution……as you say…..

    7. Avatar CarlT says:

      ‘Maybe, but can’t the rules be changed? Building multiple access networks in urban areas is just a plain waste of resources!’

      An awful lot of things that provide choice could be described as just a plain waste of resources.

      Why 4 MNOs? Why not just one and a series of MVNOs? Why Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Zen and others purchasing their own interconnects to Openreach when they could purchase via BT Wholesale?

      Maybe they don’t like the wholesale terms available or don’t like the products available and want more flexibility to provide their own under their own terms.

      Either way it’s their money, those are the rules, I believe you have taxpayer funded FTTP via BDUK and the urban overbuilding isn’t hindering you or anyone else. CityFibre aren’t going to abandon their policy of building out from their metro networks with anchor tenants to dig several kilometres to reach rural areas where they have no network.

      I would love a second network to arrive here. Hopefully with the increased use of PIA it’ll become feasible.

    8. Avatar CarlT says:

      Careful, Builder. We don’t want to upset anyone by advocating PtP over PON again.

    9. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @ CarlT

      But that argument was as full of holes as a Swiss cheese?

    10. Avatar The Facts says:

      @LBB- how do you calculate £200/day? Cheap when legal people change a minimum of £250/hour.

    11. Avatar Cumbria says:

      @Andrew F if we can auction off spectrum for mobile why not towns for fibre?

      I think that should have said ‘urban’ not ‘rural’ so if you want to install in a city, you have to contribute to a ‘country’ last to be connected fund.

  21. Avatar GNewton says:

    @CarlT: MNOs aren’t the same, I was talking about utility infrastructures into the premises where it would be strange to build different power lines or water pipes into the same house just to have the choice of different providers. The cherry-picking market approach for last-mile telecom network builds in this country hasn’t worked very well, being at least a decade too late and increasing the digital divide.

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      Duplicating masts and optical feeds to those masts is fine though?

      We’ve multiple network operators selling core network fibre throughout the UK. Not as many as you’d think but we don’t have a single national network.

      Fibre/Internet is not the same as electrics/water/gas in 2020. You have electricity/water/gas that can power appliances, provide water to drink and bathe, heat homes or you don’t. Internet is not the same.

      In time this may change but that will only come, as it did with those, with government nationalising the networks and there seems very little appetite to do that right now.

      It’s fine. It’s not our money being spent building the competing networks.

      The claims of some exceptional digital divide in the UK are nonsense by the way. The numbers are clear. Our urban areas were the underserved ones and are catching up with our competition now. The UK’s rollout was broad but not deep originally and only now is depth being added.

      How’s your taxpayer funded FTTP running?

    2. Avatar CarlT says:

      Incidentally as far as being behind goes have a look at Spain and Portugal.

      They’re quite a way ahead of us in terms of FTTP.

      Guess why? Hint – it’s not because of national broadband networks but is an awful lot to do with alternative networks being built and infrastructure competition.

      Worldwide FTTP came from either competition or extensive state intervention. If you aren’t happy with the level of state intervention politicians are the people to speak to and the ballot box where the statement needs to be made, not complaining at the private companies doing what they do within the confines of the regulatory environment.

      You sit there constantly bashing Openreach and anyone else building any other network. They don’t set the rules, they follow them. Get into political activism on this matter if you are unhappy. The bot-like behaviour on here is unlikely to achieve anything.

      We are where we are and are, belatedly, now making excellent progress. I am lost as to the motivation to look backwards and complain about issues being remedied but if you bear a grudge over such things and have nothing better to do than cantankerously complain that is, of course, your right.

      I look forward to seeing you campaign to change things nationally, as I’m sure there’s far more to you than posting complaints on forums under a couple of pseudonyms. Please do keep us all informed on your progress.

    3. Avatar The Facts says:

      @GN – how should telecomms have been organised 35 years ago for the future? The cable companies just provided TV, the phone and broadband came later.

    4. Avatar GNewton says:

      @CarlT: “Fibre/Internet is not the same as electrics/water/gas in 2020.”

      I think you are mistaken here. A single fibre line to a household usually provides sufficient bandwidth for different telecom operators to use. Even with GPON you could still do a wavelength-unbundling of fibre to the premises (FTTP) gigabit. While Openreach, VM, and others are finally catching up, this country still is quite backwards.

      BTW.: We were never able to use taxpayer-funded FTTP/FTTC, though wouldn’t mind using it if it was the only option. End users usually don’t have much of an influence over these matters anyway, unless some experts like you devote some excessive amount of time and energy to organize a local campaign. But wouldn’t that tell you something about the sad state of affairs this country is (or was) in with regards to adequate telecom services?

      @TheFacts: I am not talking about 1985. The Thatcher era is long gone. A more realistic starting point for fibre would be 10 to 15 years ago, and a study of how some other countries managed to do so much better, and what lessons could be learnt from that, would be more interesting, see CarlT’s post above on this for the example of Spain. If you have some meaningful input on this, let us know, rather than re-phrasing your silly questions here.

    5. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      For what it’s worth, I partially agree with GNewton on this, specifically that single fibre connection into most premises would be a more efficient use of resources. Where we diverge is in our diagnosis: I believe that this is primarily the fault of Ofcom under the disastrous “leadership” of Sharon White, when it determined that it wanted competition amongst retail ISPs and network operators.

      Either option would have been okay, doing both together seems to me to be a tremendously inefficient allocation of resources (network operator competition) and necessary concentration in building to similar areas (low margins due to whole access for retail ISPs). IMHO the best option would have been a single, regulated, FTTP network giving near universal coverage over time and some certainty of return, with guaranteed wholesale access to ensure widespread retail competition.

      It would be even better if Ofcom mandated a sunset clause for LLU as the requirement to support this has allowed TalkTalk and Sky in particular to delay more aggressive investment in fibre in order to sweat their LLU investments for as long as possible. More attention to detail on market dynamics by Ofcom would really have helped drive more investment much more quickly.

      By the way, looking to Spain for comparisons is flawed. IIRC only two network operators, Vodafone and Telefonica, built out their FTTP networks with little or no overlap and no requirement to wholesale, giving decent margins enabling more extensive coverage. This was helped of course by relatively large numbers of FTTB to apartment blocks in urban areas. Wholesale access came later, after the build was largely completed, aiding the ROI during deployment.

    6. Avatar The Facts says:

      @GN – other countries had different regulatory systems. We had many cable companies that became VM covering 50% of properties and an LLU system where the voice part was much more important than now.

      Multiple installers of telecomms came in 35 years ago, can’t be stopped.

      FTTC was installed to get faster speeds to many quickly.

      We are where we are.

    7. Avatar John Uncle says:


      Not our money used to build networks? We pay for broadband which pays for the rental of the line which pays for the cost of installing a network.

      Internet is fungible just like water, electricity etc. It would be simpler to have a national Fibre network which runs tenders for private companies – e.g. Openreach, CityFibre, Hyperoptic, Google Fibre, your next door neighbour etc to bid to build part of the network, or own a stake in it.

      But the entire network should be accessible by ANY retail provider for the Internet.

      That way the ISP and then customer can choose what service they would like. Economies of scale would result in a symmetrical FTTP service being built cheaper and faster for the nation. Companies – be they the builders of the network, or the ISPs could still make profits with genuine capitalism instead of monopolies, vested interests and zero competition.

      To commend our FTTP roll out versus Lithuania, Singapore, Japan etc is like fiddling whilst Rome is burning. The UK’s infrastructure and customer service levels are a joke versus other nations – whether those are single operators, or competitive private networks.

      Even the train network is a complete shambles here. Japan has private rail companies and a far superior service and trains to Britain. People here in power/the regulators don’t seem to grasp what genuine capitalism and private competition is. Or rather they are part of the vested interests. The regulators do bugger all here to actually regulate.

    8. Avatar LBB says:

      @CarlT “….The claims of some exceptional digital divide in the UK are nonsense by the way. The numbers are clear. Our urban areas were the underserved ones and are catching up with our competition now….”

      Forgive the reference to the ‘other’ site, but RED signifies Sub 2Meg in the UK (wholly unacceptable) and this looks awful lot like RED to me: (hope link works for you guys)


      The UK is seriously lagging behind an acceptable situation and is much worse than I ever imagined having seen this map.

      I know things are slowly changing (as you suggest) but this still feels like a disgrace for 2020. I am always on here asking why OR won’t bother adding odd clusters of unusual houses on a single new DP. These things often have enough ports for only one to be needed and they are many ADSL to FTTP winning upgrades to be had.

      Perhaps OR should allow 3rd party companies to install their kit for these properties they refuse to service as I believe OR pricing is extremely exorbitant (IE FTTPoD orders)

      I calculate OR engineer time (not salary) at £200/day per engineer + fibre/splitter/DP costs of course, therefore these 15K costs for FTTPoD are simply a prices pulled from the OR rear end.

    9. Avatar Somerset says:

      @LBB – In Somerset both Truespeed and Gigaclear are covering some areas. Crazy or sensible competition?

    10. Avatar Andrew Ferguson says:

      On the red, yes lots of dots some 35,990 of them.

      Sounds a lot but when you consider that is 156,000 premises from a total 30.4 million the scale is clearer

      Avg distance to cabinet/exchange comes in at 5.4km for this set of premises

    11. Avatar Fastman says:


      Perhaps OR should allow 3rd party companies to install their kit for these properties they refuse to service as I believe OR pricing is extremely exorbitant (IE FTTPoD orders)

      I calculate OR engineer time (not salary) at £200/day per engineer + fibre/splitter/DP costs of course, therefore these 15K costs for FTTPoD are simply a prices pulled from the OR rear end.

      really you have absolutley no idea or comprehension of how the network is built or costed or commerical reality or the physical specifics of providing FTTP or FOD —

      its not the Or rear end in action here

    12. Avatar LBB says:

      @Somerset, “…@LBB – In Somerset both Truespeed and Gigaclear are covering some areas. Crazy or sensible competition?…”

      I haven’t investigated these personally but I would say SENSIBLE COMPETITION if they are using PIA ducts and overhead poles, maybe the odd ducting here and there – they could easily go it alone.

      However, if BOTH these companies are microducting or deep ducting then I would imagine this is painfully expensive and possibly CRAZY… I would imagine if I was CEO of one of these companies asking the other CEO to divide the physical territory 50:50 and share each others roadworks ducts whilst maintaining independent networks.

      I guess it wouldn’t do too much harm to look to the future and see if they can be easily merged at strategic aggregation points if one should sadly fold?

      That would be my instincts or I wouldn’t get involved. It seems plan silly spending TWICE on roadworks and messy for residents if ducting is the plan. I think its OK spending twice on the fibre and kit though.

      What do you think ?

    13. Avatar LBB says:

      @Fastman… Well thanks for telling me I am wrong about OR FTTPoD prices.

      But you did not confirm how it was calculated?

      Considering OR DUCTS and POLES are already in place for every existing connection it is simply running the access fibre and the cost of the various splitters.

      OR ‘Fibre Tech’ engineers are paid 33K (source=INDEED). The cost of a van, pension, training = A 52K/annum cost to OR for 1 guy on the road.

      This equates to 1K a week in OR engineer labour/time (not materials)

      For a fake 15 GRAND FTTPoD quote, I could have 5000 of fibre/splitters/DP kit AND 10K of OR street labour, that’s 50 man days of OR engineers – (A team of 10 guys for 5 days etc)

      No way does it take more that 2-4 people a day to sort a connection.

      Just sounds to me like OR definitely grossly overcharging without a doubt for FTTP access network installs

      The ONLY exception to the costs is where they must dig the road; but that is rarely required as the fibres are already installed to all cabs, or already paid for under FTTC or BDUK budgets.

      Please try and help me understand if I am wrong? I actually don’t mind being wrong if you can explain it to me factually? Thanks!

    14. Avatar New_Londoner says:

      “I would imagine if I was CEO of one of these companies asking the other CEO to divide the physical territory 50:50…..”

      If you did you’d have to be very careful not to fall foul of the competition legislation – agreements between rival companies to divide territories are generally frowned upon. And of course the penalties for transgression are severe.

    15. Avatar LBB says:

      @New_Londoner, Hi, OK how about this….

      SIMPLISTIC: But assume you plan to cover 200K addresses

      Company 1 lays micro ducting over 100K addresses with Civil Engineering A
      Company 2 lays micro ducting over 100K addresses with Civil Engineering B
      NB: Civils do NOT overlap and do NOT overbuild each other, but they join up obviously.

      Company 1 blows fibre to ALL 200K addresses
      Company 2 blows fibre to ALL 200K addresses

      Assume the civil engineering bills were the same (no money changes hands?)

      Legal agreements drawn up for rights to use all the ducting?

      I would have thought this could work ??? What competition laws would it break if BOTH companies can reach ALL addresses so there is no monopoly or disadvantage to customers?

    16. Avatar Somerset says:

      @LBB – Gigaclear uses trenches for the main cable and microduct to properties. Truespeed use PIA and power and phone poles, much quicker to install.

    17. Avatar John Uncle says:


      Precisely. It’s plain common sense. It is abundantly clear that this whole thing has been botched up. At the very least, the mistakes of the past must be corrected NOW.

      As you said, it is not rocket science, nor beyond the realms of possibility to tender out (within the parameters of a free market and competition) the building of the overall national network to ALL properties (not 95%, or 99%, or 80%, but ALL 100%) in a more efficient manner that results in a speedy rollout of Fibre nationwide, competition of ISPs, competition of network builders (who bid to win contracts to build), no overlap, and the whole thing done fast in order to catch up other nations which are lightyears ahead at much more competitive retail prices (Singapore, Japan and Lithuania come to mind).

      Upgrading rural ADSL lines to FTTP is a sure winner and guaranteed uptake of FTTP if BT/Openreach/whoever rapidly connected up these premises. Regulator in this country is useless when it comes to fining companies for incorrect billing, or for ensuring real competition. What we have now is not genuine capitalism, but cronyistic monopolies and vested interests stalling the rollout.

      Someone above talked about competition. If you truly want competition, let Google Fibre, or a Singaporean company build fibre here. They will put the likes of BT, Openreach, and the British regulators to shame and get the job done much faster at a lower cost as well. These companies should be told to get the job done, or get out of the way and let someone else do it.

    18. Avatar The Facts says:

      Nothing to prevent Google Fibre, or a Singaporean company building fibre here.

      Overlap cannot be stopped.

    19. Avatar GNewton says:

      @TheFacts: “other countries had different regulatory systems.”

      So what? Ofcom could be reformed to dd a proper job in this country, especially now with Sharon White gone.

      “LLU system where the voice part was much more important than now.”
      Surely to set a shutdown date for LLU copper lines isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

      “Multiple installers of telecomms came in 35 years ago, can’t be stopped.”
      Nobody says that we can’t have several telecom and ISPs. The regulatory environment can be changed to prevent wasteful multiple builds of the same last-mile fibre networks.

      “We are where we are.”
      What a Can’t Do culture here!

    20. Avatar The Facts says:

      @GN – so you would have a regulation that did not allow a company with code powers to install its fibre product to a premises passed by another company providing fibre?

  22. Avatar Roger_Gooner says:

    It seems very easy doesn’t it, just have a single fibre to a premise which is shared by all. But this fibre is the tip of an iceberg with all manner of cabinets, splitters and other equipment upstream. Advocates of the shared fibre need to explain how this fibre network can be built and accessed by everyone including OR and Virgin Media.

    1. Avatar The Facts says:

      Ask Mr Corbyn how he was going to do it.

    2. Avatar LBB says:

      @The Facts

      I thought Mr Corbyn’s plan was actually genius! (but not in a good way)

      He said everybody could have free broadband, but this would only likely be a very simple basic plan possibly just met minimum USO speeds and maybe not even unlimited data either.

      SO… You run your data allowance out or can’t bear the slow speed so you get frustrated and CHOOSE to upgrade and “pay” what you are paying now/today.

      By you choosing to upgrade your own connection you thereby forfeit your free connection and opt to pay.

      Thus loads of like-minded broadband customers doing the same for UHD streaming etc means the cost to Mr Corbyn would have been pretty low indeed.

    3. Avatar Ivor says:

      I don’t recall Mr Corbyn actually fleshing out the free broadband part of the policy – there was a suggestion that it could save people about £30 a month which is far from an absolute barebones package – but nothing on speed or capability

      Given how detailed the “nationalise certain bits of BT” was, it makes me think it was very knee jerk (but then the Tories weren’t proposing anything similar, so what was it in response to)

      It would be a very tough policy to put into practice – not only do you have to fund it (good luck getting the big American companies to do that), you’d be inundated with lawsuits from every ISP in the country

    4. Avatar John Uncle says:


      I don’t know what Corbynista’s plan was – he often said “We’ll all pay” (most likely with an asterisk stating “except for politicians”). Though I’m not sure anything can be worse than what we have now with an abysmal rollout versus other nations on the OECD FTTP table ranking, next to no regulation, no real competition and woeful pricing. However, the effect of his threat to seize these assets (as well as the knee jerk “Gigabit by 2025” from his primary opponents) seemed to light a fire under the lazy backside of BT and their fellow company. Nevertheless, it’s all still too slow and too little.

      Lithuania (in Europe) is ahead of Britain as are Portugal. In Asia, Singapore and Japan put us to shame. In Singapore, you can even get 10 Gigabit FTTP. And it’s ludicrous to give the excuse that it is a city state. Can everyone in London get even 1Gbps?

      It would be better to tender out all properties in the country to ALL fibre builders – be that Openreach, CityFibre, Google Fibre, Japanese companies etc. If you have real competition, the threat of other companies moving in on the BT monopoly, etc, then you will find suddenly things are all of a sudden possible and start to happen. For too long have we tolerated utter mediocrity. The problem is the regulator is also completely inept and spineless.

      I do not think you will get lawsuits from ISPs if you do what the United States did to Standard Oil. They broke up that single entity into multiple companies and introduced competition laws to prevent monopolies of that kind. At the very least, Openreach should be separate from BT and put out all its lines to tender. With economies of scale, surely building up a national fibre network can be done quickly. Giving access to all ISPs (or newcomers) to offer FTTP at ANY property would surely be a good thing.

      You could fund this plan (which is not the Corbyn plan) by giving fibre builders a “stake” in the national entity. So for work already completed, CityFibre, Gigaclear or whoever, get a percentage stake of profits from annual rent. As for the cost of FTTP broadband, it would be beneficial to subsidise FTTP for households given the immense benefits of such connections for business, home entrepreneurs, education and so forth.

  23. Avatar BILL HOLDER says:

    Funny this news, nothing but new builds have got these numbers up. Im 120m from the cabinet with dropped fibre to cabinet all the time, poor crackling phone, driving me crazy. Had openreach out 5 times now and still wrong, BT said costs them £140 per visit, would have been cheaper to run me a fibre.

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