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BT to Ramp-up Openreach’s Rural UK FTTP Broadband Rollout

Monday, May 10th, 2021 (8:04 am) - Score 12,384
rural cable duct fttp openreach

The CEO of BT Group, Philip Jansen, will this week announce another ramping-up of Openreach’s planned £12bn investment programme, which currently aims to cover 20 million UK premises with their gigabit Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network by the mid to late 2020s. We list 27 new rural locations likely to benefit.

At present Openreach’s gigabit-capable FTTP broadband network is already available to over 4.5 million premises (homes and businesses) across the United Kingdom (here), rising to cover 5.8 million premises by September 2021. In addition, some 3.2 million out of their planned deployment to 20 million premises will also be in rural or semi-rural areas (here); these are all commercial build without state aid.

NOTE: The operator’s current build rate is c.42,000 per week and, during the last quarter, they’ve seen new orders – across multiple ISPs (e.g. BT, EE, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk etc.) – reach an average rate of c.17,000 per week (very strong take-up).

The good news, according to several weekend reports (Telegraph), is that the BT Group will – on Thursday – announce a ramping-up of their existing rollout programme. The announcement follows some favourable regulatory decisions made for BT via Ofcom’s recent market review (here), as well as the Budget 2021 announcement of a “super deduction” tax policy for businesses that invest in new plant and machinery assets (here) and the deployment of faster trenching machines (here).

At the time of writing we don’t yet know everything that will be announced on Thursday and whether it means their rollout target will be brought forward or possibly even extended beyond 20 million premises. However, we are fairly confident that it will involve an expansion of Openreach’s existing rollout plan for rural market towns and villages up to March 2024, which reflects the aforementioned 3.2 million premises (Area 3 commitment).

The existing build plan for those rural areas was last updated in February 2021 (here) but we recently saw a draft copy of their most recent update, which listed a number of additional rural market towns and villages that aren’t on the current Feb 2021 list. We don’t yet know what the final list will look like and so some of these may yet disappear and others may be added, but the table below lists the 27 new additions.

Just to be clear, this table contains a list of Openreach’s FTTP locations (new additions only) within the first phase of network build in rural market towns and villages up to March 2024 as part of their 3.2m Area 3 commitment. It does not show FTTP deployments related to BDUK, new sites/retro new-sites, Fibre First Cities and other smaller scale programmes or infill. The expansion of this list will mean less of a gap for the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit programme to fill.

NOTE: Area 3 means non-competitive locations (e.g. rural) where Openreach are the only operator providing a large-scale network (i.e. no rivals or plans by rivals). This reflects c.30% of the UK.

27 New Rural Market Towns and Villages (Tentative May 2021 List)

Locations within planned exchange area  Exchange in plan up to March 2024 
Abergele  Abergele 
Addiewell  Stoneyburn 
Barnstaple  Barnstaple 
Bents  Stoneyburn 
Blackridge  Harthill 
Crick  Crick 
Eastfield  Harthill 
Greenrigg  Harthill 
Harthill  Harthill 
Hartwood  Shotts 
Crick  Kilsby 
Llangennech  Llangennech 
Newbridge; Gwent  Newbridge; Gwent 
Newport Pagnell  Newport Pagnell 
Salcombe  Salcombe 
Shipham  Winscombe 
Shotts  Shotts 
Soham  Soham 
South Wootton  South Wootton 
Stoke Fleming  Stoke Fleming 
Stoneyburn  Stoneyburn 
Stowmarket  Stowmarket 
Strete  Stoke Fleming 
Thame  Thame 
Torbothie  Shotts 
Winscombe  Winscombe 
Yelvertoft  Crick 

Leave a Comment
40 Responses
  1. Tomi says:

    Interesting to see Abergele (near the Fibrespeed network) and Llangennech (near the Spectrum Internet/M4 duct network) targeted by BT. I’m not sure they can be classed as rural either.

    1. Ben says:

      The City of Canterbury is considered “rural” for the purposes of BT’s FTTP rollout (see https://api.superfastmaps.co.uk/fibrecities/1.0/?city=Canterbury), so I think their definition is pretty broad.

  2. Zakir says:

    Openreach are the worst company cause I live in East London E3 no FTTP still I live in Block of Flats only company I see coming First is Hyperoptic c then Community fibre and Then g network

    1. JmJohnson says:

      You’ve provided the main reason in your own comment… “block of flats”.
      It was only recently that infrastructure operators were given some powers to install in MDUs when the block owner was being the issue.
      You’re blaming Openreach when the issue isn’t as black and white as it appears to you.

    2. John says:

      Poor you.

      OpenReach aren’t coming, only 3 other gigabit operators are coming.

      How will you survive?

    3. Fastman says:

      how comes its openreach fault that you dont have a choice of 4 operators and only have 3

      ah what a shame

  3. adslmax says:

    We don’t yet know what the final list will look like and so some of these may yet disappear and others may be added, but the table below lists the 27 new additions.

    If Openreach list as others disappear (that’s is NOT good news) Openreach lists are not guaranteed in my view!

    1. John says:

      It’s a draft list.
      You need to lookup the definition of draft.

      It’s not an official OpenReach published list of areas, yet at least.

      Mark has published the “draft” list at it stands, which to his credit is better than no list at all.
      Sadly you can’t please everyone.

  4. Jon says:

    Can not see anything for Leicestershire as per normal

    1. Dylan says:

      Nice to see a fellow Leicestershire resident here! Leicestershire is left out as usual.

    2. Donna says:

      They have left Blackburn off again too. Considering my company have to run off their lines and we provide internet, it’s rubbish we can only supply 20-60mg because of them. In areas where open reach have unlocked their lines they can get triple that. Yet my customers are having to miss out due to them.

    3. Jamie Simms says:

      Leicestershire is always left out of Openreach plans not just the places like Market Harborough,Loughborough,Birstall,Syston,Anstey etc but also the city centre has very little FTTP other than new build estates

      The most strange thing is that other than a small slither of CityFibre around Belgrave and Rushey Mead,Openreach have no Gigabit competition in Leicestershire and they don’t even have Virgin Gig1 enabled

    4. Yup, FTTC only too! says:

      Yes, but competition in a commercial rollout is part of the problem for Leicestershire, as there is less competition from gigabit capable networks, so less reason commercially – getting the most return for the existing FTTC kit deployed. At least Superfast Leicstershire have now changed their current phase of “superfast” over to FTTP, or maybe Openreach moved it over. And I do feel your pain too living in a rural Leicestershire large village with only Openreach available.

    5. Dylan says:


      The only provider working on speeds beyond Openreach’s 76 Mb VDSL2 option for the Hinckley & Bosworth area, is CityFibre (ironically). I have registered my interest in the hope that they consider my village at least.

      Leicester Forest East (including Kirby Muxloe) and Coalville are two locations they have confirmed for a gigabit upgrade, with there being a gaping void between the two that I assume will need to be connected to the city at some point.

      Other nearby locations such as Markfield, Ratby, Desford and Newbold Verdon are completely left out. Desford itself has an Openreach hub, so I’m quite surprised that Openreach hasn’t done anything there to progress rural areas into gigabit land.

  5. Gigabit says:

    Does South West London not exist for Openreach?

    1. A_Builder says:

      Balham is being done now.

      Areas of Fulham and Chelsea have also been done.

    2. New_Londoner says:

      It would be a surprise to find parts of South West London in a list of rural market towns and villages!

    3. EwellDweller says:

      FTTP from OR available in KT17 since spring 2020.

    4. Gigabit says:

      @A_Builder Balham has been ongoing for well over a year, there have been absolutely no announcements for South West London since well over a year and a half ago.

      Do Clapham, Putney and Wandsworth not exist?

    5. A_Builder says:


      I live in Wandsworth so I know exactly what you mean.

      The issue for OR is that to shut an exchange down they need to be able to get a very high % off copper onto FTTP.

      When there is direct buried all over the place then his drives up costs and I suspect that this is the issue in some of the more suburban SW London boroughts.

    6. Sunil Sood says:

      Community Fibre seem to be expanding quite a bit in the Wandsworth area.

      As the Wandsworth exchange is also on the list of those to be closed, hopefully OR will prioritise full fibre in the area

  6. Dave E says:

    Barnstaple, currently undergoing jf installs

  7. Paul M says:

    The BT community fibre scheme for my village needed nearly 100% commitment in order to attract £180,000 of grants to cover 155 properties, about £1200/house.
    Needless to say, didn’t get nearly sufficient take up.

    1. Fastman says:

      that because FTTP rurally is expensive so could have all been covered by vouchers but would needed a high take up or the community to added some investment them selves to reduce the reliance of vouchers

    2. Bill-UK says:

      Cheaper than our village they want £6700 per house lol im 71m to cabinet, your saying it cost that much for my cable, get out.

    3. Fastman says:

      wheres your agreegation node that connects into your village that will be deeper back in the Openreach network whats the routing to every premise overhead, underground , there are a whole manner of things that determine a FTTP build – usually in a CFP depending on the geographics more premises is usually a gap spread between more premises and fewere premises is more Cost between fewer premises, how may premises do openreach have to pass to get to you

      Building a FTTP network is hard , complex and expensive

  8. Dave says:

    Central bristol can’t get FTTC let alone FTTP, be great if they finished with so called ‘fibre first’ cities!

    1. Wilf says:

      Most of central Bristol is covered with FTTP?

  9. Jed says:

    Wilf, sadly some parts of Bristol can’t get FTTP or even FTTC. See BS7 9RZ on cab FILTON 3, max speed is 6M. Sadly although the checker says FTTC is planned, when I contacted Openreach CEO I was told there were no plans at present.

    1. Ben says:

      44 (on Filton 3) has FTTC planned. Is your door number excluded from these plans?

      Admittedly it seems odd to install new FTTC in Bristol (or other “fibre first” cities).

    2. Jed says:

      FTTC has been showing as planned for years, but it seems that in fact there are now no actual plans.

  10. Gigabit says:

    Had a look on the Openreach Excel spreadsheet, I note under “Wandsworth” they have three exchanges but only Balham currently in build.

    I assume this means Wandsworth and Putney (+ Balham is three?) are in plan, just building has not started yet? Can anyone advise?

  11. Sam says:

    Anyone know if Midhurst is getting FTTP

    1. Peach says:

      I believe a small pocket is due to be built, trouble with Midhurst is the amount of rural that would need to be covered to hit 75%, this would be similar to lots of local exchanges to Midhurst (Petworth, Pulborough, etc)

    2. Fastman says:

      some of midhurst has FTTP already via a number of programmes

  12. Sam says:

    @Fastman Where and how can you get FTTP??

    1. Fastman says:

      have you looked at openreach.co.uk that will give you a view if your locality is in any current plans-

  13. Ben says:

    Any idea when Roxwell exchange will be done?

  14. Stupot says:

    All well and good but they can’t even sort out FTTC , we had a cabinet installed 3 years ago (under 1 mile away previous was 2 miles) never connected to FTTC, a recent change of provider threw up a problem so the openreach engineers came out and accessed that there were no more available lines from the exchange to the cabinet that didn’t have faults on so required a new cable from exchange to cabinet , this fault has now been cleared (after 3 weeks due to needing to ‘clear the gully’ so why didn’t they pull a fibre cable thru to the cabinet at the same time, apparently the cabinet is equipped with fibre ‘nodes’? doesn’t make sense if they really are committed to improving the network

    1. Fastman says:

      FTTC is driven by a blown fibre tube

      FTTP is driven by an aggregation node (the chance of being able to use the fibre that services the fibre cabinet is not usually very great and bft (blown fibre tubing) migth not even go back to the Headend or where to need to network to go back to . there are very specific design differences between and FTTC and an FTTP network

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