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Openreach Boost Rural FTTP Broadband Build to 6m UK Premises

Friday, May 28th, 2021 (7:22 am) - Score 15,264
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Openreach (BT) has today announced that, as a result of the BT Group raising their rollout target for 1Gbps+ Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP technology, they now expect to reach 6.2 million UK premises across rural villages and market towns (up from the previous target of 3.2m) by December 2026.

At present Openreach’s gigabit-capable FTTP network is being built at a rate of c.43,000 premises per week (1.9 million were added during 2020/21) and already covers 4.8 million premises, while orders for the new service are running at an average rate of c.17,000 per week (very strong take-up).

The previous plan was to continue this c.£12bn investment and build to 20 million premises by the mid-to-late 2020s, which would have included 3.2 million homes and businesses in rural or semi-rural villages and market towns (here) – otherwise designated by Ofcom as part of the operator’s Area 3 commitment.

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 or c.9.5 million premises.

However, the aforementioned plan suddenly changed earlier this month after the BT Group announced that they aimed to increase their deployment target by investing £15bn in order to cover 25 million premises by December 2026 (here) – c.80% of UK premises. Openreach has today confirmed that this will effectively add another 3 million premises to their rural build (total of 6.2 million) – the vast majority in Area 3.

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said:

“Building a new broadband network across the UK is a massive challenge and some parts of the country will inevitably require public funding. But our expanded build plan means taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses – and we hope to see other companies step forward to build in the most rural areas too.

This is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project – second only to HS2 in terms of investment. It will help level-up the UK because the impact of Full Fibre broadband stretches from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness, to higher employment and environmental benefits. We’re also delighted to continue bucking the national trend by creating thousands more jobs, with apprentices joining in their droves to start their careers as engineers.”

The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1,000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2,500 jobs which were announced in December 2020. Naturally, most of these will be fibre engineers.

Oliver Dowden MP, UK Digital Secretary, said:

“We are levelling up the UK and taking hard-to-reach homes and businesses off buffer mode with a £5 billion investment in lightning-fast, next generation broadband

I welcome Openreach’s ambitious plans to connect millions more rural homes to gigabit speeds. It means our funding can go even further to help those in need and will create thousands more high-skilled engineering jobs as we build back better from the pandemic.”

In addition, the network operator has confirmed that BT Group’s new target would also accelerate their rate of build, which means that it will now ramp up to a peak of 4 million premises deployed a year or c.75,000 per week (previously they expected to peak at around 3 million a year). All of this will form part of their commercial investment.

In keeping with this Openreach has today published an updated 5-year build plan for 1,100 exchange locations – including market and coastal towns, villages and hamlets spread across the entire UK. The expansion of this list will also mean less of a gap for the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit programme to fill.

The Updated May 2021 v3 Build Plan (PDF) is far too big to paste just this moment, so in the meantime it’s best to view the document on their website.

NOTE: Openreach, like most operators, won’t always cover 100% of premises in every location where they build, and sometimes they’ll come back later to infill further coverage. Long term build plans can also be subject to change, such as when a location is found to be more expensive than modelled due to various obstacles.

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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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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102 Responses
  1. RDS says:

    My rural market town in North Yorkshire is included in the newly announced locations! Makes sense given that the core infrastructure was put in place by Openreach for BDUK deployment of FTTC e.g. backhaul to headend exchange, fibre spines and aggregation nodes, plus there are already pockets of BDUK FTTP in the exchange area. Just hoping we are not at the tail end of deployment.

  2. Tobias Millward says:

    Our village (Hanslope) has made it onto the list finally. We have a Community Fibre Partnership at Ballpark Figure stage so it will be interesting to see if that is now superseded…

  3. bob says:

    Holy guacamole! Eventually on a list, albeit it feels like almost everyone made this list 🙂

  4. Daniel says:

    Nice to see tutbury exchange on a list for some fibre, it will still be a long wait but I just hope now that they come across the bridge to Hatton as i believe this is why virgin gave up

  5. Jim Weir says:

    Surely this in effect kills off almost all Gigabit Voucher projects as the eligibility requirements for the vouchers are they must be within Area 3 but not in Openreach build plans.

    1. Martin says:

      Looking at the exchange list there are still lots of isolated rural exchanges omitted.

      The latest additions include a lot of smaller towns and larger villages.

      If you look at say the Shetland Island, Lerwick the largest place (by a long way) has been added and that’s about it.

    2. Jim Weir says:

      @Martin the exchanges don’t matter, the tiny rural exchanges are pretty much redundant. Shetland may be an exception rather than a general example.

      6M Openreach properties within Area3 definition is pretty much all of the Ofcom Area3 property count – will be interesting to see what is left, very few and unlikely to be in clusters large enough to support voucher funded build.

    3. Casual Lurker says:

      If you take DCMS for their word, in the Delivery Plan for Project Gigabit 19/03/21 “…we will assess eligibility for vouchers on a dynamic basis, responding to the market’s investment plans and other public interventions.”

  6. Tikka_69 says:

    Well I dont know if my village hasnt made the list ( Auckley ) due to me having a CFP at the Proposal stage waiting for the voucher approval from the DCMS.

    Interestingly Finningley up the road on the same exchange had just started one too and they have made it to the list.

  7. dee.jay says:

    More Welsh exchanges please!

    1. WonkoTheSaneUK says:

      There are 48 N Wales communities in the new list:-

      Ceredigion: Borth, Cardigan, Lampeter, Bow Street, New Quay, Aberaeron, Talybont, Llanon

      Conwy: Llanfairfechan, Abergele, Rhos On Sea, Llanrwst, Penmaenmawr , Old Colwyn

      Denbighshire: Trefnant, Corwen, Llangollen, St Asaph, Ruthin, Dyserth

      Flintshire: Kinnerton, Pontybodkin, Northop, Hawarden, Mold

      Gwynedd: Trawsfynydd, Barmouth, Abersoch, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Felinheli,Nefyn, Bala, Bethesda, Dolgellau, Penygroes, Criccieth, Aberdovey, Porthmadog, Dyffryn, Llanberis, Tywyn

      Ynys Môn: Menai Bridge, Llangefni, Gaerwen, Brynsiencyn, Beaumaris, Moelfre, Tynygongl, Holyhead, Valley, Cemaes Bay, Rhosneigr, Amlwch

      Powys : Builth Wells, Crickhowell, Caersws, Hay On Wye, Newtown, Presteigne, Machynlleth, Talgarth, Knighton, Brecon, Llandrindod Wells, Llanidloes, Forden, Glantawe

      Wrexham: Wrexham, North Rossett, Ruabon

    2. Bob says:

      And a shed load down south.

    3. Aled says:

      I am so pleased to see several local and small towns in Mid-Wales included on that list. I live in London these days, so it is frankly hilarious that BT announce 1gb fibre broadband is going to tiny rural villages back home, but in urban West London there is not a sniff of an announcement on my street! (I suspect they’ll catch up locally).

      It won’t directly affect my parents, cause they’re up in the hills (currently using a 4G+ EE external antenna I setup for them, getting a reasonable 10-40meg). But I am hopeful they might bring fibre up to their closest village, in which case FTTdP (sic? distribution pod?) could bring the fibre within ~400m. But TBH, by then, I suspect 4G/5G will provide a solid 50-100meg connection anyway (won’t complain, 2 years ago they were barely getting 0.2meg on a 3mile copper stretch).

      I keep saying, it’s almost like BT are in panic mode with all this competition! (not a bad thing..).

  8. Sam G says:

    Still no joy for us & a CFP isn’t viable without some more local authority top up funding like last year.

    The problem we have is we’ve ended up a bit of an island surrounded by Gigaclear (they cover ~half the premises served by our small exchange as well) and no businesses in the area so I can understand that it wouldn’t be a particularly juicy area to target.

    The most sensible approach is for Gigaclear to infill but no sign of any interest so far & their higher speed services don’t come well reviewed by friends in neighbouring villages either.

  9. JmJohnson says:

    Wish they would list infill somewhere.
    Great Blakenham has been 1/2 covered by FTTP due to new builds and I just need the network to be expanded by 3 meters.

    1. FibreK80 says:

      Hey Jm. I live in Needham market and do network build.
      Under the fibercity contract Ipswich is about to kick off and the recent news that Stowmarket is getting upgraded as well it won’t be long till you get it.

      Also phase 3 is still ongoing and from what I’ve been told is ramping up. Suffolk compared to other areas have not really been touched.
      That is going change this year and it’s going to go crazy, well I hope so so I can earn loads lol.

  10. Phil Thomas says:

    My town is listed on there but it doesn’t say it’s in development. I think it has been started though, they just changed all the old telegraph poles in my village on the SWTAJ exchange. I can’t find any other information though.

  11. Josh says:

    Is there any way to tell/look up which location has been included where there are multiples of the same name? e.g. St.Ives is mentioned in the second longer list with all the purple but is it Cambridgeshire or Cornwall?

    1. Meadmodj says:

      More likely Cornwall. Hayle and St Just are included.

  12. anon44656565 says:

    Nice, my town (Bewdley) is on the list, but looks like it might take until 2025/2026 to complete the work… Maybe there will be some more progress when FTTP in Worcester has been deployed?

  13. PhilipSmith72 says:

    Some large parts of the North-East missing, Washington, Sunderland and Blaydon for example.

    Commendable progress though, lots of rural exchanges that would never be done without Openreach intervention.

    Good to see Hexham on the list

    1. Jonathan says:

      Hexham, Corbridge, Haydon Bridge and Stocksfield, however they probably need to get their fingers out as Stocksfield is getting coverage by FactCo
      https://factco.co.uk/stocksfield/ However nothing for Prudhoe, though that did get a pile of GFast pods. I also noted Rothbury which is another FactCo exchange

    2. Storx says:

      Seems they’re avoiding most the CityFibre announced places in the North East. There’s a few noticeable places missing on that list; Seaham, Peterlee, Bedlington, Consett, Prudhoe, Seaton Delaval, Birtley, Washington, Whickham, Blaydon, Hartlepool just to name a few.

      Quite a similar pattern all over the place, just having a quick look through with the likes of Ripon, Newark and Felixstowe just to pick 3 random places missing aswell.

    3. CJ says:

      I expect the main purpose of this announcement is to get these new areas excluded from the project gigabit intervention area, to block the possibility of a competitor winning a subsidy and protect openreach’s monopoly as much as possible in area 3.

      Places that are in someone else’s planned rollout are already excluded from project gigabit intervention, so there’s less incentive for openreach to rush their plans out. I highly doubt they intend to allow cityfibre to come in and steal their customers in places like Ripon, Newark and Felixstowe without eventually fighting back.

    4. PhilipSmith72 says:

      @storx yes seems a coincidence given Virgin Media ran spine fibre through Birtley, parts of Chester-Le-Street, up the main road to Stanley, and onwards to Leadgate and now Consett which allows them to drop off into pretty much every village along the way if they were so inclined

    5. Ben says:

      @Jonathan Wylam also made the list as well, so it seems like they are planning to do most of that Wylam-Hexham Tyne Valley stretch.

  14. Brian says:

    Local exchange just gone on list, wonder if it has anything to do with piggybacking on R100 work, which we could get in the next couple of years. Have been surveyed but no guarantee.

  15. Me says:

    My area the the surrounding ones aren’t on the list, looks like they’ve left us to the perils of the ridiculous voucher scheme and altnets.

  16. Optimist says:

    The Openreach document mentions the “Norwich” exchange but there are three exchanges in Norwich. So which of them is it?

  17. Philip Cheeseman says:

    My smallish town isn’t on the list. I guess that means it segment b then? Would have been nice to have finally had a date. Don’t even have virgin media as an alternative (and 4g is appalling).

  18. Alan says:

    Hmm,

    “Newport Sep-20 4 Newport Savoy”

    My old house was on that exchange – and yet the checker still shows nothing for FTTP

    1. Damien says:

      This is still – If BT are happy to let alt nets use their ducts to get FTTP to my house – why haven’t BT done it themselves already? Is the anti competition people stopping them?

    2. Fastman says:

      damien

      it might make sense for the altnet – it might not make commercial sense for Openreach

      This is still – If BT are happy to let alt nets use their ducts to get FTTP to my house –

      they do not get to use them for Free – they also need a PIA agreement

    3. Damien says:

      @fastman

      Well that’s what I understand Lightspeed will be doing – I think anyway – I agree everyone pays but maybe it’s a case of BT and not wanting to use their own money?

    4. Fastman says:

      Damian your comment but maybe it’s a case of BT and not wanting to use their own money? makes no assumption that there will be many places for openreach to spend its own money – and based on the extensive period payback for Network Investment it will spend it where it gets the best return which is how assume you choose how to spend your own funds /monies

  19. adslmax says:

    Need more exchanges for all over Telford and Shropshire. I know I got G.fast 160/30 but rather to have FTTP hopefully one day to have FTTP 160/30 (cheaper and no DLM)

    1. Anna says:

      Yes you have – and get off the forums of ISP’s you are NOT with! – seriously Phil no one wants to hear it anymore.

    2. Anna says:

      Also didn’t you say Gfast was a waste of money and pointless? and yet you are now paying £54,99 for it? Or have you still got 10000 PlusNet referrals or maybe some money of your new ISP or some other Bull? 🙂

    3. Fastman says:

      you could always go an fund it yourself ADSL max if you want it that bad — with a Fibre on Demand order

  20. AnotherTim says:

    At last some Forest of Dean towns have been added to the list – just as Gigaclear are building commercially there – but nothing listed for the surrounding rural sub-USO areas.

  21. BrodickFTW says:

    Hello chaps, I’m glad Brodick isn’t missing out on the action ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  22. Aled says:

    Can’t wait for them to update the API to show the latest fibre plans. Really loved this tool, but imagine it could be a pain in the butt to update quickly:

    https://api.superfastmaps.co.uk/fibrecities/1.0/?city=Aberdare

    1. Tikka_69 says:

      I have spoken to my BT guy today re my CFP’s progress and he advised the maps would be updated on Tuesday next week.

    2. Toby says:

      Does the map appear to have been updated yet for the area you’re interested in? It doesn’t for my area, and the postcode check on Openreach suggests they still have no plans despite our exchange being added to the list…

    3. Tikka_69 says:

      No, unfortunately I dont see any updates yet 🙁

  23. Mark says:

    Nothing really for the Cotswolds, so Stow on the wold, Moreton in marsh, Bourton on the water, Painswick etc, just staying with FTTC from Fastershire. Thats quite poor really, when places half the size are going to benefit.

    1. AnotherTim says:

      Yes, but at least you do have FTTC – unlike a lot of other Fastershire areas.

    2. Damien says:

      Well, Gigaclear are doing the town next to Fawsley Hall (Newhnam?) – so they might be coming that way? I drive that route twice a week and I agree the actual coverage is sparse.

      It said road closed so me and someone else drove down – and right over the trench and past the digger GC were using to lay the cable – cool stuff 🙂

    3. NE555 says:

      Bourton on the water *is* listed in the v3 document.

  24. Dave says:

    Still nothing for my exchange, ah well, the wait continues.

  25. Alfie says:

    Shouldn’t assume that all premises will be built to in these exchange areas. If Openreach build to 80% of exchange areas I will be surprised. The key will be how Project Gigabit interfaces to the remaining gaps, that will be sub superfast, and whether Openreach get until 2026 to reduce gaps with some form of intervention (vouchers).

  26. Peter says:

    If the experience of trying to get Lower Radley #44910 connected through the voucher scheme I wouldn’t hold your breath… such a shambolic process designed to be as difficult as possible. The ‘communication’ (ironic for a communications project) has also been atrocious with deadlines changed without notice.. what af..lipping mess!

  27. JAH says:

    Yay! My exchange hasn’t been forgotten about after all. We’re usually the last to get anything new here, so its really encouraging to see this list.

  28. Simon says:

    Well that’s it then, confirmation that BT aren’t doing a damn thing in West Wiltshire until at least 2027. Absolutely disappointed with this news, I really don’t want to go down the VM route for faster than 80meg broadband.

    1. AnotherTim says:

      You have the option of >80Mbps broadband with VM? And you think that is a problem? – try living in a sub-USO area!

    2. JmJohnson says:

      Atleast you have the option to.
      Most of us are stuck with 40/10 FTTC.

    3. Martin says:

      @Simon

      You can get at least 80 x faster broadband than me and you are moaning

    4. Anna says:

      Simon. I used to get 650mbps with VM 24/7 it was rock solid – don’t be so quick to discount them – it’s area dependant I admit but you get 30 days to cancel at least – and it might well work for you!

  29. Sam says:

    Billinghay exchange appears on there as a newly announced location, however they’ve been installing fibre infrastructure to underground and overhead DPs here bit by bit for nearly 6 months now. Fingers crossed it’ll all get tied together and made live soon!

  30. James says:

    So our nearest town is Wellington which is listed along with the exchange (Wellington), but our exchange is Greenham which is not listed. So does that mean we just wait and see if it will be added to the list, or it’s just out of scope?

  31. Mark says:

    AnotherTim says. I think you’ll find a lot of Gloucestershire rural is Gigaclear Fttp, lots of villages covered, I suppose easy where its just verges and sparse underground services, anything resembling built up areas not touched. So why should Gloucestershire cotswolds towns be completely missed out and other areas of UK.

    1. AnotherTim says:

      A lot of Gloucestershire has a BDUK contract with Gigaclear. A lot of areas are still waiting, as Gigaclear now seem to be prioritising their commercial builds. Most of the Cotswolds is covered – which was the original contract, but progress in other areas is slow, and some have no sign of any planned works. Some areas still have no superfast coverage planned at all.

  32. CarlT says:

    A bunch of large towns and indeed cities aren’t on the list while various market towns and villages are.

    I await complaints about the digital divide 😉

    Good to see more and more premises being added to the list, however running the risk of declaring them way in advance of delivery much as CityFibre have.

    Announcements are fine but easy to tip over into Fibre to the Press Release territory.

    1. Gary says:

      I’d hate to disappoint you then Carlt. No matter the progress and the addition of all these exra towns and exchanges the digital divide is there, its real as much as you appear to make light of it.

      The towns and exchanges listed will only be upgraded in the densest and most profitable areas, The same areas that already get the best that FTTC has to offer.

      I’m not unaware of the reasons why this will be , but that does not somehow make the digital divide a joke as you seem to think it is.

    2. FibreBubble says:

      Many exchanges on this list have no dense areas so it is not correct to claim Openreach are only deploying to dense areas. A look at the TB mapping will show that up til now they have been rolling out to rural areas. Now they are pretty much rolling out to all areas.

      My observations are that a lot of the areas near me slated in this update have actually been in build for a while.

      When BT put their mind to doing something they can actually move pretty rapidly.

    3. CJ says:

      There is no incentive for Openreach to announce their plans for larger towns and cities too far in advance. Those areas are already excluded from the project gigabit intervention area. I have no doubt Openreach will achieve universal coverage in all of them eventually, it’s just a question of when.

      These new plans seem to be targeted at blocking project gigabit intervention across a large part of area 3, to try to protect the Openreach monopoly in those areas. Although Openreach won the vast majority of the BDUK subsidies, the growing number of altnets getting funding shows they could face more serious competition for project gigabit contracts in the less remote parts of area 3.

      It could be argued this is an early victory for project gigabit, in that it has forced Openreach to move into area 3 earlier than they otherwise might and without using public subsidy, just the threat of public subsidy going to a competitor. But it risks losing the longer term benefits that infrastructure competition would have brought to these areas.

    4. Mike says:

      Openreach is largely uncompetitive against these altnets especially on upload speed so going rural makes sense imo.

    5. CarlT says:

      You aren’t disappointing me, Gary.

      About 90% of the comments on stories like this one are people claiming that because they personally aren’t on the list Openreach are doing nothing.

      If there weren’t people either complaining about that or that Openreach refuse to spend 10 times more reaching them than urban premises and bemoaning the digital divide despite Openreach + others looking at 90%+ FTTP coverage, further than FTTC, without further subsidy I would be disappointed.

  33. NeilG says:

    Surely without postcodes and details of properties passed, this means very little for many in homes in rural areas. Many exchanges in the more rural locations cover vast areas, and if you’re on the fringe of the exchange area this offers no guarantee that fibre will pass your property.

    1. CarlT says:

      It doesn’t offer guarantees wherever you are in relation to the exchange.

      There are no guarantees. Operational issues can prevent deployments even if planned and detailed survey is part of build. Until ducts are roped and rodded and poles inspected it’s impossible.

      Sometimes premises get added on if build comes in under budget. Sometimes they’re dropped due to cost.

  34. Jamie Simms says:

    Market Harborough is an interesting one as it is not on the list and have already done some 2016-2018 housing estates as retrospective builds. However Kibworth and Fleckney are on the list and they are fed from the Harborough exchange.

    Quite a bit of public backlash today as the local conservative MP and Conservative controlled council had better broadband to offer Gigabit speeds as a local manifesto promise and have failed to convince Openreach to enable FTTP

    I wonder if they will now focus their attention to CityFibre but is a long way from their next aggregation area

  35. Ross Adams says:

    I live in Glastonbury Somerset and can only get download speeds of 6mb on our fibre broadband on a good day. So when is Open Reach going to spend some it’s money here?

    1. CarlT says:

      When the engineers won’t be accosted by the same people that are protesting 5G I guess.

      A lot of areas aren’t announced yet. If below 10 Mb check out the USO.

    2. Rob says:

      Glastonbury is on the list. Obviously no date other than “by 2026” just like all the other new additions.

  36. No fttp here says:

    My exchange isn’t listed either. Market Town with no voucher available and the town has some VM areas but no our area and they aren’t interested in cabling it either. FttpoD seems the only way if I stay here. No change to copper only service in 13 years…

  37. Hexham Fibre Wannabe says:

    Fantastic news! We’re finally going to get FTTP and right now there are no alternatives to OpenReach. B4RN are rolling out to the Allendale Valley but there was no chance of them coming close to Hexham.

    This will make a huge difference to the town, can’t wait!

  38. Paul M says:

    BT OpenReach planned a community fibre deployment in my village, which should have been fully funded by vouchers to the tune of £180,000.

    It required at least 90% of properties to commit to it, ie agree to take FTTP service within two months of our being available.

    Less than 7% of the properties signed up, despite people regularly complaining about internet connectivity issues.

    It was annoying and frustrating, but I wasn’t too surprised because people seem to prefer to buy the cheapest service and complain about it, and the local parish council are old fogeys who seem actively opposed to any kind of modernisation.

  39. And says:

    No Houghton Regis on the list unfortunately. Our estate has been waiting 7 years to have decent reliable internet but instead we have standard speed of between 3-6Mbits which is not bad compare to some of the areas I guess. However, we’ve noticed some activities going on around our estate recently!Openreach vans parked. Apparently the wires being run through the estate. We checked Openreach website,entered the postcode and…nothing! No plans to upgrade our area yet. We rang BT and Openreach and they said they do not know anything. Someone is definitely playing with us

    1. Fastman says:

      you comment We rang BT and Openreach and they said they do not know anything. Someone is definitely playing with us

      BT wont know anything until its complete and openreach will advise all providers at same time once its availalble — that the rules and have been since openreach was created

      not sure who you coud ring at openreach that could / would answer that question

      your post is very odd

      Reply

  40. Mark says:

    @ Another time Gigaclear have done the villages in Gloucestershire and pretty much left alone like a said anything urban. Those towns mentioned and more are Faster shire fttc with some long length Exchange only lines covering miles, putting a cabinet across the road from the Exchange and then connecting up hundreds of EO lines isn’t really fttc is a a bodge! Why cover let’s say Miserden and Camp with FTTP and leave thousands of premises in other areas to suffer fttc, by the way the take up in those two villages you could count on one hand.

  41. Michael Woodhouse says:

    Changed from BT FTTC service to B4RN community fibre – “full-fat” 1Gbps up / down – on 17th February. We also changed to a VoIP service and had landline disconnected. In May we got our final bill for broadband but they have still not managed to sort out the landline bills over 3 months later. Don’t wait for BT, get those ducts mole-ploughed into your fields and setup a community scheme in patrnership with a provider like B4RN – stay away from BTs incompetence!

    1. Fastman says:

      not soure why your ranting about BT and your Bill and this is about Openreach Fibre deployment massive expansion (B4RN is a local solution to a local problem built by some very clever industry knowledge people) it is not a national solution to a national problem –

    2. The Facts says:

      Surely both are on the same bill?

    3. The Facts says:

      Multiple lines?

    4. CarlT says:

      Cool. How about those millions not featuring in this announcement that don’t have fields to mole plough but tarmac and concrete?

      Wonderful as B4RN is the coverage is tiny and it’s not one size fits all.

  42. LifeInTheSlowLane says:

    Well this is fairly depressing! Despite the levelling up and rural messages, Openreach seem to be ignoring the truly rural (i.e. too expensive to install) places in favour of upgrading most of the places where they have already spent money installing FTTC, and so have half decent broadband. The rest of us are cast off to BDUK. The only positive might be that the BDUK pot has to be spread across fewer, more rural, properties.

    1. CarlT says:

      90-something % of the country have access to FTTC.

      Areas that don’t have either it or FTTP are largely so expensive that even BDUK couldn’t make the business case.

      Not a massive surprise if FTTC was too expensive, even with subsidy, most of the time FTTP is too.

      A bunch of large towns and cities aren’t on the rollout list either.

      Starlink or 4G might be viable options.

  43. Josh Welby says:

    Edgware, North West London still not mentioned
    Edgware is in the London Boroughs
    of Barnet, Brent and Harrow

    1. The Facts says:

      Edgware covered by Virgin Media.

  44. FFF says:

    Can’t see Openreach having much spare capacity and inclination to engage with Project Gigabit with all this on their plate.

    1. RDS says:

      I think it plays into Openreach’s favour for Project Gigabit bids. By covering a greater number of the ‘easier’ rural areas commercially their fibre network is closer to the areas that will form the revised Project Gigabit lots. This should give them an advantage when bidding on many of the lots to undercut the competition. But will be interesting to watch this play out.

    2. LifeInTheSlowLane says:

      … and by the time Openreach have hoovered us a few thousand fibre installers to accelerate their program, there won’t be many left to go round.

  45. Aled says:

    I wonder how much this is being driven by Sunak’s treasury tax deal, giving BT basically free rein to invest in equipment “tax free” (allows BT to invest in equipment and infrastructure, but allows them to claim it back 100% against their corporate profit tax.

    It’s basically letting them invest and get something new and shiny, for free. Possibly also explains the logarithmic growth in the mini alt-nets that cropped up all of a sudden.

    The super deduction became active on April 1st 2021, so the timing is essentially perfect. I note that BT’s share price increased 7% immediately after the announcement in the budget – with some analysts suggesting this was effectively a £1bn handout to BT.

  46. Martin says:

    Wow – you mean we have finally found a formula to start dragging the UK out of the dark ages?

    Worth pointing out, with FTTP packages costing say £10 a month more than FTTC, that the government get about £2 per month in extra VAT from the consumer.

    Shares in companies like BT are often held by Pension Funds, which need the dividends to pay pensions. Given the mess Covid-19 has made of the UK economy, this might well be welcome news for pension fund managers.

  47. Ben says:

    Is there anyone that can explain the timelines to me. My Exchange has become included (ticked) in the “Build to start within 3 months” column since the last plan..

    What does this actually mean, how soon could I be looking at getting FTTP at my residential address?

    1. Aled says:

      Ben, take a look at their website and sign up to register your interest. If they see a few registered they will usually prioritise those streets/those registered for the service

  48. Mark says:

    @ CarlT Areas that don’t have either it or FTTP are largely so expensive that even BDUK couldn’t make the business case. Thats not 100% correct perhaps my area was an exception, but locals actually opposed the green cabinets on being out of character in a Conservation area and AONB and some where rejected at planning phase with the knock on effect that some areas of the build didn’t get FTTC or Cabinets where placed in wrong areas to avoid being too prominent, thats why we had our cabinet put just across the road just a few meters of fiber, then lots of Exchange only lines connected, when really it should of been placed much nearer the housing estates. But the objectors won.

  49. Peter S says:

    As I believe gigabit vouchers cannot be applied for by premises that are subject to a planned commercial build, then I fear that this strategic play by Openreach will further increase the digital divide in the short to medium term. In reality, Openreach will probably only build out to about 80% of premises in these exchange areas and these will tend to be premises already served by FTTC. The premises who are not currently receiving a “superfast” service will probably be overlooked once again and will have to wait for the project gigabit procurements which will follow. In the meantime they will likely be unable to apply for gigabit vouchers to improve their situation. Perhaps BDUK could consider adjusting the terms of the vouchers so that premises who are unable to receive a superfast service still qualify for gigabit vouchers unless they are subject to a finalised commercial build plan in the next year.

    1. Toby says:

      Thanks for the link! It looks like Openreach haven’t publicised this yet and their postcode checker hasn’t been updated in alignment. Are you aware of any documentation for the APIs available at https://api.superfastmaps.co.uk/ ?

    2. AnotherTim says:

      Thanks for the link. For my area it shows that they are targetting the areas that are superfast FTTC and have Gigaclear FTTP, while leaving the sub-USO areas out. It isn’t a surprise as the same economic factors apply to all providers. It is disappointing though. At least 4G is usable here.

  50. Paul Slinger says:

    I recently contracted with Openreach for a Community Fibre Partnership.

    It now seems our exchange has been added to the latest plan.

    Does anyone know what impact this will have? Will we get a refund for our contribution? or will Openreach give us the choice to go ahead with our CFP with deployment within 12 months or get a refund and wait for their deployment which may not be until 2026?

    Any ideas?

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