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Q1 2023 Openreach Progress Update on Wales FTTP Build Contract

Wednesday, Jun 7th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 1,984
Openreach-2023-Engineers-Threading-UK-Fibre

The Welsh Government (WG) has released their Q1 2023 progress update on the £52.5m Phase 2 Superfast Cymru contract with Openreach (BT), which confirms that a total of 36,869 extra premises (up from 35,770 in Q4 2022) have now gained access to their gigabit speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network.

The original plan consisted of two contracts, the first one was a £22.5m agreement (target of 26,000 premises by March 2021 – later reduced due to the rising impact of commercial builds) and the second one was a £30m extension (13,000 premises by June 2022). The extension costs more per premises passed because the cost of build increases disproportionately as you tackle those increasingly remote rural areas.

NOTE: The goal is to tackle some of those areas in the final c. 3% of Wales that still cannot access a “superfast” (30Mbps+) service.

However, it’s important to remind readers that the WG tweaked their contract agreement with Openreach last summer (here), which pushed the project’s completion date back to 31st March 2023. The number of premises to be built to under the agreed roll-out was also adjusted to 37,137, which is slightly lower than the originally anticipated 39,000 total premises.

However, the aforementioned change reflects the fact that commercial fibre builds are reaching further than expected, and some areas also had to be de-scoped from the contract as they were more expensive to tackle than anticipated. But the WG still expects that the “total number of premises to benefit from the project” may actually end up higher than 39,000 premises when the revised rollout finally finishes.

According to the latest update from the WG, Openreach has so far built their full fibre network to a total of 36,869 premises (up from 35,770 in Q4-22 and 34,122 in Q3-22). Some 10,616 of these are in the Lot 1 area (North West Wales), while 11,615 are in Lot 2 (East Wales) and 14,638 in Lot 3 (South West Wales). Suffice to say, contract completion is now very close, even if it is taking a bit longer.

Take note that there are some edge cases below where the build may, for example, catch the odd property on the boundary of a separate local authority region and thus gets counted in the neighbouring county instead (e.g. the single figure results below).

Completed Premises – Q1 2023 Breakdown by Local Authority

LOT/District Premises
3.1 10,616
Ceredigion 2,498
Conwy 1,561
Denbighshire 1,492
Flintshire 6
Gwynedd 3,961
Isle of Anglesey 1,098
3.2 11,615
Bridgend 8
Cardiff
Denbighshire
850
1
Flintshire 2,115
Monmouthshire 1,755
Newport 290
Powys 3,188
Vale of Glamorgan 898
Wrexham 2,510
3.3 14,638
Bridgend 1,285
Caerphilly 2,923
Cardiff 9
Carmarthenshire
Ceredigion
3,029
1
Merthyr Tydfil
Monmouthshire
468
1
Neath Port Talbot 778
Pembrokeshire 3,438
Rhondda Cynon Taf 1,626
Swansea 460
Torfaen
Vale of Glamorgan
618
2
Total THP 36,869

Tens of thousands of premises are still expected to remain poorly served at the end of this contract, but this may yet shrink as a result of commercial builds (e.g. Openreach, Netomnia and Ogi are going much deeper). Some others will hopefully be tackled by the gigabit voucher scheme and community fund, while the rest might have to wait for the £5bn Project Gigabit programme (Welsh Plan) to work its way toward fruition. On top of that, the WG appear to be exploring a £70m project of their own (here).

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo aw says:

    my half of our street has been de-scoped 20+ houses and we are not happy

    1. Avatar photo David Haigh says:

      Don’t blame you, in a similar boat. Live in a flat with a new post code and the fibre goes over my front door. But BTOR computer says no! Netomnia have done the same but their computer still says they are coming! Freedom have now pulled out of Wrexham, no news on that on the ISPreview! Hopefully one will be installed before the great switch off!

    2. Avatar photo Fastman says:

      so if you live in a new flat (new to you or new just built i assume new as new postcode ) i would be speaking to the developer who built it and ask why they didnt fibre it in the first place — is it just one flat or more that one flat — have you reached out to the MDU team in Openreach .

      I assume the UPRN didn’t exist when he build was approved

      mnost people on this forum have zeor idea about how you build a fibre network and how complicated it can be to actually get to the premises in question

  2. Avatar photo Anuraj Nadarajah says:

    I am sure some army of Openreach employees will reply for my comments.

    Same half of my street have FTTP and rest don’t. I got reply from senior management stating rest NOT “IN DEMAND”.

    1. Avatar photo XGS Is On says:

      I’m not a part of the Openreach army but can’t see you getting any sympathy given you have access to Community Fibre. Millions have no FTTP option at all and you’re complaining to your MP and on here that you aren’t covered by multiple networks.

      Maybe get some perspective?

  3. Avatar photo Anuraj Nadarajah says:

    Open reach website states they reach 25 million houses by 2026. It’s joke.

    Maybe 2050

    1. Avatar photo dontcare says:

      Could be worse 100% by 2100

    2. Avatar photo Alex A says:

      Well they are over 10 million, just because they don’t serve your home doesn’t mean they don’t serve a large amount of the population.

      Not serving your half of your street can be due to many problems, going by CommunityFibre being available there I’d guess its not a duct blockage but spine capacity (no spare fibres from the PON to the exchange) or no free OLT ports at the exchange. Networking equipment across the industry can have really long lead times.

  4. Avatar photo Cognizant says:

    Would these schemes cover those streets that are all direct bury? I live in Bridgend – and where I am, despite there being VM, Netomnia and OR in the town, my street is not in scope with VM or Netomnia, and OR claim to be building mid 2025. I don’t hold out much hope even for 2025…

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      Likely not, the brainlets running these programs only account for density and distance, not for the actual cost of build. This means that these which do need taxpayer funds to be viable, get skipped while actual viable areas are getting taxpayer funds

      In 2 years most of the “cheap” homes will have FTTP, but most of the “expensive” homes will not. Many of these in big cities. There is no clear regulation on this. People are allowed to use OR ducts but not OFNL ducts for example

  5. Avatar photo A Davies says:

    I’m guessing it will be circa 2050 before a chance of fibre to the premises where I am.

    Unfortunately both openreach and Welsh Gov are pants.

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