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Openreach Complete Build Phase of Wales Full Fibre Contract

Thursday, Sep 7th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 2,544
wales map point uk

The Welsh Government (WG) has released a new update on the £52.5m Phase 2 Superfast Cymru contract with Openreach (BT), which confirms that the “build phase of the contract has now concluded” and a total of 37,497 extra premises (up from 36,869 in Q1) have gained access to their full fibre (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 the more 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.

The change reflected the fact that commercial fibre builds were 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 roll-out finally finishes.

According to the latest update from the WG, Openreach has so far built their full fibre network to a total of 37,497 premises (up from 36,869 in Q1-23 and 35,770 in Q4-22). Some 10,616 (unchanged) of these are in the Lot 1 area (North West Wales), while 11,985 are in Lot 2 (East Wales) and 14,896 in Lot 3 (South West Wales).

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).

However, the WG said that this data, despite the build phase of the contract having now concluded, does “not represent the final figures for the project.” This is said to be because “work is continuing to collate and verify the final number of premises provided with access under the project” and those details should follow later in the year.

Q2 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 11,985
Bridgend 8
Cardiff 850
Denbighshire 1
Flintshire 2,133
Monmouthshire 1,805
Newport 290
Powys 3,440
Vale of Glamorgan 927
Wrexham 2,531
3.3 14,896
Bridgend 1,291
Caerphilly 2,933
Cardiff 11
Carmarthenshire 3,174
Ceredigion 1
Merthyr Tydfil 468
Monmouthshire 1
Neath Port Talbot 780
Pembrokeshire 3,505
Rhondda Cynon Taf 1,641
Swansea 469
Torfaen

Vale of Glamorgan

620

2

Total THP 37,497

Tens of thousands of premises are still expected to remain poorly served at the end of this project, but that will shrink further as a result of commercial builds (e.g. Openreach, Netomnia and Ogi are all 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.

Speaking of Project Gigabit. Areas across North West Wales, Mid Wales and South East Wales are being included in a cross regional procurement (aka – Type C) that recently launched (here). In addition, the team are planning to launch a regional procurement in North Wales by the end of the year, and they are currently finalising the most appropriate approach for South West Wales.

Type C procurements will appoint a single supplier to target premises (i.e. subsidise the design, build and operation of a new gigabit network) in areas where no or no appropriate market interest has been expressed before, or areas that have been de-scoped or terminated from a prior plan. Such procurements tend to favour the appointment of a single large supplier.

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
5 Responses
  1. Avatar photo boost says:

    Yay, FTTP is everywhere… unless you live in a block of flats then you can go fk yourself of course.

  2. Avatar photo AdHom says:

    Well, I’m in Denbighshire, and they cancelled my request for a build under USO.

    It’ll be fun when the copper system is switched off in 2025, and rural communities like mine have no option for having a phone, let alone internet.

  3. Avatar photo Archie Next says:

    Powys market town here, they literally do pockets of an estate and leave the rest…

  4. Avatar photo Malcolm says:

    Openreach put in fibre along the street some years ago (5+) but never connected it. A couple of days ago virgin start digging the street up but can’t tell me when that will be useable.

    Struggling with 10MBs after it took openreach 3 weeks to find and repair a wet joint. That wiped 1/3 of the speed. If you want any service don’t live in a Welsh valley in Port Talbot!

  5. Avatar photo aw says:

    my postcode WAS in scope to be done by dec 2023 ,then out of scope with no plans to be done then 3 months ago i get an email from openreach ” good news you are in scope to be done by de 2026 “

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