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Sizewell C Deal Helps Openreach Extend FTTP Broadband in Suffolk UK

Monday, Oct 9th, 2023 (1:40 pm) - Score 1,928

Network provider Openreach (BT) has announced that an additional 5,000 homes in East Suffolk (England), covering an area in and around the town of Leiston, are due to gain access to their gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network thanks to a new contract with the Sizewell C nuclear power development.

In case anybody has forgotten, the Sizewell C nuclear power station is a project to construct a 3,200 MWe nuclear power station with two EPR reactors in Suffolk. But such a major project will also require high-capacity fibre optic lines for data capacity, and some of Openreach’s new infrastructure for that contract will also be harnessed to help improve connectivity both inside and around the nearby town of Leiston.

PICTURED: Teams from Suffolk County Council and Sizewell C watch Openreach demonstrate a fibre splice.

Engineers are now getting ready to build the new network, with fibre cables being brought more than 30km from local exchanges. The East Suffolk town, along with several nearby villages, are all set to benefit from this build during 2024.

The work will build on a £34 million investment already made by Openreach in Suffolk, with full fibre already connecting 115,000 homes and businesses to faster and more reliable broadband.

Tom Read, Openreach’s Chief Engineer team, said:

“Our teams are ready to carry out the hard work required to build miles and miles of full fibre underground. It’s a huge task, with dozens of our engineers involved installing new infrastructure, clearing existing blockages and negotiating the more difficult sections along the route. Many of the roads involved are single-track routes, important to local traffic, so we’ll be working with great care.

The build is being carried out by Openreach’s Chief Engineer team and is anticipated to take up to 12 months to complete.”

All of this feeds into Openreach’s wider £15bn goal, which is to cover 25 million premises (80%+ of the UK) with FTTP by December 2026 – 6.2 million of those being targeted are in rural and semi-rural areas (here). So far the operator has already reached over 11.5 million premises (inc. 3.7m in the hardest to reach rural areas) via more than 2,829 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets.

The service itself, once live, can be ordered via various ISPs, such as BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Vodafone and many more (Openreach FTTP ISP Choices) – it is not currently an automatic upgrade, although some ISPs (e.g. TalkTalk) have now started to do free automatic upgrades as older copper-based services are slowly retired (this will take a few years).

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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6 Responses
  1. Avatar photo XGS says:

    The residents must be glowing to see this.

    Yes, sorry. Had to be done.

  2. Avatar photo CCNET says:

    30km of new fibre for Sizewell C? I assume Sizewell A&B both use dialup at the moment then?

    1. Avatar photo 125us says:

      Presumably A&B are fed from a local exchange that will cease to exist post PSTN closure and before C’s opening. C will be fed from a major site using EADs and the civics and duct work to make that possible can also be used for the core side of an FTTP rollout.

      The nuclear site’s operators will also want full diversity. They won be using dial-up or indeed any form of Internet access because nuclear power stations and Internet connected SCADA is not a happy mix.

    2. Avatar photo iannewson says:

      Im only 8 miles from Sizewell and 4 from leiston and we have good full fiber coverage so I think a lot of this is posturing by Openreach. Always thought it was strange that Leiston hadn’t got it. If you ask me BTOpenreach have been holding off installing to try and get someone else to pay for it.

  3. Avatar photo Gareth says:

    Can’t wait. Its overdue

  4. Avatar photo Stephen Barker says:

    There’s been a dirty great fibre optic cable going through Leiston and out and around Europe since at least 2004, when the Greek Olympics were broadcast using it. don’t see the need to reinvent the wheel. openreach doesn’t show the Leiston exchange is being upgraded any time soon.
    I’m pinning my hopes on Trooli who were digging up my road a couple of weeks ago.
    Openreach run a cable up my road over a year ago, as I was talking to them while they were doing it, but apparently that wasn’t for me, even though it goes right past my house.

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