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Openreach Bring FTTP Broadband to Half of All Premises in Wales

Wednesday, Jan 31st, 2024 (7:59 am) - Score 2,520
Openreach-2022-Engineer-Outside-Van

Network access provider Openreach (BT) has revealed that their new gigabit-capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband ISP network has now been deployed to cover 50% of properties in Wales. The coverage equates to a total of 816,000 premises (up from 700k in July 2023) and reflects an investment of £240m+ (up from £210m).

The deployment forms part of the operator’s wider £15bn investment to cover 25 million UK premises (80%+ of the UK) with their full fibre network by December 2026, including 6.2 million in rural and semi-rural areas (here), and they aspire to potentially reach up to 30 million by 2030. So far the operator has already completed coverage for over 12.5 million premises and Wales clearly accounts for a notable chunk of that effort.

NOTE: Openreach has a workforce of around 2,300 people in Wales.

Most of the rollout in Wales reflects Openreach’s commercial deployment, but that has also been complemented by their £52.5m state-aid supported Phase 2 Superfast Cymru contract with the Welsh Government, which recently completed and ultimately helped to add around 44,000 premises to the above total (here).

Openreach notes that a total of 277,000 households and businesses in Wales have already upgraded to harness the new network, which equates to a strong take-up rate of 33.95%.

Kim Mears, Chair of the Openreach Wales Board, said:

“This is tremendous news for Wales. Having fast reliable connectivity that will be fit for the future is a huge game-changer in terms of how families live their lives, how our children learn and how our businesses prosper.

As one of the largest employers in Wales our engineers are building our full fibre network in communities where we ourselves live and work so to think that half of Wales can now access ultrafast broadband thanks to Openreach’s full fibre network naturally gives us all a feeling of great pride.

It’s brilliant to reach 50% coverage across Wales, and a huge thank you must go to our hard working engineers and build partners who’ve helped make it happen. But we’re not stopping there…”

The operator hasn’t said precisely how many premises in Wales they expect to reach over the next few years, but work is known to be continuing on the ground in places like St Asaph, Ebbw Vale and Tenby as well as Cardiff, Swansea, Newport and other towns and villages up and down the country.

Meanwhile, Buckley in Flintshire is said to have the highest coverage in Wales, with more than 9 out of every 10 properties able to upgrade to full fibre broadband today. Openreach has also included somewhat of a top 20 list, albeit without any substantiation in terms of premises passed or % figures.

Openreach’s Top 20 Full Fibre Hotspots in Wales

  Location County
1 Buckley Flintshire
2 Old Colwyn Conwy
3 Llangennech Carmarthenshire
4 Caergwrle Flintshire
5 Burry Port Carmarthenshire
6 Criccieth Gwynedd
7 Mostyn Flintshire
8 Denbigh Denbighshire
9 Penmaenmawr Conwy
10 Connahs Quay Flintshire
11 Flint Flintshire
12 Cross Keys Caerphilly
13 Llanymynech Montgomeryshire/Powys
14 Penygroes Gwynedd
15 Rhymney Caerphilly
16 Barry Vale of Glamorgan
17 Porthmadog Gwynedd
18 Aberconwy Conwy
19 Blaenau Ffestiniog Gwynedd
20 Llandudno Conwy

Going forward, many premises in Wales are still poorly served by gigabit-capable broadband, but that should shrink further as a result of commercial builds (e.g. Openreach, Netomnia, nexfibre and Ogi are all busy). Meanwhile, most of those that are left will hopefully be tackled through the gigabit voucher scheme and community fund, while the rest might have to wait for the £5bn Project Gigabit programme (Welsh Plan) to spring into life.

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 a separate cross-regional procurement in North and 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), but the details on that remain extremely thin.

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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
12 Responses
  1. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

    If my area waited for an altnet then we’d be waiting forever.

    Fortunately, Openreach got to us using subtended headends to boost the range. Saved them money in not needing a larger spine footprint, and got to us quicker than they otherwise would have.

    I ordered the morning that the wholesale checker changed status, and took the first available appointment. Someone else had the same idea as on the day of my install two vans went past and I was trying to flag them down. They were doing another house round the corner first.

    Based on the conversation I had with the engineer, they get 2-3 houses hooked up a day.

    1. Avatar photo Anon says:

      “using subtended headends to boost the range”

      So a OLT in a cabinet, just like many of the Alt-nets do then. Nothing new.

    2. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      They missed a trick then.

      Surely they could have come to areas like mine when OR didn’t have us in their build plans if they were already doing what OR are now doing.

      Now it ain’t worth an altnet even bothering.

      It’s this lack of joined up thinking that will result in all of the altnets ultimately falling by the wayside.

  2. Avatar photo Crotchety says:

    Under the pavement in my small cul-de-sac, has recently been installed Virgin fibre, at this moment, Ogi are digging their trench, openreach already have their landline cables in place in the same pavement. Twice the installation costs, twice the annoyance of disruption, all because these “businesses’ can’t operate together and cut costs. What a way to run a business and country.

  3. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

    Interesting, Buckley were one of the places to trial the new 20mph limit. So over the last few years they have the lowest mean real traffic and fastest broadband traffic!!

  4. Avatar photo Graham Booth says:

    I’ve been waiting for my fttp since 25 October 2023. Had so many visits by openreach,kell communication and BT engineers. I’ve lost count,had about a dozen calls from help desks saying how sorry they are and providing update, I know half the staff personally.Lots of talk from openreach about bringing fttp to half of Wales but they can’t get it to me. Still waiting.

  5. Avatar photo Rich says:

    Where is Wrexham on the list ????

  6. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    A quick return to the “Land-of-my-fathers” is obviously in order . . . .

    . . . . ’cause FTTP in my suburban road in NW London don’t look in prospect before the predicted outbreak of WW3 . . . if it goes anything like Digital Voice, . . 3 “Pop-up” open door events, in December, slated for locations in the “Posh” part of the borough (And carefully chosen to coincide with the rising peak of the virus season and Xmas shopping ?) . . . then nothing heard since.

  7. Avatar photo Christine Williams says:

    We live in a rural area. There is no broadband – the nearest connection is 5 miles away. We have to rely on a Vodafone dongle. My phone line is subject to wind and lightening damage. This Christmas we had a 24 hour power cut, burst water main and Vodafone dropped out. My landline was also down for nearly a week. We did try a satellite dish but within 24 hours the wind moved the dish. I would love to have broadband but can’t see that this will happen.

    1. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

      But it has its compensations . . . what about Grandma’s glo-in-the-dark lava bread ?

  8. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    Is it possible that the Lord Chancellor could sponsor a new addition to the Criminal Law, ideally before the election. A new law to criminalise poor service from near monopoly suppliers . . . not so much “Demanding money with menaces” as “Demanding money with max inconvenience” . . .and where saying ‘Sorry’ is no defence. . . I can think of several, now commercialised, ex-state institutions that fit the bill.

    1. Avatar photo SicOf says:

      ‘Sorry’ is becomming commonplace, with no sincere rectifications – maybe the law, enforced by the state, should be ‘show the money’ make a pyment of 10x the annual fee to the dissed consumer, for those on the basic rate taxpayers list as a starter, footballers, ‘celebrities’ and MP’s and lords don’t qualify.

Comments are closed

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