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Openreach Updates on Isle of Wight and Dover UK FTTP Builds

Tuesday, Jan 30th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 1,240

Network access provider Openreach has announced that they’ve started their rollout of a new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP network in the town of Dover (Kent). Separately, they’ve also issued a progress update on their £4.5m project to deploy the same network on the Isle of Wight (just off the south coast of Hampshire).

According to the announcement on Dover (here), “Engineers have started work on the new network and the build is expected to reach the majority of local homes and businesses over the next 12-24 months, with nearly 30 per cent of homes and businesses in the Dover exchange area already able to order a Full Fibre service through a provider of their choice on the Openreach network.” The work is being supported by build partner MTS.

NOTE: Openreach is currently investing up to £15bn to reach 25 million premises by December 2026 (80%+ of the UK) – 6.2m of those are in rural and semi-rural areas (here). But they also hold an aspiration to reach up to 25-30m premises by 2030 (12.5m have already been covered).

The announcement makes it sound like this is a recent development, although it then contradicts this slightly by noting that Openreach already has fairly good coverage in the town (i.e. the actual build started a while ago). We should add that Netomnia (YouFibre) and Virgin Media also have a strong level of gigabit-capable network coverage in Dover.

Kieran Wines, Regional Partnership Director for Openreach, said:

“This is a major infrastructure upgrade, so there will be more engineering teams, equipment and vans around town, and we’re working hard to keep disruption to a minimum. Wherever possible, we’ll use our existing network of ducts and poles to avoid roadworks, new street furniture and disturbance. But there may be places where we need to install new poles, underground ducts and fibre cables because it’s the only way to make sure households get included in the upgrade.”

Separately, Openreach has revealed that their £4.5m deployment across the Isle of Wight, which is a bit further along the south coast from Dover, has now covered more than 15,000 properties (here). But the same announcement also states that “just 21 per cent of those who could upgrade have done so – meaning thousands could be enjoying a faster and more reliable service“.

The caveat in that take-up claim relates to the fact that they’re largely overbuilding WightFibre’s much larger full fibre network (c.60,000 premises) on the island. So, in fact, a lot of those who they claim could be enjoying a “faster and more reliable service,” may in fact already have one – or at least have another non-Openreach option.

In any case, it’s good to see all this new fibre, even if network operators don’t always provide the full context in their announcements.

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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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4 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    I would have thought you are always going to struggle to get decent take up if you’re overbuilding an established existing player like Wightfibre. Even Openreach aren’t going to be immune to this.

    1. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      BT been doing Dover at pace since before Christmas with nearby exchange Archer’s Court being done after (that exchange covers Temple Ewell, Whitfield, Kearsney and River).

      Netomnia were disappointing here, real patchwork of coverage despite promises of coverage. Rather annoying as wanted Netomnia’s symmetric service rather than BT’s asymmetric service. My local FTTC cabinet is always FULL and a wait list leaving Virgin Media which is expensive and still FTTC (hybrid coax).

  2. Avatar photo Alex says:

    Even 21% take-up is a LOT better than many altnets. It’s all relative.

  3. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Odd how Openreach have completely shunned the City of Southampton but are busy over building on the IoW. Infact Southampton is not on any future plans for FTTP deployment.

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