Article from Comms-dealer 5th February 2018
Openreach has greased the wheels of its FTTP build programme, extending its roll out target by 50% to reach three million premises by the end of 2020 via a new ‘Fibre First’ project.
Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester make up the first phase of the programme which will connect up to 40 UK towns, cities and boroughs with FTTP with build starting in 2018.
Openreach will also focus on delivering FTTP to rural areas in partnership with the Government.
But the roll out depends on certain pre-conditions being met, requiring support from CPs, central and local Government and the regulator to deliver the key enablers which include achieving low build and connection costs; achieving rapid take-up of and generating incremental revenue from the platform; and having a supportive regulatory and public policy framework.
If Openreach is unable to secure an acceptable return it will review its ongoing capital commitments to the programme.
Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, said: “We are accelerating our plans and set the course to reach ten million by the mid-2020s with the right conditions. Where possible going forward, we will ‘fibre first’.”
Openreach confirmed that Gfast remains a ‘critical component’ of its ultrafast strategy and an important platform that will be deployed at scale in the UK to millions of premises.
Gfast allows Openreach to deliver ultrafast speeds over existing copper lines.
Responding to the news in a statement, altnet CityFibre expressed concern that the move could ‘further entrench the incumbent monopoly’.
CityFibre said, ‘The announcement from Openreach is a clear response to competition from CityFibre and other alternative full fibre infrastructure builders.
‘As successfully demonstrated all over the world, it is a new generation of infrastructure builders that are best placed to deliver full fibre – able to deliver the next generation of digital connectivity faster and at lower prices than incumbent operators’.