Openreach has now connected six million homes and businesses to its full fibre network, a milestone which means it has achieved a quarter of its national rollout target with five years to go.
The Openreach network is the largest in the UK and is used not just by parent company BT to deliver its services, but also by other broadband providers including Sky, TalkTalk, and Vodafone, and by mobile operators who require backhaul for their masts.
Earlier this year, Openreach increased its initial target of reaching 20 million premises by December 2026 by five million following a series of regulatory and government policy developments which it believes allows it to make a fair return on its investment.
These favourable regulations, increased demand, and lower costs mean BT no longer has any interest in a joint-venture with a third party. It says it is firmly on track to achieve its targets.
Openreach says its engineers are connecting 47,000 properties each week, laying an estimated 770 metres worth of cable every minute. This means a new connection is made every 13 seconds. The increased importance of connectivity following the pandemic is having a positive impact on adoption, with 1.3 million homes taking out a fibre product with an Openreach partner.
“We’re building Full Fibre faster, at lower cost and higher quality than anyone else in the UK and that is testimony to our engineers and build partners who are working flat-out to deliver this life-changing technology to rural, urban and suburban communities all over the country and we’re delighted to be fleshing out our plans with more details about where we’ll be building,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley.
Openreach is one of several firms building full fibre infrastructure, including CityFibre and Virgin Media. The latter is currently the UK’s largest provider of gigabit broadband and has plans to connect its entire network to its fastest speeds before the end of the year.
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.