Openreach has now connected 8 million UK properties to full fibre

(Image credit: BT)

Openreach has now connected eight million homes and businesses to its full fibre network, including 2.5 million properties in the hardest-to-reach parts of the UK.

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.

To date, more than two million broadband subscribers received services powered by the fibre to the premise (FTTP) infrastructure, with 35,000 orders being placed every single week.

Openreach fibre 

The BT-owned company is now almost a third of the way to achieving its target of covering 25 million properties by the end of 2026, and has added 12 new locations to its rollout, covering 140,000 households.

 In total, 2,700 locations have been earmarked for deployment.  

In addition to delivering speeds of up to 1Gbps, the shift from copper to fibre infrastructure will allow BT to switch off analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) voice services and move to all-digital infrastructure that can better compete with over the top (OTT) rivals.

Whereas PSTN requires a complex network of physical lines, IP services only need the Internet to function, meaning communications providers could simply deliver a digital voice service over the top of a more modern broadband system.

Openreach is one of several firms building full fibre infrastructure, including CityFibre and Virgin Media O2. The latter is currently the UK’s largest provider of gigabit broadband and has plans to expand even further via a joint-venture.

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.