Salisbury to become Openreach's first universal FTTP city

(Image Credit: Bellminsterboy CC BY-SA 4.0) (Image credit: Bellminsterboy CC BY-SA 4.0)

Salisbury is to become the first city in the UK with universal access to Openreach’s fibre to the premise (FFTP) network.

Openreach is embarking on a major build of FTTP, with ambitions to reach 10 million premises by the middle of the next decade. It has pledged to expand the scope of this rollout if the investment conditions are right.

To date, 900,000 homes and businesses have been connected across the UK, but Salisbury will be the first place where every property can gain access to ultrafast speeds. In total, 25 locations nationwide have been earmarked for upgrades.

Openreach FTTP

Openreach is working with local authorities and partners to accelerate deployment without disrupting residents in the city, with a view to launching in April 2020. This, the parties say, will provide an economic boost to local businesses.

“This is the first location in the UK where we’re aiming to upgrade an entire city network in a single year, so it’s a hugely ambitious project,” said Clive Selley, Openreach CEO. “As a medieval city, Salisbury’s narrow streets won’t be the easiest for our engineers to access and work in, but we’re confident that it’s achievable thanks to the close partnership we’ve built with the Council and the unrivalled experience and skill of our engineering teams.”

“Full fibre will significantly improve the attractiveness of Salisbury for companies looking for a location with cutting-edge connectivity, boosting the number of high-quality job opportunities for constituents,” declared John Glen, MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire. 

“With speeds of 1Gbps, I very much look forward to seeing how this investment will transform opportunities for local residents and businesses, as well as driving innovation in the provision of public services.”

The government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) has called for 15 million properties to be covered with fibre by 2025 and for nationwide coverage to be completed by 2033. It would then consider switching off the UK’s copper network.

As part of its commitment to the FTIR, Openreach will publish information about its FTTP rollout – including exchanges to be upgraded – every three months.

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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.