Vodafone expands full fibre network with Openreach deal

(Image credit: Vodafone)

Vodafone’s full fibre broadband service will be made available to a further three cites after the company struck a wholesale agreement with BT Openreach.

Up to half a million homes and businesses in Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool will be covered by the middle of 2021, with the first customers connected in the spring. Vodafone already operates 5G in all three cities, raising the prospect of converged network services.

The Newbury-based operator already offers fixed broadband to consumers and businesses using Openreach’s fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) network but like its competitors is now looking towards fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology.

Vodafone full fibre

To this end, Vodafone agreed a deal with CityFibre to bring full fibre services to one million properties by 2021, a figure which could rise to five million in the future. To date, Vodafone has launched full fibre services in Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Coventry, Huddersfield, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stirling as part of this partnership.

“Vodafone is committed to a full fibre future and to creating the infrastructure Britain needs to compete and win in the digital era,” said Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery. “This initiative with Openreach builds on our existing commitments with CityFibre and underlines our belief in the power of digital technology to connect people for a better future and unlock economic growth for the UK.”

So far, Openreach has connected 1.8 million properties to the network – half of which were added over the past year – and is targeting 15 million by the mid-2020s. This target was expanded earlier this year but the government wants to go even further and switch off the UK’s copper network by 2025. Openreacn believes it can connect more parts of the country – if it is given economic support.

Last month, the government detailed a £5 billion package to extend fibre coverage but it the details of this are unlikely to be known until after the General Election.

“We’re keen to upgrade customers as quickly as possible to this new, ultrafast, future-proof platform, so we’re proud that Vodafone’s placing its confidence in Openreach to deliver a great broadband experience for their customers,” added Clive Selley, Openreach CEO. “We’re determined to be the partner of choice for all Communications Providers and we’ll do that by offering the best connectivity and service with the widest possible coverage throughout the country.”

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.