Openreach outlines ultrafast fibre development plans

11 Mar 2016

BT’s infrastructure arm Openreach has unveiled plans to connect more consumers and small businesses to ultrafast fibre using its open access network.

In a press release the company confirmed it will conduct two new trials of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology in Bradford, aiming to provide downlink speeds of up to 1Gbps in the city’s Kirkgate High Street and Listerhills Science Park. With Openreach claiming to operate the largest FTTP network in the UK, it has said the new trials will explore whether the technology can be installed faster and more efficiently in business parks and high streets, while it notes deployment of the new 1Gbps network is underway and the first businesses are expected to be connected in ‘late spring’. The company has suggested that the results of the trials – coupled with feedback from industry – could lead to a new business-grade FTTP product being developed for SMEs. Further, having recently pledged to connect all new housing developments in the UK with fibre, Openreach has now said it will offer to build FTTP infrastructure for free to new sites containing 250 premises or more; a joint funding option will also be available to smaller developments.

Meanwhile, Openreach will build on existing trials of technology by rolling out new pilot sites in Cherry Hinton, Cambridgeshire and Gillingham, Kent. Work on the pilots will begin ‘soon’, and once complete some 25,000 homes and businesses in these areas will have access to downlink speeds of up to 330Mbps.

Commenting on the company’s plans, CliveSelley, Openreach CEO, was cited as saying: ‘I’m determined to roll out ultrafast broadband, and technology is the best way to deliver that to the majority of the UK as quickly as possible. We also plan to roll out significantly more fibre-to-the-premises, and we’re trialling a range of options in Bradford to use that technology increasingly in future – wherever it makes sense … A large number of new housing developments will also get fibre-to-the-premises infrastructure built for free under our latest plans, so that’s great news for developers and homeowners too.’

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)