This is a huge vote of confidence in Openreach and our people.
I’m delighted that our engineers are rising to the task, and that we’ve been backed by our shareholder to go even further.
We now intend to reach an extra one million premises within our original timeframe, meaning four million homes and businesses will have access to a full fibre to the premises (FTTP) service over our network by the end of March 2021.
During the last year we’ve been building, hiring and training more than ever. And we’re proving that Openreach can deliver against some very challenging commitments.
At the same time as reducing faults and improving the customer experience, our engineers have been out there building a faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network right across the UK.
In just a year, we’ve doubled the size of our full fibre footprint, building more FTTP during 2018/19 than we had in the previous seven years combined.
We’ve made this future-proof broadband technology available to more than 1.2 million homes and businesses nationwide, and we’ve honed our skills, tools and techniques to become not only the fastest, but the most efficient and highest-quality fibre builder in the UK.
All that has put us on the right track to deliver our new target, but we don’t want to stop there.
The Government’s ambition is to see a nationwide full-fibre network by 2033 - but that’s a huge ask.
If it’s going to happen, I know Openreach will need to do the heavy lifting, so we’re working hard to build a business case which makes it commercially viable to upgrade the majority of the UK.
We’re determined to be the UK’s full fibre broadband provider and we’ve been encouraged by the direction of Government and Ofcom in supporting that investment case.
That said, if we’re to build to 15 million premises and beyond, we do still need the certainty of a regulatory framework which encourages investment in the long-term. And we need action to address the ‘Cumulo’ tax on fibre infrastructure, along with a mass of red-tape and barriers which hamper our efforts to upgrade apartment blocks and new developments.
The Government urgently needs to take steps to address these barriers.
I hope some renewed energy can be brought to bear on what’s a crucial national infrastructure project, and one that we believe will create the platform for productivity growth and prosperity post-Brexit.
Clive Selley, CEO, Openreach