£232m Boost for Ultrafast Full Fibre broadband in the South East
72 further urban locations to get Full Fibre, on top of 134 new rural places announced last month
Around 580,000 more South East homes and businesses are set to benefit from a broadband boost in the region of £232m thanks to Openreach – the UK’s largest broadband network provider.
People living and working in parts of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex are all set to benefit from the company’s national upgrade plan, with the majority of premises in each area gaining access to the latest Ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband.
Work will take place between now and 2026, and more details of the full list of locations and timescales are published on Openreach’s website *Full list of the locations, exchanges and investment per county below*
The news comes hot on the heels of a similar announcement last month, when 360,000 premises - in 134 mainly rural and harder to serve areas across the South East- were also included in the build plan.
Both announcements build on Openreach’s existing work in the region, where more than 460,000 homes and businesses can already order ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband.
Following a competitive tender process, a number of partners including the John Henry Group, Morrison Telecom Services, Kier and KN Circet were chosen by Openreach to support the upgrades and will play a crucial role in building the new network to thousands of premises in these locations
Kieran Wines, Openreach’s Regional Director for the South East, said: “Nobody in the UK is building Full Fibre faster, further or at a higher quality than Openreach. We’re reaching more communities than ever and our team of highly skilled engineers, alongside our build partners, are working hard to deliver some of the fastest and most reliable broadband available anywhere in the world.
“Just last month we announced 134 rural and hard to reach locations across the South East were to benefit, so it’s great that we’re able to reveal another huge broadband boost for the region with these additional 72 locations. The latest details and timescales are available on our website as the build planning progresses.”
Jonny Wilson, Programme Director, John Henry Group said, “This is fantastic news for Openreach, the John Henry Group and ultimately the customer. At the John Henry Group, we are working very closely with Openreach to enable this build ambition into a reality. Scaling this ambition will require investment in a number of key aspects, including new opportunities for an entry level demographic. The UK telecoms industry is only going to grow in the coming years, and for everyone here at the John Henry group, being part of this build commitment with Openreach is one we are thoroughly looking forward to.”
Pat Carolan, Managing Director of Morrison Telecom Services, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to partner with Openreach, with an expanded role for the next phase of this critical telecom infrastructure build programme. We look forward to supporting Openreach’s commitment to delivering ultrafast connectivity to homes and businesses in both urban and rural communities and the many employment, social, economic and environmental benefits that this will bring. The last eighteen months have highlighted the importance of keeping people connected and we recognise that we have a pivotal role to play in supporting this full fibre network delivery, ensuring the highest standards of design, survey and build activity, as well as first class customer engagement and stakeholder management.”
Barry McNicholas, Group Managing Director of Kier Utilities, said, “We are proud to working with Openreach to deliver full fibre broadband in locations across the UK. This latest award means we can work together to provide reliable digital connectivity for more communities. “Our experience within the telecoms sector means we are well placed to deliver this vitally important new digital infrastructure in urban and rural areas. As we carry out these works, we will work with our network of local supply chain partners as part of our commitment to leaving lasting legacies in areas in which we work.”
Stephen Martin, UK CEO, KN Circet said; “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Openreach to boost full Fibre Broadband rollout in the UK. As demand for full fibre increases dramatically it is great to see KN Circet continuing to safely provide a high-quality product in support of Openreach’s delivery ambitions. I would like to thank Openreach for choosing KN Circet as a build partner. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership to deliver Ultrafast Full Fibre to the South East.’’
The company’s updated build plan will be fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025 and it follows an extended investment commitment by its parent, BT Group – which means Openreach will now build Full Fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country, by the end of 2026.
Openreach is already building Full Fibre faster, at lower cost and higher quality than anyone else in the UK, having made the technology available to more than 5 million homes and business so far.
Openreach plays an important role across the South East region. More than 4,800 of our people live and work here. Recent research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in the South East to Full Fibre. It estimated this would create a £8.7 billion boost to the local economy.
This short video explains what Full Fibre technology is, and you can find out more about our Fibre First programme, latest availability and local plans here.
Notes to Editors:
- 72 new exchanges
- 580,000 new premises
- Total investment: £232 million
List of new exchange locations in the South East:
- £15bn – total investment in Openreach’s Full Fibre build programme
- 25m – premises Openreach expects to build to by December 2026, of which:
- 4m – premises Openreach will build to each year at its peak
- 2m – premises Openreach built to during FY 20/21 (up from 1m in 19/20).
- 1m – customer connections live already
- Up to 7,000 new trainee engineering jobs to be created within Openreach and partners in the supply chain because of increasing build from 20 to 25m by December 2026
- 9,000 apprenticeship roles created and filled by Openreach since 2017/18
- With download speeds of 1 Gbps, it’s up to 10 times faster than the average home broadband connection. That means faster game downloads, better quality video calls and higher resolution movie streaming.
- You can also use multiple devices at once without experiencing slowdown – so more people in your household can get online at once. Even if the rest of your family are making video calls, streaming box sets or gaming online, all at the same time – you won’t experience stuttering, buffering or dropouts.
- Full fibre is also less affected by peak time congestion – so you can enjoy your Saturday night blockbuster in 4K without the dreaded buffering screen.
- Surf, shop, game, play, click, teach, talk, work, create, learn, buy, sell, watch and do business without skipping a beat or slowing down.
 Investment figure based on an average build cost of £400 per premises