House builder Barratt makes Openreach full fibre broadband mandatory across all new home developments
- Around 15,000 new homes per annum nationwide set to benefit
Barratt Developments, Britain’s biggest house builder, has partnered with Openreach to ensure that the national network provider’s ultrafast, ultra-reliable ‘Full Fibre’ broadband is installed as standard across all of its new build developments.
The move means that all of the c.15,000 new build homes that Barratt builds every year – will now provide access to a Full Fibre broadband service over Openreach’s nationwide network, from the moment new home owners move in.
Openreach builds and maintains the largest open access network meaning home owners won’t be restricted to who they can choose to take their broadband service from. Openreach offers the widest range of phone and broadband providers – from the likes of Andrews and Arnold, Aquiss, Ceberus, Zen, and Giganet to big name brands like BT, Sky, TalkTalk, EE and Vodafone – all over one network.
Customers will have access to other competing broadband networks like Virgin Media and Hyperoptic through Openreach’s national network of underground ducts and overhead poles – which are open to any company looking to extend their network. So far, more than 100 communications providers have signed up to use Openreach’s Ducts and Poles Access product.
Building work to install Full Fibre under the agreement with Barratt comes into force this month with the first homes to be built under the scheme on a new development at Central Barrow Walk, in Birmingham.
The partnership with Barratt builds on Openreach’s existing commitment to ensuring Full Fibre is available to all new build developments, with its scheme offering Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) infrastructure free of charge for new housing development sites of 20 or more properties, when developers register with Openreach, which includes a majority of Barratt sites, and a highly competitive ‘rate card’ for smaller sites where developers make a contribution towards the fibre infrastructure build. The rate card is based on Developers paying a set contribution for the size of the site and the amount Developers are asked to pay is capped for the very smallest, 2 and 3 premise, sites. 
The scheme has so far proved very successful with 93 per cent of all plots contracted with Openreach now getting FTTP, with 100% of plots on sites of 20 or more homes getting FTTP and 41 per cent of plots on smaller (2-19 premise) sites.
Openreach currently build the infrastructure to over 200k new homes every year, with 4k new connections every week.
Kim Mears OBE, MD Strategic Infrastructure Development, said: “Like Openreach, Barratt understands the huge benefits of Full Fibre to both buyers and builders alike and the importance of ensuring everybody moving into a new build property can enjoy the advantages of this future proof technology.
“As the digital revolution continues at an ever increasing pace, and our demand for data grows, we need to make sure this country stays ahead of the curve by building fast, reliable networks that cater for all the activities we’ll want to do online in the decades ahead. This has never been more important as we look to help the UK’s economy bounce back more quickly from the Covid-19 pandemic. And there’s strong evidence that points to Full Fibre broadband being able to turbo-charge that process.”
“I hope other housebuilders will now follow Barratt’s lead in making Full Fibre mandatory across their own developments.”
Steven Boyes, chief operating officer at Barratt Developments, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to offer this new unified service to our customers and Openreach has been integral to that. Delivering different full fibre services on a site by site basis can sometimes cause problems for customers, so by coming together to build a unified system with Barratt it will deliver a much better service, benefitting everyone.
“Particularly now when everyone relies on fast and reliable broadband this new service will mean customers can enjoy their new home even more. A unified service with multiple providers hasn’t been delivered in the housebuilding industry before so it is testament to Openreach for their hard work and vision in helping making this happen. As the country’s leading housebuilder we’re proud to be offering this industry-first to our customers when they need it most.”
The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) have found that a nationwide Full Fibre broadband network would boost UK productivity by £59 billion by 2025 – and updated modelling suggests it could enable nearly one million more people to access employment including over 300,000 carers, nearly 250,000 older workers and 400,000 parents.
The pandemic has accelerated changes in working patterns and, with full fibre, nearly two million more people than previously estimated could also choose to work from home in the long term, reducing transport and housing pressures in big cities and boosting local and rural economies across the country.
According to a London School of Economics & Political Science study of British homebuyers, a good broadband connection now tops off-street parking and access to local amenities as one of the vital deciding factors for people buying a new house. The study also finds that one in ten buyers have walked away from properties with poor internet connection and that broadband is generally connected even before gas. Home owners in London are willing to pay up to 3 per cent above the market price for properties in areas offering very fast broadband speeds.
Providing full fibre to new homes is an important part of Openreach’s commitment to invest in faster, more reliable broadband technology through its new ‘Fibre First’ strategy. The company is on track to reach 4.5 million homes and businesses with its Full Fibre network by the end of March 2021, and wants to reach 20 million by the middle of the decade if the right conditions are in place.
Developers can take can find out more about registering their new sites with Openreach here.
 Openreach’s Full Fibre network is open access – ISP choice is BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, EE, Zen, Andrews and Arnold, Aquiss, Cerberus, Fibre Net, Giganet, Orbital Net, Pine Media, Spectrum, Structured, Syscomm and Uno and growing.
 Developers’ contribution under Openreach’s rate card will be capped at £2k per plot for 2 and 3 plot sites, subject to terms and conditions
Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.
We’re 35,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world.
Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in the UK can be connected.
We work on behalf of more than 660 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, BT and Zen, and our broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 31.8m UK premises.
Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £14 billion into our network and, at more than 185 million kilometres, it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,617 times.
Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come.
We’re making progress towards our FTTP target to reach 20m premises by mid-to-late 2020s. We’ve also hired more than 3,000 trainee engineers this past financial year to help us build that network and deliver better service across the country. Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed unit of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions.
For the year ended 31 March 2020, we reported revenue of £5bn.
For more information, visit www.openreach.co.uk.