Openreach adds 551 more locations to its Full Fibre broadband plan as the build reaches five million homes and counting
Openreach today outlined plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to 551 more towns and cities – covering some 5 million homes and businesses – as part of its £15 billion programme to reach 25 million premises all over the UK.
The company is making the new gigabit-capable technology available to 43k premises every week, and more than five million homes and businesses can now place an order.
The news comes hot on the heels of Openreach’s announcement last month that it will target more than six million rural and hard-to-reach homes and businesses across the UK – with these latest urban locations stretching from Bournemouth, in Dorset, Dunfermline, in Scotland, Kettering, in the East Midlands, to Sunderland in the North East, and Wrexham, in Wales.
Planning work has already started, with further details and timescales to be published every quarter on the Openreach website as work progresses and detailed surveys are completed. The build will take place between now and December 2026, with work in these latest locations starting later this year. For a full list of the new locations, go here.
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: “Nobody’s building Full Fibre faster, further or at a higher quality than Openreach in the UK. Our engineers and build partners are working flat-out to deliver this life-changing technology to rural, urban and suburban communities all over the country and we’re delighted to be fleshing out our plans with more details about where and when we’ll be building.
“More than a million customers are already enjoying our most revolutionary and reliable broadband ever. It’s the next generation of internet that’s ready for anything. You can surf, shop, play, work and learn without skipping a beat – so check out our website to see when we’re coming to your street.”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: "We have already started work on the biggest broadband build in the history of this country through our £5 billion Project Gigabit to invest in lightning-fast connections across the UK.
"I welcome this landmark day in Openreach's roll out and we will continue to work alongside them to level up the country with next-generation connectivity,"
Following a competitive tender process, a number of partners – including Instalcom, JHG, Kier, KN Circet, Map Group, MJ Quinn, Morrison Telecom Services, nmcn and Telent were chosen by Openreach to support the upgrades and will play a crucial role in building the new network.
Vince Bowler, Managing Director, Instalcom, said: “Instalcom and the wider O’Connor Group are again delighted to be supporting Openreach in their continued accelerated programme of Full Fibre network construction works, which are dramatically enhancing the UK’s Digital Infrastructure. This growth and development opportunity continues to provide the optimum platform for our next generation of engineers, apprentices, and build teams to engage in their chosen career paths in delivering one of the most significant and ambitious programmes of works in the UK. We look forward to playing our role in supporting the safe and successful delivery of this exciting programme of works providing the maximum benefit with minimal disruption to the communities who we engage with on the journey.”
Jonny Wilson, Operations Director at JHG, 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.”
Barry McNicholas, Group Managing Director at Kier Utilities, said: “We are proud to be 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 at 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 UK."
Sarb Singh, Director of Operations at Map Group (UK) Limited, said: "MAP Group (UK) is delighted to be working alongside Openreach. We share a common goal to build the best possible network with the highest quality of service and connectivity to householders and businesses.
"The upgrade will vastly improve download speeds and the quality of video calls and streaming. We are proud to be associated with what is being seen as significant step on the road back to economic recovery after the Covid lockdown."
Alan O’Prey, Managing Director at MJ Quinn, said: "In the last 18 months we have all come to appreciate how vital a strong and reliable internet connection is, both in our professional and personal lives. MJ Quinn are extremely proud to be working in partnership with Openreach to build ultrafast and ultra-reliable fibre networks of the future.
“We are particularly proud to be delivering so close to home, the North West and North Wales region, an area in which MJ Quinn have had a strong presence for over 30 years. Through our work we will support generations of people to gain access to technologies that will enhance their lives and leave a legacy for many years to come."
Pat Carolan, Managing Director at 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.”
Robert Moyle, Managing Director at Nmcn – Telecoms, said: “nmcn are delighted to have been awarded the Mansfield cluster as part of the latest stage of Openreach’s Full Fibre rollout in the East Midlands. We look forward to continuing to deliver a crucial role in connecting thousands of customers in our locality and throughout the region to support the recovery from what has been a challenging 18 months for everyone.”
Ric Welsby, Managing Director at Telent Infrastructure Services, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting Openreach in the build of this ultrafast and ultra-reliable full fibre broadband network. The long-term contracts we have been awarded allow us to recruit the people we need to provide an excellent service to Openreach. We have many exciting roles to fill, I would encourage anyone who is interested in working on this important national infrastructure project to visit our website.”
Overall, more than 2,400 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets have so-far been included in Openreach’s Fibre First programme – and the build is fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable broadband’ to 85 per cent of UK by 2025.
Recently updated research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) shows that a nationwide Full Fibre network could turbocharge the economic bounce back from pandemic, levelling-up rural and urban communities, deliver up to £59 billion in increased productivity every year and enable a million people to get back into employment.
Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.
We’re more than 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 665 communications providers like BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Zen, and our broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 31.8m premises.
Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £15 billion into our network and, at more than 190 million kilometres – it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,798 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 full fibre optic network target to reach 25 million premises by December 2026. Research shows a nationwide Full Fibre network could potentially provide a £59bn boost to UK productivity.1
To help build the new fibre network and deliver better service across the country – we’ve created and filled more than 9,000 apprenticeship roles in the last two years and we’re recruiting another 1,000 trainee roles in Openreach in 2021.
We’re also building greener – we operate the UK’s second largest commercial fleet and want to help lead the transition to electric vehicles, with a target to transition our fleet to being electric in 2030.
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 2021, we reported revenue of £5,244m
For more information, visit www.openreach.co.uk