Openreach speeds past 50% full fibre broadband milestone in Northern Ireland

If our experiences over recent months have taught us anything, it is that demand for online services is only going in one direction. It will therefore be welcome news to many that Northern Ireland’s (NI) largest digital infrastructure provider, Openreach, has today announced that 50% of homes and businesses in the region can now access futureproof and ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband on its network.

Full Fibre broadband is game changing, giving premises access to broadband at speeds of up to 1Gbps, meaning faster connections and a more consistent and reliable service. For homeowners this will mean everyone within the home can be online at the same time, at any time - whether working, studying, or relaxing while watching the latest boxset. For businesses, they will be able to have greater bandwidth to access seamless high definition video conferencing and uploading, downloading, or transferring large files will be much easier.

Reaching this significant milestone shows that Openreach is well on its journey to upgrade its network and to bring ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to 525,000 premises, which is over 60%, by the end of March 2021. It firmly places NI at top of the charts as the most digitally connected region in the UK and well ahead of the rest of the UK to achieve the Government’s target of 100% to 1GB speeds by 2025.

Openreach’s team of 750 engineers have now built Full Fibre broadband to 420,000 homes and businesses located in NI. Building to over 3,500 premises every week, this means that every hour another 22 homes or businesses in the region can now access Full Fibre broadband.

Speaking about the achievement, Mairead Meyer, Director of Openreach in Northern Ireland, said:

“Despite our size, Northern Ireland always shines on the global stage and goes shoulder to shoulder with the best of them - this is certainly true for the progress that has been made to keep NI at the forefront of digital technology. We’re very proud that our Full Fibre build programme has helped NI to rank so highly and has made the region a leader within the UK. This is an incredible achievement.

“We’re seeing day in and day out, how important broadband has become to the lives of so many people in Northern Ireland. Zoom currently has over 770,000 active users per day** and 1 in 5 households in the UK bought groceries online in the past month*** and this is likely to continue as a trend.

“The Full Fibre network is about setting Northern Ireland up for success today and in the future. It will be transformational, providing a consistent and fast service to connect families, businesses and public services in the region and will be a platform for economic growth for the region. Those who adopt it first will be the first to see the benefits of it. We’re encouraging everyone to check if Full Fibre broadband is available in their area and to register their interest in updates about the build programme by visiting openreach.co.uk/ni”

Openreach CEO, Clive Selley, commented: “I’m extremely proud of the central role that Openreach has played in supporting Northern Ireland’s digital ambitions so far and it is important for me to take a moment to recognise and applaud our team of over 750 engineers who have made this happen. It is their dedication, expertise and desire to consistently deliver the best results for our customers that has ensured that the region is getting the digital infrastructure it needs to drive growth and stay ahead.

“We’re committed to Northern Ireland – from creating jobs to supporting local communities – and as we build our fibre network directly to the front doors of homes and businesses across the region, we’re determined to provide our customers with the digital connectivity they need and deserve. We will achieve this by staying at the forefront of innovation and continuing to invest in the region - helping to play a part in making sure Northern Ireland remains a great place to live and work.”

Chief Executive Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, Ann McGregor, said: “We warmly welcome the news that Openreach has reached this significant milestone in its fibre build programme. We recognise that there are big challenges for our economy and wider society right now and it is reassuring to see companies like Openreach continuing to push on with delivering on its ambitions for the region. Full Fibre broadband presents an opportunity for local businesses and consumers alike to increase productivity and embrace further digitalisation within their operations and lives. It also places Northern Ireland in a great position to attract and entice investment, demonstrating that Northern Ireland is leading the way in the UK and can compete on the global stage.”

To check if Full Fibre broadband is available in your area or to learn more about Openreach visit openreach.co.uk/ni