South,
28
May
2021
|
01:15
Europe/Amsterdam

Openreach to upgrade hundreds of thousands across the South West to Full Fibre

Upgrades for three million more premises in the toughest third of the UK , supporting UK Government target of making gigabit-capable broadband available to 85% of country by 2025 Includes around 440,000 homes and businesses in the South West

Openreach engineer at coastal location

Openreach today outlined plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses – including 440,000 in the South West - in some of the UK’s hardest to serve communities[1].  It means fewer homes and businesses will require taxpayer subsidies to upgrade.

A total of 181 exchanges across the region are being upgraded, with the majority of homes and businesses in places such as Polperro, Torrington, Charmouth, Winchcombe, South Petherton and Pewsey[ii] set to benefit from what will be a massive nationwide, five-year feat of civil engineering. *Full list of locations below*

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.

The plans also include an extension to the company’s biggest ever recruitment drive, with a further 1,000 new roles being created in 2021 on top of the 2,500 jobs which were announced in December 2020 – of which around 200 were in the South West. This means that by the end of 2021, Openreach will have created and filled more than 9,000 apprenticeship roles since 2017/18.

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Regional Director for the South West, said: “Building a new ultrafast broadband network across the South West is a massive challenge and some parts of the region will inevitably require public funding. But our expanded build plan means taxpayer subsidies can be limited to only the hardest to connect homes and businesses. And with investments from other network builders, we’d hope to see that shrink further.

“This is a hugely complex, nationwide engineering project – second only to HS2 in terms of investment. It will help level-up the UK because the impact of Full Fibre broadband stretches from increased economic prosperity and international competitiveness, to higher employment and environmental benefits. We’re also delighted to continue bucking the national trend by creating more jobs in the region, with apprentices joining in their droves to start their careers as engineers.

“We’ll publish further location details and timescales on our website as the detailed surveys and planning are completed and the build progresses. In the meantime, don’t forget that you can also check what’s already available on our website - tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the South West can already access Full Fibre.”

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 4.7 million homes and business so far.

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.

The company’s Chief Engineer unit is using a range of innovations and techniques to deliver world class build costs, whilst a major investment in 11 new regional training centres - including one in Exeter - is helping to equip and skill thousands of new engineers.

Openreach plays an important role across the South West. More than 3,400 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 West to Full Fibre. It estimated this would create a £4.3 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.

 

Summary of today’s additional build numbers in the South West:

  

Number of premises

Exchanges

South West

Cornwall

More than 110,000

52

 

Devon

More than 85,000

38

 

Dorset

More than 45,000

14

 

Gloucestershire

More than 55,000

23

 

Somerset

95,000

37

 

Wiltshire

46,000

17

 

Total:

More than 440,000

181

List of exchange locations in the South West

Cornwall

Boscastle

Marazion

Roche

(52 exchanges)

Bude

Mawnan Smith

St Agnes

 

Callington

Mevagissey

St Austell

 

Camborne

Millbrook

St Columb

 

Crantock

Mousehole

St Day

 

Devoran

Nanpean

St Ives

 

Downderry

Newquay

St Just

 

Fowey

Padstow

St Merryn

 

Fraddon

Par

Stenalees

 

Grampound Road

Penzance

The Lizard

 

Gunnislake

Perranporth

Tintagel

 

Hayle

Polperro

Trebetherick

 

Helston

Polruan

Tregony

 

Kilkhampton

Port Isaac

Tresillian

 

Launceston

Porthtowan

Wadebridge

 

Leedstown

Portreath

Widemouth Bay

 

Looe

Portscatho

 

 

Lostwithiel

Redruth

 

 

 

 

 

Devon

Ashburton

Holsworthy

Sidmouth

(38 exchanges)

Axminster

Instow

Silverton

 

Barnstaple

Ipplepen

South Brent

 

Bere Alston

Kingswear

Starcross

 

Bovey Tracey

Loddiswell

Stoke Gabriel

 

Braunton

Luppitt

Sutton Cross

 

Churston

Modbury

Swimbridge

 

Colyton

Moretonhampstead

Torcross

 

Combe Martin

North Tawton

Torrington

 

Craddock

Salcombe

Totnes

 

Croyde

Sampford Peverell

Whimple

 

Feniton

Seaton

Yelverton

 

Hele

Shaldon

 

 

 

 

 

Dorset

Bere Regis

Child Okeford

Sturminster Newton

(14 exchanges)

Bindon Abbey

Lyme Regis

Swanage

 

Blandford

Martinstown

Wareham

 

Bridport

Preston

Warmwell

 

Charmouth

Sherborne

 

 

 

 

 

Gloucestershire

Abson

Dursley

Pilning

(23 exchanges)

Amberley

Fairford

Rangeworthy

 

Berkeley

Lechlade

South Cerney

 

Bourton-On-The-Water

Lydney

Stonehouse

 

Brimscombe

Marshfield

Tetbury

 

Cinderford

Nailsworth

Whitecroft

 

Coleford

Newent

Winchcombe

 

Drybrook

Northleach

 

 

 

 

 

Somerset

Banwell

Ilchester

Somerton

(37 exchanges)

Bishops Lydeard

Langport

South Chard

 

Brean Down

Martock

South Petherton

 

Bruton

Mells

Street

 

Castle Cary

Midsomer Norton

Wellington

 

Chard

Milborne Port

West Monkton

 

Combwich

Minehead

Weston Zoyland

 

Crewkerne

Nether Stowey

Williton

 

Dulverton

North Petherton

Wincanton

 

Dunster

Pill

Winscombe

 

Evercreech

Porlock

Wiveliscombe

 

Glastonbury

Puriton

 

 

Henlade

Shepton Mallet

 

 

 

 

 

Wiltshire

Aldbourne

Cricklade

Malmesbury

(17 exchanges)

Alderbury

Devizes

Marlborough

 

Bradenstoke

Downton

Mere

 

Bradford-On-Avon

Hawthorn

Pewsey

 

Calne

Keevil

Tisbury

 

Corsham

Lavington

 

Full Fibre Facts

  • £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 as a result of increasing build from 20 to 25m by December 2026
  • 9,000 apprenticeship roles created and filled by Openreach since 2017/18

[i] The vast majority of these locations fall within the ‘final third’ or ‘Geographic Area 3’, which is defined by Ofcom as 9.5 million premises in the least commercially viable areas of the UK for competitive broadband infrastructure upgrades.

[ii] Build costs fall within BT Group’s publicly stated range of £300-400 per premises passed, on average and excluding connection costs. All locations upgrades are subject to a detailed survey.