South West to get £112m ultrafast Full Fibre broadband boost
28 further urban locations to get Full Fibre, on top of 181 new rural places announced last month
People living and working in parts of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire 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 440,000 premises - in 181 mainly rural and harder to serve areas across the South West- were also included in the build plan.
Both announcements build on Openreach’s existing work in the region, where more than 480,000 homes and businesses can already order ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband.
Following a competitive tender process, a number of partners including Telent and Kier, 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
Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Regional Director for the South West, 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 181 rural and hard to reach locations across the South West were to benefit, so it’s great that we’re able to reveal another huge broadband boost for the region with these additional 28 locations.
“The latest details and timescales are available on our website as the build planning progresses.”
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.”
Ric Welsby, Managing Director of 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 https://telent.com/work-with-us/infrastructure-services.”
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 West region. 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.
Notes to Editors
List of new exchange locations in the South West:
- 28 new exchanges
- 280,000 new premises
- Total investment: £112 million
(£29m to be spent in Plymouth)
- £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