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Openreach is seeking views from telecoms operators about the commercial appetite for fibre broadband.

A consultation has been launched to gauge opinion from the likes of Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone on deploying fibre technology more extensively.

The consultation comes at a key time for Openreach, as it seeks to establish its independence after BT agreed to legally separate its infrastructure subsidiary earlier this year.

Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, has made replacing copper telephone lines with modern fibre optic cables a key priority.

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said he is often asked if it is hard to get the money for ultra-fast broadband, but argued "that misses the point".

"The point is creating the business case," Mr Selley stated.

"For full-fibre, that is fairly challenging because it is expensive to deploy and takes a long time to deploy.

"The kind of question we’re asking them is ‘at what rate do you think your customers would adopt ultra-fast speeds?'"

Mr Selley noted that BT has come to believe that fibre is "incredibly expensive and will take forever". 

However, he said the cost of deploying fibre has "probably halved in this last year", which means "we're on the way there".

Nevertheless, Mr Selley acknowledged the technology is "still probably a bit too pricey" and that there is still "more to do" to make it a more viable option.

He went on to state that while Openreach feels under pressure as it adapts to a new system of governance, it is right that it feels this way.

Indeed, he said he is "okay with a pressure environment" until it is delivering a service that "we can be genuinely proud of pretty much across the board".

Mr Selley noted that Openreach hired about 1,500 field engineers in 2016 and hopes to attract 1,700 this year.

He described this as the "sharp end of the business", as that is "where services are provisioned for customers and where faults are fixed".

Mr Selley added that his ambition is the same as BT's broadband rivals and that he wants to see "decent broadband" being delivered across the whole of the UK.

"I will have a happier customer base if everyone could get fast broadband," he said.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has already stated that it expects the reformed Openreach "to engage with industry to deliver widespread fibre networks, offering fast, reliable broadband".

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