Full fibre broadband is still only available to a small percentage of the UK population, as the installation of a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) network is slow and expensive.
The drastically improved upload and download speeds of a full fibre connection are still only available to those that live in urban areas and well-connected locations. This is because the cost of installing a new fibre network that links directly to individual homes is in the billions.
The good news is that the BT-owned network, Openreach, is said to be announcing another ramping-up of the planned £12bn investment programme this week. The network is currently aiming to connect 20 million UK premises with its gigabit broadband service by the mid to late 2020s.
Openreach is already one of the biggest full fibre providers in the UK, supplying FTTP connections to more than 4.5 million homes and businesses in the UK. That number is set to rise to 5.8 million by September this year.
According to reports in the Telegraph, the BT Group is set to announce a ramping-up of its rollout this Thursday, adding more rural areas to its full fibre broadband network. Openreach currently has some 3.2 million rural and semi-rural homes included in its plans to reach 20 million homes in the next few years.
We’ll have to wait until Thursday to know all the details. We should find out if it will involve the rollout target being brought forward or possibly extended beyond 20 million premises to involve more rural market towns and villages.
Openreach’s current build plan for the aforementioned 3.2 million rural premises was last updated in February earlier this year. But reports in ISPreview state that a draft copy of BT’s most recent update listed a number of additional rural market towns and villages that aren’t on the current Feb 2021 list. Below is a table of the 27 new areas that are expected to appear on the new rollout plan.
|Locations within planned exchange area||Exchange in plan up to March 2024|
|Newbridge; Gwent||Newbridge; Gwent|
|Newport Pagnell||Newport Pagnell|
|South Wootton||South Wootton|
|Stoke Fleming||Stoke Fleming|
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