Openreach, the company responsible for the nation’s fibre network, today began discussing plans to roll out super-fast broadband to 10 million homes across Britain by 2025.
In order to successfully assess which areas are most in demand of the high-speed connectivity service, Openreach have asked for research support from Ofcom, the government and other telecommunication suppliers.
This new prediction sees 8 million more homes benefitting from faster downloading capabilities as the network giant had previously pledged to bring full fibre to 2 million homes by 2020.
Earlier this year Openreach controversially split from well-known Telecommunications provider BT. Both companies are currently in the process of a legal separation of signing a deal with Ofcom following two years of fraught negotiations.
Whilst still in partnership with BT, Openreach had spoken out about the economic constraints of providing widespread full fibre to premises (FFTP), describing it as expensive.
However, Clive Selley the chief executive of Openreach has revealed new techniques have been developed by the company which will now allow them to supply the service at half the cost.
“Prepared to take a commercial risk“
Mr Selley said: “With the right conditions, we believe we could make FTTP available to as many as 10 million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s, but we need to understand if there’s sufficient demand to justify the roll out, and support for the enablers needed to build a viable business case.
“That includes removing barriers to investment and incentivising those, like Openreach, who are prepared to take a commercial risk.”
Earlier this month, the government unveiled a £400m fund aimed at boosting the UK’s fibre-to-the-home infrastructure.
Malcolm Corbett, who runs the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (Inca), believes the industry can reach about 80% full fibre coverage by 2026 without the need for large government cash hand-outs.
He added: “Regarding the Openreach consultation, one aspect that we think particularly important is that Openreach doesn’t use their new-found enthusiasm for full fibre to try to re-monopolise local access networks.”
Meanwhile the announcement would suggest that Openreach are going from strength to strength, previous partner BT have encountered a few setbacks this year. They have seen a number of senior departures over the past 18 months, including its chairman, finance director, head of corporate affairs and head of investor relations. The share price has also plummeted by almost a quarter over the last year.
Harinder Bains, Business Development Manager for Vibrant Networks welcomes the roll out of FTTP and predicts it will change the way we use broadband.
With online streaming services such as Netflix now serving 52.03 million customers the new faster speeds will be a welcome change to our new trend on consuming entertainment. Full fibre can support broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps, which is enough to download an entire HD TV programme in five seconds.