At Openreach we’re dedicated to ensuring that the UK has world class, future-proofed, digital infrastructure. That’s why today we’ve launched a consultation for the country’s leading broadband and telephone providers asking for their views on how we can upgrade consumers and businesses throughout the country onto next generation ‘full fibre’ broadband connections.
Unlike the move to digital TV, the process of upgrading broadband connections to ‘full fibre’ will require physical fibre connections to be made to individual premises, and involve significant investment from Openreach and support from Communications Providers. But the transition will also deliver huge benefits to the industry and UK in general, providing greater broadband speeds and reliability, a significant boost to productivity and competitiveness, and a digital platform that’s expected to serve homes and businesses here for many decades to come.
We’re determined to make the transition as fast and beneficial as possible, so we’re asking our Communications Providers partners questions in three key areas:
1. How it builds the new network, which is growing fast;
2. How the industry should migrate customers smoothly onto the Openreach network, once it’s built;
3. How Openreach should eventually retire the existing copper network.
We have also outlined a number of guiding principles, which we believe are crucial to achieving a successful transition. These include:
• Building contiguous footprints within exchange areas to avoid creating new not-spots
• Working closely with CPs to upgrade every customer in those areas quickly once the new network is built
• Offering a compelling, simple portfolio of products that supports new retail voice and broadband services
• Upgrading the large majority of people voluntarily, whilst developing an industry process for late adopters
• Withdrawing copper-based services progressively
• Developing a consumer charter with industry and Ofcom that encourages transparent communications to homes and businesses affected, and includes protections for vulnerable customers
Agreeing an approach to this upgrade process is a key enabler to deliver that larger ambition, and to bring the UK closer to the Government’s aim of nationwide FTTP network by 2033. We’re determined to put customers at the heart of the process, and so will be speaking to the Government, Ofcom and key consumer, business and public sector groups as part of the consultation process.
Our engineers, working in every community across the UK, have already been working hard to make sure we are on track to make FTTP broadband technology available to three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. We want to go further, to 10 million premises and beyond under the right conditions. As the chief strategy officer my mission, and that of my team, is to ensure Openreach can deliver world class infrastructure and future proofed internet as quickly and efficiently as possible. This consultation is part of our exciting plans to bring brilliant connections across the UK.
Chief Strategy Officer, Openreach