May 10, 2017

Openreach to sound out support for ‘full fibre’ UK networks

Openreach is set to launch a major consultation that will determine whether it will invest in more "Full fibre" networks, the move coinciding with parent company BT's full-year results on Thursday. It is the first significant move made by Openreach, which controls the national broadband network, since Ofcom and BT struck a deal to transform the engineering division into a legally separated company. Openreach will use the platform provided by BT's results to set out a scenario whereby it could justify more investment in end-to-end fibre networks, given the backing of its largest customers including BT's consumer arm, TalkTalk, Sky and Vodafone. The company's previous plan, unveiled by BT, was to connect 2m premises to full fibre, with the bulk of the planned upgrades still relying on older copper technology. Adoption of superfast broadband services by business and consumers still trails behind the building out of such networks by a significant margin, and Ofcom's proposal to deregulate lower speeds could act as a deterrent for investment.

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