Openreach fibre first to ‘fire the starting pistol’ on major infrastructure upgrade

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Openreach has pledged to bring high-speed broadband to three million UK premises by the end of 2020 as part of its newly launched 'fibre first' programme.

The move follows an earlier announcement by the UK government that it has met its superfast broadband target of 95 per cent of homes by the end of 2017 (see UK government delivers superfast broadband target, still more to be done).

The operator revealed that it plans to recruit and train 3,000 engineers in 2018 to reach a new target of three million homes and businesses by 2020 (up from its previous commitment of two million by the same date). The first phase will roll out to Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

In a statement, Openreach CEO, Clive Selley said: ‘Passing more than 27 million homes and businesses with superfast broadband is a momentous milestone, but it is also a stepping stone to something much bigger. Today sees the launch of our “fibre first programme” – which fires the starting pistol on a potentially huge upgrade of critical UK infrastructure.

‘Reaching three million premises by 2020 sets Openreach on the right trajectory to achieve its ambition of building a ten million FTTP footprint by the mid-2020s and, if the conditions are right, to go significantly beyond, bringing the benefits of FTTP to the majority of homes and businesses across the UK.

‘Three million by 2020 might not seem a lot – but connecting every individual property to a full fibre connection is a massive task and takes significant time, engineering and manpower. The job of “fibering” the UK will take decades.‘

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