A new report commissioned by UK fixed line infrastructure provider Openreach has concluded the UK would be £59 billion better off with full FTTP.
The report -‘Full fibre broadband: A platform for growth’ – was compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). The conclusion is that if the UK were to achieve ubiquitous fibre to the premises (FTTP) by 2025, UK productivity would increase by almost £59 billion, due to smarter ways of working and better public services made possible by FTTP.
It appears that the CEBR had a look at the effect FTTP has had in places where it’s already available and scaled that up to the whole country. It also tried to factor in other disruptive technological events such as mass ICT and even railways to get a sense of the transformative effect of everyone having faster broadband than they currently do.
“Full fibre is a vehicle to turbocharge our economy post-Brexit, with the power to renew towns and communities across the UK,” said Openreach CEO Clive Selley. “We’re proud to be leading the way with over 1.8 million homes and businesses already having access to our full fibre network. We’re currently building full fibre to around 22,000 premises a week– which is one every 28 seconds. But we want to go even faster and further – to 15 million premises and beyond if we can get the right conditions to invest.”
“Through our Fibre First programme, Openreach is now building to 103 locations across the UK and we’re on track to build to four million premises by March 2021. With the right policies and regulation, we can build a better, more reliable broadband network faster than any other country in the world and unlock the benefits for the whole UK. If that doesn’t happen, then many people will be locked out of a more connected future and the UK could lose its status as a global digital leader.”
Openreach believes the telecoms sector should be exempt from paying business rates for the foreseeable future, be granted better access to blocks of flats and other such buildings and get a regulatory environment more conducive to investment.
To read the full report as well as Openreach’s thoughts on how the roll-out of full FTTP can be speeded up, please click here.
To some extent Openreach is pushing at an open door here, since no one thinks faster broadband is a bad idea. This report is just part of the ongoing lobbying campaign to get the UK state to be a bit more helpful when it comes to fibre infrastructure and, presumably, to maintain the momentum created by Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm for fibre.
Meanwhile, the pace of Openreach full fiber roll-outs is increasing. There are now 1,604,178 premises where the Openreach FTTP services can be ordered from assorted retailers. This is an increase of 110,247 compared to the previous month and gives a build rate of 25,724 premises a week.
Splits for Openreach FTTP and changed in category since 12th September 2019:
- 463,391 premises via BDUK/gap funded or other rural intervention (increase of 10, reality in the 6000-7000 range)
- 764,521 premises in Fibre First areas (increase of 129,876)
- 270,774 premises via New Build since January 2016 (increase of 29,784)
- 107,468 premises via commercial/old roll-out (decrease of 47,447)
The big take-away should be for the increasing number of full fibre operators both big and small, that if you need high levels of take-up to sustain your business model in the short to medium term you need to do a lot of community engagement and pricing needs to be the same or lower than the price people are paying today even if your speeds are significantly higher.
Openreach works on behalf of communications providers to build and maintain the UK’s digital network — the lines, poles and cables used to provide phone, broadband and TV services. We don’t provide phone, broadband or TV services directly to consumers. To get these services, you should contact a communications provider below to find out about the packages they can offer you.