Monday, 4 April 2016

The scale of the task - Openreach urban FTTP

I felt that my caution over BT claims to be serious about deploying 'consumer' grade FTTP merited some explanation and, ideally, data, to illustrate the scale of the task in hand.

Here are stats from covering the 10 most populous cities in the country outside of London.

No single chart is available for Edinburgh and Bristol so the stats have been compiled from individual constituencies. The accuracy of the alternative network figure in the context of the Think Broadband figures can't be guaranteed, the accuracy of the Openreach one can. Spoiler: it's 0% for both authorities.

In summary, of the 10 most populous cities in the UK 6 have zero native FTTP from Openreach, 2 have 0.05% coverage or less, and of the final 2 one is at 0.46%, the other, London, 1.45%.

8 of the 10 have more FTTP from other operators than Openreach, the exceptions being Bradford and Edinburgh.

5 of the 6 cities with zero Openreach FTTP have alternative network FTTP, largely Hyperoptic to apartments.

Putting these statistics into some context: if they are correct B4RN, largely volunteers from local communities delivering fibre to hamlets and small villages, have passed more premises with FTTP in their project area than Openreach have in Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester and Bristol combined.

With that in mind you'll forgive me for being cautious before I take as read that Openreach will be delivering ultrafast to me here in the 'burbs of a major city in the medium term. For now the best bet for ultrafast from Openreach if in a major city seems to be to either find a 'trial' area or move somewhere more rural where the taxpayers' wallet has taken the strain.

As always, ecstatic to be pleasantly surprised.


  1. So why is Openreach installing FTTP so important to you? Surely funding FTTC for many more in a shorter time is better.

    One report says 50M is suitable for many for a few years.

    You can guarantee that if a national FTTP rollout were to happen you and I would be near last.

    1. Have another read of the post and the context. This comment comes across as getting defensive regarding Openreach.

      The actual overarching message is that based on previous record there is no reason to take any claims that Openreach will invest anything bar the bare minimum seriously.

      They are the ones claiming they are going on a high fibre diet. I'm pointing out that the data doesn't justify too much optimism.

    2. I should mention though that, contrary to an earlier post, it is most likely that the inefficient manner in which Openreach deployed the FTTP they did wasn't due to any kind of politics but good old fashioned incompetence.

      More specifically incompetence sourced from arrogance. Rather than learning the lessons from others and using best practices a 'we know best' attitude was apparently the prevailing one.

    3. So Haydon Wick will show the new way forward.

  2. Thank you for this post, someone needs to be highlighting how much of a failure FTTP is in urban UK.

    1. But why is the question. Cost, demand, payback, competition etc.

    2. I dont know the answers as I am not privy to the data.
      My speculation would be a combination of risk, political reasons (if an urban area gets FTTP, rural then kicks up a fuss), ROI. allows them to market speeds in the 100s of mbit/sec, even tho it is distance dependent it doesnt matter for marketing, as long as 10% people can get the speed, it can be marketed. FTTP seems only likely to happen n a 100% commercial basis from openreach when all other options have been explored.