Openreach launches FTTP consultation
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

Openreach has called for greater collaboration between industry and government to help build a large-scale fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband network.

Such a network, the organisation suggests, would strengthen the UK's position as what it calls "the leading digital economy in the G20".

The statement comes following the recent launch of a consultation by Openreach on the subject, with a range of communications providers. The company is also planning further engagement with government and Ofcom to assess demand for a large scale FTTP system.

According to the company, 'enablers' required to facilitate full FTTP deployment include new investment, agreement on mass migration of customers and the spreading of costs, as well as a sympathetic legal and regulatory environment.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach said: “By using new techniques, we recently halved the cost of delivering ‘full fibre’ infrastructure, but building a large-scale network is still a huge commercial, technical and logistical challenge that’s going to need real ingenuity, flexibility and coordination across government and industry.

“With the right conditions we believe we could make FTTP available to as many as ten million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s, but we need to understand if there’s sufficient demand to justify the roll-out, and support for the enablers needed to build a viable business case. That includes removing barriers to investment and incentivising those, like Openreach, who are prepared to take a commercial risk.”

Full fibre networks are generally more efficient and reliable - but also more expensive and complex to deploy - than hybrid copper and fibre broadband technology. They can support broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Openreach recently became the first business in the world to demonstrate 100Gbps speeds using its existing FTTP infrastructure.

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