Openreach CEO Clive Selley has praised the work of an army of Openreach engineers following the Government’s announcement that 95% of the country can now order superfast broadband speeds of at least 24 Megabits per second (Mbps).
In a statement published today, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport revealed that it had reached its national target of making superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of the country by the end of 2017. This means the vast majority of Britain’s homes and businesses can now order services capable of streaming their favourite Netflix or iPlayer shows, playing online games, responding to emails and surfing the web – all simultaneously, on multiple devices and without interruption. And, according to Thinkbroadband.com, if everyone in the UK ordered the fastest service available to them today, the average broadband speed nationwide would be 188.6mbps*, enough to stream 37 HD movies simultaneously.**
Commenting on Openreach’s role in reaching the Government’s superfast broadband target, Clive Selley, said: “Everyone at Openreach is determined to deliver decent broadband speeds to every home and business in Britain. That is our mission, and we won’t be happy until every property from Land’s End to John O’Groats has access to decent speeds. But today represents an important milestone in this mission, and it’s important for me to recognise the huge contribution of our engineers and planners in what has been a titanic and complex engineering project.
“More than 27 million homes have been upgraded since 2009, and the UK now enjoys faster speeds, and broader coverage than all of the major EU economies. I’m proud that Openreach people have played the leading role in one of Britain’s great engineering achievements.”
As the UK’s largest digital infrastructure provider, Openreach’s now offers wholesale fibre broadband services to more than 27.1 million British homes and businesses, making up the lion’s share of the total national footprint, with the firm having invested more than £11 billion over the last decade to upgrade and expand its network nationwide.
Over the last 12 months Openreach successfully upgraded the network serving more than 774,000 premises across Britain – giving each the ability to ability to order speeds of at least 24 megabits per second – and at the height of the rollout in 2013, its engineers were upgrading some 120,000 properties every week*** through a combination of commercial investment and public-private partnerships, including contracts with the UK Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.
Openreach engineers are still working hard to address the remaining not-spots in partnership with government, local authorities and communities, and to deliver the next generation of ultrafast broadband technologies across the country. The business is currently consulting with its wholesale customers on how to achieve its ambition of making ultrafast (100Mbps+) Fibre-to-the-Premises technology available to 10 million premises by the mid-2020s, and it will be publishing an update on this process in the near future.
Commenting on Openreach’s plans to deliver decent broadband speeds to the remaining five percent of British properties, Selley said: “We want to get on with the job of delivering better broadband to everybody in Britain, and we don’t want people in not-spots to wait any longer. The Government intends to introduce a Universal Service Obligation, which will give people the right to request broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second by 2020 and we’ll be working with the industry including other network operators, Government and Ofcom to deliver this crucial policy pledge. In the meantime, we’ll be continuing to expand our network into rural areas through a combination of our own commercial programmes and our partnerships with local authorities and communities.”
And finally, commenting on Openreach’s plans to expand its full-fibre, ultrafast network, Selley said: “I have been clear that full-fibre is the future and whilst 95% superfast coverage is an incredible achievement, technology never stands still. We want to build a future-proof, large-scale full fibre network that will reinforce Britain’s position as a leading digital economy in the world and over the last few months we’ve been working closely with Ofcom, the government and industry to explore how we can do that in an effective and affordable way. We look forward to publishing a more specific set of proposals for FTTP soon.