Openreach has outlined plans to make ultra-reliable and gigabit-capable full fibre broadband available to homes and businesses in market towns and villages, including in Rotherham.
Wickersley and Thurcroft are on the list and will be upgraded by Openreach without taxpayer subsidy. It’s hoped having access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe will boost their post-Covid economic recovery.
Work is expected to get under way in many of the announced locations within the next 12-18 months, although due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.
The new locations are part of a wider announcement to make the new technology available to a further 3.2 million premises in the UK’s hardest to reach ‘final third’.
The build is at the forefront of a massive £12 billion investment, which will see Openreach’s ambition to build ‘Full Fibre’ infrastructure to 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s – delivering significant economic, social and environmental benefits for rural and urban communities, assuming the right regulatory and political fibre enablers are in place.
Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s Partnership Director in the North of England, said: “We’ve already upgraded tens of thousands of homes and business across Yorkshire and the Humber to full fibre. As well as keeping the existing network running throughout the Covid crisis, our engineers have safely and with social distancing in place, continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, our network is there to support families, businesses and the economic recovery.
“I’d encourage everyone to check if they can switch to the new technology, and if you can, get in touch with your broadband provider to find out more about the many benefits. ‘Full fibre’ is more reliable and more resilient meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds. It is also ‘future-proof’ to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies.”
Openreach CEO, Clive Selley, said: “This year we’ve all seen the importance of having a decent broadband connection and at Openreach, we’re convinced that Full Fibre technology can underpin the UK’s economic recovery.
“Right now, we’re building a new, ultra-reliable full-fibre network that will boost productivity, cut commuting and carbon emissions, and connect our families, public services and businesses for decades to come. It’s Ofcom’s proposals that give us the right conditions to build commercially in hardest to reach areas.
“We’re determined to find inventive engineering solutions and effective partnership funding models to reduce costs and enable us to connect as many communities as possible across the UK without public subsidy.
“Openreach is leading the charge to help Government achieve its target of making gigabit capable networks available nationwide by 2025. And we hope that by publishing our own plans, we can help ensure that taxpayers only fund connections in communities that really need public support.”
Openreach has already built Full Fibre technology to over three million premises across the UK – including over a quarter in the final third of the country. More than 120,000 homes and businesses have also signed up to Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership CFP programme. A CFP enables the company to work with a local community to build a customised co-funded solution and bring fibre broadband to areas not included in any existing private or publicly subsidised upgrade schemes.