Openreach Set to Top 14 Million UK Premises with FTTP Broadband

Network operator Openreach (BT) has today confirmed that their 1.8Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP network has now “almost” covered 14 million premises, which comes after they ramped-up build to deploy 1 million premises per quarter. The operator also firmed up on their 30m premises ambition for 2030.

Speaking in Manchester for the Connected North event this morning, Openreach’s Director of Fibre Build, Georgia Grimes, said: “We’ve built full fibre broadband to almost 14 million premises and are now building at a rate of 1m a quarter and will go on to reach 30m by 2030. We’re building on time, in budget, safely and sustainably.”

NOTE: BT are investing up to £15bn to bring FTTP to 25 million premises by December 2026 (80%+ of the UK) and they aspire to potentially reach up to 30 million by 2030 (c. 25-30m).

The clear statement about going “on to reach 30m by 2030” appears to represent a more concrete commitment of intent than we’ve seen before from Openreach. The 2030 date was last year spoken about more aspirationally, often alongside a more ambiguous range of “between 25-30m” (here), but it increasingly seems like they’re now solidifying it as a solid target.

At the same time Openreach’s Business Development Manager, Justine Neale, separately said the operator’s FTTP take-up “will rise to 50%” (up from 34% today or over 4.5m customers) and that’s a bit more specific than the range of 40-55% that was similarly expressed last year for the same 2030 date. But Justine did caveat that they still needed more support from the government to help foster flexi-permits and easier wayleaves for MDU build (here).

Openreach currently expects to add a total of 3.5 million extra premises to their UK FTTP coverage across the 2024 financial year, which they predict will rise to 4 million in FY25. In other words, they should maintain a rate of build around the 1m premises per quarter mark for the next couple of years, during which build costs are expected to stay within their £250 to £350 model (here).

However, Openreach has previously said that their capital expenditure will reduce by at least £1bn per annum after December 2026, while at the same time their “build pace will reduce to c.1m premises passed per annum” in this same period (here). This is to be expected, as national roll-outs naturally have a ramp-up (early phases of build) and ramp-down (late phases) period.

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