Openreach Trial Gift Cards to Boost UK FTTP Broadband Take-up

Network access provider Openreach (BT) are preparing to trial a new “end customer voucher scheme“, which will offer a special gift card for shopping worth £50 to consumers who follow the promotion and sign-up via a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband package from one of their many retail ISPs.

The idea of a wholesale provider offering an incentive directly to consumers is nothing particularly new in this market (i.e. as a complement, NOT replacement, to any offers that retail ISPs might already be running). For example, CityFibre have long made a habit out of offering cashback incentives to new subscribers (here).

NOTE: Openreach’s full fibre network currently covers over 14 million premises and they’re investing up to £15bn to reach 25m by Dec 2026 (14m have already been covered). After that, the ambition also exists to reach up to 30 million premises by 2030.

However, Openreach usually prefers to deal directly with ISPs at the wholesale level, rather than consumers. But the new trial changes that dynamic a bit. Sadly, the related briefing on the operator’s website (here) doesn’t include any useful information, although we have since been able to uncover some details and can now share them with our readers.

The voucher scheme appears to reflect a small scale trial, which will run from 24th June 2024 to 1st September 2024 and is to only be marketed at certain postcode sectors in England, Wales and Scotland (reflecting an overall sample of under 100,000 premises). Northern Ireland has not yet been included.

As part of this, Openreach will market a special offer to consumers in the chosen FTTP areas – aimed at those who have yet to sign-up with the new service – via online social media and physical postcards. The trial offer involves a One4All multi-store gift card that is said to be worth £50, irrespective of your choice of ISP. Existing FTTP customers on their network won’t be able to apply, unless they’ve been without an active service for at least 60 days.

Crucially, this is currently just a trial, and we don’t yet know how the promotion might change in the future, or even if they’ll expand its availability. Openreach are already seeing decent take-up of around 34% and this may well help to incentivise further adoption, while at the same time helping them to compete with cheaper and faster rivals. But no doubt Altnet’s will be watching very closely for anything they might deem as the incumbent abusing its market position.

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