VIDEO – Openreach and Zen Solve Complex FTTP Install with Drone UPDATE

Over the past few years’ we’ve covered a number of examples where Openreach (BT) have deployed teams of UK drone operators to help deploy their 1.8Gbps speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband network. But in today’s case, ISP Zen Internet has documented a rather unique home installation, where airborne drones came in handy.

Openreach first used a drone deployment to help install the fibre optic cable for a new FTTP network near Pontfadog in Mid-Wales in late 2017. A year later, the team used drones to fly a fibre cable across a river to reach a remote property in the Highlands of Scotland.

The use of drones has since become a strategic part of Openreach’s operations to navigate obstacles on more complex sites and is used as a time saving solution vs traditional methods, which might otherwise take days to complete. The latest such example comes from Zen Internet, where a collaboration with Openreach enabled them to run fibre in a new build home, which was perched on a complicated hill, using drones.

Traditional methods would have made solving this kind of installation very difficult and potentially much more expensive. But the use of a drone enabled the engineering team to manoeuvre the required cables over gardens, fences and nearby properties to eventually reach the new build site and connect the home to FTTP broadband. Check out the video below for a nice little summary.

UPDATE 11:04am

We’ve had it confirmed that the “customer” of the service is also Zen’s Key Account Manager, thus it’s unclear whether a regular customer in the same sort of situation could expect identical treatment.


Openreach informed us that when engineers come to such properties to assess the terrain/situation, a drone can be “regularly deemed as the best solution“. This would be procedure for such complex locations “no matter the type of customer“, which they say indicates no preferential treatment.

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