BT’s Openreach adds 500K more locations to fiber build plan

BT subsidiary Openreach is chugging along on its quest to deliver fiber broadband to 25 million locations across the U.K. by the end of 2026, passing a whopping 50,000 new homes and businesses each week. Things are going so swimmingly that the company just announced plans to tack on an additional half-million locations to its already ambitious target.

In an update, Openreach said the new locations will be scattered across 36 rural and urban markets, including Accrington, Boldon, Dudley, Hornchurch, Kemptown, Manningham and West Houghton. All told, its build plan now includes more than 2,700 towns, the company said.

Openreach has already deployed fiber to more than seven million locations, or more than a quarter of its target footprint. Company CEO Clive Selley noted in a statement it took Openreach eight years to reach its first million premises, “but only four months to pass our latest million.”

He added Openreach is “going further and faster than all our competitors put together, and we’re still getting faster and building further every week, every quarter.”

To date, over 1.5 million customers have connected to the network and the company is taking around 35,000 new orders each week. The company previously sought to boost adoption further by offering a wholesale discount for other ISPs looking to use its network. It said 40 providers, including parent BT, TalkTalk and Vodafone, have now signed on.

As uptake of its fiber network continues to grow, Openreach said it plans to stop selling legacy phone services to premises where its new technology is available. Thus far, it has provided 12-month advanced notice of the move to 600 phone exchanges covering around five million premises.

“The shift from copper to fiber will be every bit as significant as the move from analogue to digital and black and white tv to color,” Selley said. “By eventually retiring analogue phone lines, we will be creating a simplified network which allows us to meet the enhanced needs of an increasingly digital society.”