back to article Openreach's cunning plan to 'turbocharge' the post-Brexit economy: Getting everyone on full-fibre broadband by 2025

BT's pipe laying subsidiary Openreach has published a list of proposals it claims will help Britain gain full fibre by the mid-2020s. Alongside its fibre blueprint, Openreach has published a report with the Centre for Economics & Business Research (CEBR), in which it estimates that connecting everyone to full fibre by 2025 …

  1. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Sounds like a

    sales pitch for redirecting HS2 money if (when?) it gets cancelled.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like a

      Most of that money is being used to finish off Crossrail. It should have been finished and opened to passenger service last December. HS2 was supposed to start work at the beginning of the year, costing the same amount per month that Crossrail did.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds like a

        >HS2 was supposed to start work at the beginning of the year, costing the same amount per month that Crossrail did.

        They have been flattening the land outside Birmingham - allegedly for the new Curzon St station - for about a year or so now, so the HS2 work has *started*

  2. ThomH Silver badge

    Standard very specific observation: BT still hasn't figured out how to get broadband into most of Rotherhithe — London, Zone 2 — above 3mbps, despite more than a decade of claiming they're going to do something about it any minute now. So, as if anybody hadn't guessed, spoiler: give them money or don't, either way BT will not succeed at getting everyone onto full-fibre broadband by 2025.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      For that matter, why should anyone give them money? They seem to be saying that going all fibre is a good thing that will revitalise the economy and make them more money on the back of that. If it's such a good idea, why aren't they just getting on with it instead of holding out the begging bowl?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "They seem to be saying that going all fibre is a good thing that will revitalise the economy and make them more money on the back of that."

        Even that proposition seems questionable. Whilst some business premises might have their productivity improved I fail to see how the unwanted upheaval of bringing fibre to my home would improve the economy by a single penny.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Everyone is in agreement full fibre would be great - question here is who will pay for it?

          Looks to me that BT simply want to know if they continue to invest the 10's Billions of pounds into the infrastructure required, they can assure thier shareholders of some profit. What tends to happen is BT invest and build a network only to be told by Ofcom they have to practically give it away to other companies who invest in nothing but fancy advertising!

          Other providers need to stop moaning and lobbying and start the more difficult and expensive job of laying fibre. The regulation has to be resolved or there is little point shareholders investing in this.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Still a few exchanges in Central London that have not been updated for fibre. Areas of W14, WC2, W1 and SE1 are still not covered. But BT think that 95% of us all have 54.2Mbps speeds now, as shown here. Perhaps they have been sniffing the Unicorn dung again.

    3. NeilPost Silver badge

      So feel free to jump ship to Virgin Media.

      ... or go for some 3Home Broadband, and cut the cable completely. If you are in Londonshire, you should be able to get 5G too.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    15,000,000 at 22,000 per week...

    Is 681 weeks. Assuming no lost weeks, that's 13 years. So, yes, they will need to go faster to make 2025 - nearly 7 times faster.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Great Plan (sic)

    Sadly, it has zero chance of happening.

    OpenRetch in its current form could not get anywhere near this target even by 2030.

    I'm sure their bean counters are working to that sort of timescale because of the really huge increase in their costs once the FTTP is installed.

    The Fibre Network attracts a very hefty rateable value over a POTS installation.

    That is a cost that isn't going to go away and will only ever increase.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Great Plan (sic)

      "That is a cost that isn't going to go away and will only ever increase."

      It's a cost that they've been trying to reduce and its inhibiting the FTTP roll-out is a club they're going to threaten government with as long as government maintains this in its ever-growing list of undeliverable promises.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Rateable value

        I was working with a group looking to set up a business to install fibre as an independent, not-for-profit ISP - the rateable charge per metre on the fibre would have been by far the biggest cost.

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Rateable value

          That does not surprise me.

          I recall a few years ago when the current rating system was imposed - it killed off a number of networks. Not just fibre, but radio as well. I know this, because at the time I was working for an IT services company and we had "limited time" to find alternative internet provision for some of our clients.

          AIUI, the problem is that the rateable value is based on what the infrastructure could potentially do if fully utilised. So in the case of the clients we were dealing with, the ISP was suddenly faced with radio towers that carried little traffic, but attracted rates based on them being used to capacity. At the time, there was much wailing of "but Openretch are being given an unfair advantage".

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Rateable value

            I'm not familiar with the current rating approach. Could you suggest any online resources that would help me better understand the existing rules and how they influence investment decisions?

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    As long as after all the copper has been replaced with fibre the ISP's don't increase everyone's broadband price to reflect the new superfast speeds you can now get from FTTP. For me I could already get faster speeds if I paid more than the £20 PM I currently pay, but I have not yet found a need to pay for anything faster and don't want to be strong armed into paying more for a service I don't need.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      I too pay £20 a month ( Vodafone ]; but until then getting 3mb at about the same price, it was vaguely irritating to frequently read the opinion of a broadband critic that basically almost everyone could get superspeeds in Britain, they just didn't want to pay for it.

      Just like hypothetically everyone can drive a Limited Edition Lamborghini up and down British roads if they like so long as they pay for it.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        As I've reiterated time and time again, "fibre" can legally mean "copper" - all they have to do is lay a fibre connection to a box and, legally, everyone connected to that box would be on full fibre ...

        That makes the earlier cynical posting of how long it would take seem more realistic if there are, on average 100 junctions per box ...

  6. batfink Silver badge

    Economic boost of £1700 per worker?

    Setting aside the fact that they don't tell us how long realising that benefit is supposed to take: whose arse have they pulled this figure out of?

    I wfh most of the time. Yes, this is saving my current employer on desk space, but tbf they were saving that money before I got the fibre link. So, no extra advantage over ADSL there. I now no longer travel to work, so that actively takes money away from the local public transport provider. As I'm not in the office, I don't spend money on coffees or lunches, thereby taking money away from the purveyors of those things. I am also no longer wont to stop for several alcoholic beverages with my colleagues on the way home, thereby taking money away from the hostelries.

    I can do what I need to do on a decent ADSL link. I have fibre because it's convenient, not because it brings extra income to my business.

    Anyone for any guesses where they see this benefit coming from? Or are they just saying "this has £1700 per worker of economic benefit because that's how much we at BT will charge for the rollout"?

    1. Nevermind

      Re: Economic boost of £1700 per worker?

      Yet, our local BT/Openretch sales gang tell me that I have to move to VOIP "now". For "only" £11 a month more than present...over the same sh1tty Cu/Alu interconnects. When asked "what about about FTTP on this estate?" I got....."No chance"

  7. fredj

    WTFF!

    Business may be. For my house, 1 TV a lot of the time and a couple of PCs; copper is very fine indeed. We get everything we want and at a good speed. (We are near an exchange and ARM's HQ so that may help.) Absoletly no need whatsoever for it.

    As an aside, some end user devices which don't continually update would be great. Yes I know why they do it but it is never ending and a huge time waster.

    1. short

      Yeah, you're fine. So there's no need for better broadband anywhere. I get it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        A lot of us are fine without it. That doesn't say that others won't benefit. But it does raise some doubts on where this magic boost to the economy is going to come from. I suspect there would be a lot more benefit in rolling out fibre to the more far-flung rural outposts* than in throwing the same money into replacing FTTC where it exists with FTTP.

        * That might be FTTC but given the dispersed nature of some rural areas FTTP or at least FTTEOTT (fibre to the end of the track) might be no more costly.

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          But it does raise some doubts on where this magic boost to the economy is going to come from.

          On top of that I have to ask what "change" brings about this benefit? Going from no BB at all to FTTP? Maybe. Going from ADSL to FTTP? Less so. Going from FTTC to FTTP? Much less so.

          The projected benefit in £££ is a work of fiction. At best it is wishful thinking; in reality "magic thinking" is closer to the mark

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Going from FTTC to FTTP? Much less so.

            Depends on your use-case. I have a 64/14 connection (on a good day - was 72/16 a couple of years ago).

            This is fine for most workloads, but very slow when uploading large (think system backups) to cloud data stores. Sure, most people don't do this right now, but I can see it becoming common practice in the not too distant future.

            As an example, it would be much easier if I could set my parents up to use cloud backups as they have no idea how to look after local backup storage. They currently have a 4/0.5 connection, so they'll just have to manage with "remote support" for now...

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Going from FTTC to FTTP? Much less so.

              Are they going to generate 1700quids worth of economic gains with that?

  8. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

    I can't help thinking shovelling this money into education would have more economic benefits than giving morons faster porn.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

      I always wanted to open a chain of Russ Meyer themed "world-cuisine" restaurants.

      Pasta, Fussycat. Dill! Dill!

      Supper Vixens.

      Mondo Tapas!

      Beyond the Valley of the Dahls.

      Pandora Pekings.

      The Immoral Mr Tea Shop.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Ah, Brexit again.

    To soften the blow, Boris has let the spin doctoring marketeers loose on it. Hence forth it shall be known as The Great British Break Off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah, Brexit again.

      This has naff-all to do with Brexit, other than Boris is seeking easy-wins to artificially boost economic growth at taxpayer's expense. The money would be better spent on supporting productive business development once we know what the new trading relationship with other nations will be.

      FTTC offers most of the benefit of FTTP more cost effectively. Competition from 4G/5G is already tempting users to switch from fixed line connections, because the speed they offer now is good enough (who needs to download an HD movie in 45s ?). Selling expensive FTTP connections to the public will likely flop in the face of the competition, which is why they want taxpayer subsidies. Whatever the outcome, China will likely profit from supplying us with vast quantities of fibre optic cables.

      The CEBR report (link not supplied) clearly wasn't commissioned for the UK taxpayer.

  10. cdrcat

    DisEconomic

    > Full fibre is a vehicle to turbocharge our economy

    Such bullshit. The exact same bullshit was said over in New Zealand: but the only measurable result is that we get better NetFlix - that is not something that should be paid for with tax money.

    I have high-tech software friends that have stayed on broadband.

    1. Knut Sack

      Re: DisEconomic

      Totally agree. The demand for fibre is driven by the media and advertising campaigns telling brain dead Joe Public that he needs extra speed so he can watch football in 4K without the kids kicking off about the Xbox lagging and his missus moaning she can’t stream on Facebook. With ever more technical video compression technologies we are getting more with less. It’s a bit like car engines. You don’t need a 2 litre engine anymore to give you more power than a 1 litre as the new 1 litre engines can blow it into the weeds.

  11. jon battle

    I see there's a proposal to encourage new-build residential homes to have FTTP built-in, and economic benefits are claimed. Surely there would be far more economic benefit from mandating all-electric heat-engine central heating systems in new-build homes? And across the whole country this would dramatically improve carbon footprint and give substantial job creation. Besides, we'd all be cozier in our homes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing that we all need more bandwidth, I'm just saying that if you're mandating policy for new-build homes, heat-engines would be #1 benefit and better fibre # >1.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Surely there would be far more economic benefit from mandating all-electric heat-engine central heating systems in new-build homes?

      Well yes, but... and it's a big but...

      Very few modern houses have a ground area (garden!) sufficient to be able to recover meaningful amounts of heat, i.e. "enough", and I cannot see a heat pump providing enough for a block of flats - ever.

      In practice there is more than one "but"...

      ISTR that the hardware needed for a heat recovery system is much bigger than a conventional boiler, meaning that house design will have to be changed to accommodate them, not that that is anywhere near impossible of course, but it makes using ground - source heat pumps rather impractical as replacements for existing boilers. On top of that IIRC obtaining 4 kW of heat requires 1 kW of energy input, so a not particularly large "boiler" (say 30 kW) is going to need 7.5 kW input, bringing us back to the question of whether or not there is enough electricity being generated to run it all; OK it's a lot less than using 30 kW of electricity to run a boiler "direct" but it has to come from somewhere.

      It's a nice idea but I think that it simply won't work as a means of obtaining "economic" benefit, although there might well be an environmental one.

      1. damiandixon

        Better insulation standards would bring down the heat generation capacity of a boiler.

        However builders keep lobbying against better build standards for insulation, energy saving and energy reduction.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "However builders keep lobbying against better build standards for insulation"

          That's interesting: Here in North they are lobbying *for* those. 5% more in to building cost and 10% more into selling price and blame the regulations.

          That's how easy it it.

      2. NeilPost Silver badge

        PassivHaus

        You’d be far better mandating house built to the PassivHaus standard. This new Council House scheme in Norwich a good example of doing it right.

        https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/oct/11/spacious-and-green-norwich-award-winning-new-council-houses-goldsmith-street

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      I think this is already in hand. Personally I wonder what the effects of this will be on ground water movements. Even just building houses seems to have effects on that here with some springs drying up and others appearing where they're not wanted (including through a retaining wall which was also the back wall of an outhouse). Drilling a deep hole for each house is going to have undesirable side effects somewhere.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Drilling a deep hole for each house is going to have undesirable side effects somewhere.

        If a large number of houses in a locality are all using ground - source heat pumps then the answer to your point might be "permafrost".

        I had a similar conversation with a one - time colleague over a convivial lunch and he reckoned the Japanese had tried something akin to this and the results had been less than satisfactory, but he couldn't remember any details. IIRC they had to stop it anyway.

        It's the sort of idea that needs a proper pilot project (not a "Desk - top Study"; IMHO that methodology was thoroughly discredited a couple of years ago) to see exactly what effects might emerge.

  12. deanb01

    2025? Hahahahahaha! No wait. Hahahahahahahahaha!!

    They've not managed to run FTTC to half the houses on our estate in South Manchester. As a result, I'm still on ADSL+

  13. The Basis of everything is...

    Why do I need Gigabit fiber at home?

    My head office runs on that quite happily apart from when we try lobbing 7Tb of test data at a cloud.

    Current sync speed of 30Mbit, with 20Mbit tested throughput is more than sufficient to run multiple conference tools, SSH & RDP sessions, remote admin tools etc and the kids can still be watching ceebeebies despite being QoS'd to background.

    I'm more concerned about the out-of-contral renewal tricks my ISP are trying to pull than line speed. That and running fibre through to my under-stairs comms rack is going to mean a bitch of a redecorating job...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Why do I need Gigabit fiber at home? "

    2ms lag is nice when you are trying to play something online. Difference to 14ms (which I get with VDSL) is significant. Gigabit is also only 100MB/s and that's not much if you are trying to take a backup to cloud.

    Also fiber is symmetric 1000/1000, not 70/10 like VDSL would. Significant when you try to upload something or are having any servers running.

    Bandwith comes to play when there are more than one user in the house using it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      VDSL here 80/20 7.5ms ping to first hop

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        But the speed of light in Fibre is 35% slower. Real gamers only use microwave links.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          pffft sub-space FTW!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Digital leader?

    "and the UK could lose its status as a global digital leader."

    The fuck? I see this guy has no connection to reality whatsoever, UK isn't "digital leader" even in EU, even less globally. So it can't lose that status either.

    1. sebbb

      Re: Digital leader?

      Considering that even in Italy, in every medium city (or province main city) you get FTTH 1000/300 for 30€ a month... the UK is by far no more the digital leader. And now with EU funds they're rolling it out also in rural areas, so soon even my parents will have better connectivity than me in London.

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Digital leader?

        So like the many Stories about Fibre and Gigabit Internet coming out of your ears in Taiwan, South Korea and now Italy, the evidence on average Internet speeds woefully does not support your assertions on availability/cost and take-up.

        Italy (17Mbit) is way down below the UK (34 Mbit) in average internet speeds, and Sweden which tops for Europe is little more that 50Mbit.

        https://www.atlasandboots.com/remote-jobs/countries-with-the-fastest-internet-in-the-world/

        1. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Digital leader?

          Whoops.... sorry UK 22Mbit, but still +5 on Italy.

        2. sebbb

          Re: Digital leader?

          That's because for now there is a very slow adoption rate. Contracts used to be 2 years in Italy, with some being even 4 years (48 months contract!) And the average speed is not helped by the fact that Italy, among all countries, has a population that is massively scattered across the land, not concentrated. Think that Rome (which is the largest city) is only about 3mln people.

          As for the pricing, well simply google one of the carriers, Tiscali, Vodafone, Fastweb, TIM... you can see the offers online. And the two infrastructure providers have coverage maps on their website, FlashFiber and OpenFiber (state owned).

  16. Screwed

    We have just got FTTP. Well, the fibre is in the duct ready to be hooked up.

    OpenReach installed fibre for the whole little bit of town (about 150 properties) and I now have to decide which ISP to go with. (Most already had OK ADSL or FTTC). At present, all the checkers, bar OpenReach's own, show the current reality - 4 Mbps over copper. So it is a case of waiting or contacting each of the small number of ISPs that re-flog FTTP. Will have to leave current ISP, PlusNet, as they don't do FTTP packages.

    I'd have been happy enough with decent copper, but current speed is dire.

    Why didn't we already have FTTC? Very much looks to me as if someone simply made a mistake and didn't add our little bit.

  17. AndyAQ

    Government driven

    It should just be pointed out that this is, I believe, government policy rather than a whim of OpenReach!

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Government Policy????

      not according to the speech delivered by the Queen today is isn't.

      As reported on the BBC the bill will say...

      The speech referenced a planned Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill that aims to "accelerate the delivery of fast, reliable and secure broadband networks to millions of homes".

      That seems to me to fall short of promising 100% coverage. Not surprising really.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        HOW MUCH???

        Probably somebody added up the cost of everything he'd been promising and showed it to him over the weekend.

  18. Charles Smith

    FTTP Obstacle removed

    The main obstacle for FTTP across the country has been removed and now works for Salesforce.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: FTTP Obstacle removed

      Money works for Salesforce? I suppose it does.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021