back to article Congratulations Peebles. Felicitations Queenzieburn. Openreach is bringing you FTTP (yes, they're real places)

Openreach has confirmed an intent to bring FTTP "full-fibre" connectivity to part of the so-called "final third" of the UK – representing rural and isolated areas typically underserved by network providers. The pipe laying arm of BT has highlighted 251 locations that will receive fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) upgrades. These …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I live in Watford. When's that coming my way? It's hardly a small, rural town.

    Last time I checked, even VDSL (FTTC if you're lucky) only got me something like 4 down and 2 up in my residential street (there's an awful lot of 4G wifi routers in the local airwaves!).

    Ofcom/BT say no FTTP for my entire street and surrounding areas, only VDSL.

    I wouldn't mind but I could hit the town centre with a rock if I threw it hard enough from an upstairs window.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Meanwhile in rural areas there'll be those who can only have ADSL. So where should they stand in the queue relative to those already with FTTC upgrading to FTTP?

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Go

      @AC

      BT has spoken about the "final third" of the UK, and would never mislead the public on the true extent of their FTTP rollout to cover up the fact that they don't want to make the required investment to actually bring FTTP to all of the UK. So obviously, you aren't in fact a British citizen! Perhaps Watford is actually part of one of those quaint European independent principalities or grand duchies! Kind of like Andorra or Monaco, but with worse weather.

      I would find out who your actual sovereign is, and take it up with them. Getting the proper royal audience probably involves protocol like approaching the throne while carrying a duck, and spinning in place while stating your petition.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Except of course that Openreach is planning to bring FTTP to virtually all of the UK. Target of 20 million, with 3 million already done, and other announcements like this one to tackle those places that would have been ignored.

        I know that it's impossible to hold a positive opinion of BT on this site, but it is clear that they've stopped worshipping copper and are finally moving things forward

    3. NeilPost Bronze badge

      If VDSL is only giving you 4 down, 2 up something is fundamentally wrong. I’d suggest you check again.

      What does Virgin Media give you as the primary competitor to anyone FTTC delivered by Openreach (BT, Sky, Vodafone etc).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There is no VM on my streets.

        That was the official number from BT (the only supplier, everyone else just resells the same connection).

        There's a reason myself and my neighbours use 4G!

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        A relative in rural Yorkshire managed to increase his 512k ADSL line speed to nearly 2M (on a good day) by moving to VDSL. If you're a long way from the nearest cabinet. VDSL is not a panacea.

      3. just another employee

        4 down sounds great!

        You need to get into the countryside more.

        We cancelled BT/Openreach as the best we could get was 0.25 down. No plans to upgrade, no options from other suppliers. Bt or nothing. They have no incentive to upgrade us - but they do have an incentive to upgrade those with better options from other suppliers.

        A lot of people forced now to work from home will be left behind - priority needs to be connecting those with sub 10Mb anf completely forget about any location that can but 10Mb+ (regardless of supplier).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 4 down sounds great!

          I'm in the countryside. I've had FTTC for most of the last decade and I connect at the full 80/20. The rest of the village was luckier, they got given FTTP.

          This most recent announcement from Openreach specifically targets places that do not have and are never likely to receive competition. I'm not in one of those places, probably for a future phase, but having seen the map of the nearby locations they're planning to get the fibre out to the very back of beyond (some of it is already in place)

          There is already a broadband universal service obligation for those who cannot get 10Mbit - but that may come with a cost.

  2. TheFurryCircle

    Final third eh? Great!

    (Checks postcode for availability)

    BT Openreach: We don't have any plans to upgrade your area right now, but tell us you're interested and we'll keep you up to date when things change.

    Sob...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Careful, BT Openreach are pretty deceptive about their FTTC Cabinets operating at capacity.

      "We don't have any plans to upgrade your area right now, but tell us you're interested and we'll keep you up to date when things change."

      BT Openreach checker deceptively displays this message even when there is already fibre FTTC availability in an area, when there is an issue with the FTTC cabinet, where the cabinet is operating at (sweated to) capacity and there is currently a Brezhnev soviet style waiting list in place.

      The idea seems to be to stop the non-technical complaining about them sweating their FTTC cabinets and Openreach/Ofcom having no contingency for situations like Covid-19, when everyone needed an FTTC connection asap as things switched to home working.

      I know of a cabinet locally, has displayed that message for nearly 4 months during lockdown due to lack of capacity.

      And of course, 95% of everything on Ofcom website, they spout about switching providers aka. Taking up fibre is utterly useless with no recourse, no compensation - until the cabinet's capacity is fixed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Careful, BT Openreach are pretty deceptive about their FTTC Cabinets operating at capacity.

        Wasn't the case when my cabinet was full - the checker would revert to the "we're bringing FTTC to you" message. Maybe the data isn't up to date for your area, but it's hardly a matter of "deception".

  3. Martin Summers Silver badge

    We are soon going to be in a position where the rural areas are going to be better served than cities and towns. Just because an area is well served by existing service providers, it doesn't mean those areas get good service or indeed much actual choice. I've had to swallow my pride and go with Virgin Media in my town to get more bandwidth. Everything else is Openreach. You'd think providers would want to keep things even across the board and have some easy pickings. It now seems to be going too far the other way focusing on sparsely inhabited population areas bringing benefits of newer technologies to fewer people. I wish companies like City Fibre would set up in my town and give the incumbents a run for their money.

    I wonder if we will see a reversal of the "You chose to live there" argument when it comes to comments regarding broadband. Strange times.

  4. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Finally, they're taking this seriously. Openreach are realising that gigabit connectivity (or at least the possibility of gigabit) is important for the economy. Not just important, but of paramount importance.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      They've known for a long time. But because they are a part of that economy they have to be able to turn a profit. Market conditions still suggest only a weak demand for high-speed internet connections. Most people don't order the fastest service available to them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        which is why the bigger picture is about the prospect of closing exchanges and abandoning copper - presumably these newly announced places will be first on the list, as Openreach seem intent on delivering FTTP to all premises in those exchange areas.

        The bonus is that those who want or need faster connections can then do so without resorting to a cripplingly expensive and overkill leased line

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      More like BT couldn't be arsed to pony up the cash for rural rollout because it would impact their profits and shareholder value, so the taxpayer, again, has to cough up 5 billion to make it happen.

      And of course all that £5Bn will go toward rural rollout. All of it. No? Yeah. Thought not.

      Expect further boosts to shareholders and executive bonuses, while the actual rollout is far less expansive and takes far longer than expected. Then BT will rattle the can for another £5Bn because the last one clearly wasn't enough to get the job done.

      Thieving bunch of self-serving cunts.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Are we to assume your view of Openreach stretches to a lack of Vodafone (City Fibre, C & W businesses) and Virgin Media not delivering any infrastructure to you too.

        Ohhh please .... don’t forget O2, Three, EE and Vodafone for lack of mobile infrastructure for you too. When is 5G coming to the sticks ??

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This isn't a taxpayer funded rollout. Ofcom have agreed to change the pricing model that Openreach has to adhere to (on the assumption that Openreach are likely to be the only option - no one else is going to bother), which improves the business case for doing these places

        They've already done 3 million homes (much of which without subsidy) and are committed to get that up to 20 million, even before the government dangles any cash in front of anyone who wants to bid for it.

        But don't let the facts get in the way of a cliched snarky anti-BT post.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Somebody who answers his own rhetorical questions is never going to let facts get in his way.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      And for those who doubt what I say, this from the latest VM figures:

      Virgin Media M100 38.7% of speed tests Median speeds 28.3 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up

      Virgin Media M200 48.9% of speed tests Median speeds 108.5 Mbps down and 10.3 Mbps up

      Virgin Media M350 11.8% of speed tests Median speeds 185.2 Mbps down and 32.4 Mbps up

      Virgin Media M500 0.6% of speed tests Median speeds 387.9 Mbps down and 35.6 Mbps up

      Virgin Media Gig1 <0.01% of speed tests Median speeds 387.9 Mbps down and 35.6 Mbps up

      So most of their customers are happy on the lower tier packages. Over a third are happy on the lowest tier. Also worth noting that VM periodically closes the bottom tier and upgrades customers for free. Also worth noting that apparently only a third of people who can get cable choose to do so. Two thirds either don't want a fixed line or else are happy with what BT can offer.

      FTTP is needed for future proofing not to satisfy demand.

  5. G R Goslin

    Well. I've got FTTP, so there

    Oddly, I live in a very small village, in North Wales. We got fttp only a year or so back. However, we only got it because our cabinet was so far behind the times that it could not have fttc installed. As it was, it took six rears from the exchange being enabled, before the village enjoyed the benefits. Looking around, it seems that I'm the only one to grasp the offering when it finally came. Most are still hanging on to their copper connections. And, boy, aren't they bad.

    1. Nifty Bronze badge

      Re: Well. I've got FTTP, so there

      And you're the *only* FTTP in the village

    2. Captain Hogwash
      Gimp

      Re: six rears

      Hmmm.

    3. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Well. I've got FTTP, so there

      “six rears”, eh?

      The entire village lined up and mooned the BT exchange?

      I suppose it beats dwile-flonking as a way to pass the long summer evenings...

    4. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Well. I've got FTTP, so there

      ... and you wonder why Openreach done want to waste money. Delivering FTTP to Wales-sticks for the only guy in the village to have it is a fundamental waste of money.

      Assuming you do not have a personal Tesco Extra next door and also mains gas.

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Trollface

    I read that as Queeniesbum, and thought someone was taking a biiigggg risk when they named their Village that!

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      lglethal: I read that as Queeniesbum, and thought someone was taking a biiigggg risk when they named their Village that!

      Miranda Richardson as Queeny? "Cross my heart and hope to be spanked until my bottom goes purple" (you have to, of course, read it in the voice of Evil Prince Ludwig)

    2. HildyJ Silver badge
      Angel

      Nothing like the risk of Pennsylvania towns like Blue Ball and Intercourse.

  7. Must contain letters

    shambles and deceptive

    Well, I live in rural(ish) Dorset, and the frustrating thing is my neigbour had FTTP put in last year, but I'm not able ot get it. same road, gardens next to each other, and the muppet installers wouldn't even extend the trench by 1 foot to reach my land. grrr.

    1. Screwed

      Re: shambles and deceptive

      Can you not come to an agreement with someone and connect through their connection? There are some pretty good line-of-sight extenders available.

      Until just before last Christmas, we had appalling broadband, despite near-neighbours having FTTC. I mapped available connectivity and it made no sense whatsoever. A patchwork of individual properties varying from pretty good FTTC through "average" ADSL to so bad they have to apologise. Despite the 100+ properties all being reasonably recent and having good, well-installed ducting throughout. I strongly suspect some mistakes in the original installation.

      Openreach decided to provide FTTP to everyone - in the sense of making it available. Sometimes looks as if they have a team permanently here upgrading property after property.

      The decent upload speed has made a huge difference.

  8. Gavin Park Weir

    Some sort of bond

    Funding fibre to urban or rural areas is expensive, take up varies enormously and so telcos (OR etc) sensibly try to deliver where they get a return or subsidy.

    There should be a system where you as a resident or business can provide that subsidy in return for share of the profits as more people take up the service.

    We got FTTP to 50% our rural village after 6 years of working with Hampshire CC and OR. The other have 50% of the village had FTTC delivered as part of the Hants program. The FTTP 50% of the village has to raise a significant sum (£25k) to fund share the infrastructure. In the end Hants returned our money as the take up of Superfast was higher across Hants than expected and so OR gave them some money back.

    Some sort of bond where local funding lowers risks for the telcos and provides a long term return for those who can / will provide the upfront funding would make sense and drive community engagement.

    1. Nifty Bronze badge

      Re: Some sort of bond

      Yup, and by all rights rural properties shouldn't have running water or mains electricity either, if you follow that line of reasoning.

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    Airband

    Soon as my ADSL contract is up, I'm switching.

    For people in the countryside see if you can get it.

    https://home.airband.co.uk/coverage/

    Mine estimates 40mb down / 10mb up

  10. Lost in Cyberspace

    Some places get everything...

    ... most seem to get nothing.

    The nearest places to me getting full fibre seem to be the ones that already have Virgin, got 4G early and are getting 5G this year.

    Perhaps it's the infrastructure or population density, but the sceptic in me suggests that Openreach are going for market share.

    Meanwhile, many places will be stuck on ADSL / VDSL and poorer mobile coverage for a lot longer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some places get everything...

      This announcement is specifically about targeting places that don't have or will likely never have any of the "alt nets" that are being built. In Ofcom speak this is what they call "area 3". The Openreach map makes clear that they aren't targeting major urban areas with this rollout.

      There is a parallel "fibre first" rollout which is where they obsess over cities.

      ADSL is very much on the way out, some ISPs won't even show it as an option if you can get VDSL or FTTP.

    2. Screwed

      Re: Some places get everything...

      It was painful moving from an area with decent BT, Virgin, 4G and other options to one with an almost unusably slow single BT option.

      I'd very much appreciate if Ofcom and anyone else in a position to influence the market to push hard to fill in the gaps - whether 3G, 4G, wired, cabled or whatever else - before allowing some areas to get yet another option.

      For example, in my area, we very often have absolutely no signal whatsoever when out and about. Despite lots of visitors and much potential to need emergency services.

  11. Kevster

    Yet more claptrap

    Yet more bullshit from Offcom

    Whilst great or the places that get it there is still woeful speeds everywhere. I live in the Forest of Dean where all of the exchanges have been converted to FTTC and some areas even have FTTP by Gigaclear (1gb to prem!)

    However if you premise happens to be 'direct connection' to the Exchange as you are away from a cabinet you are SOOL. I get 6mb down at best and its awful. Even trying to use the new Ofcom supported USO, Openreach came back with a quote of 100K to convert the line. The local broadband/council quango messed about for years and eventually fobbed me off.

    It's easier to move house....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet more claptrap

      The very vast majority have had a speed improvement from the rural broadband programmes to date, so perhaps a little unfair to say that there are problems "everywhere" simply because there are problems for you.

      There is a solution for those EO lines - they either go straight to FTTP, or Openreach has fitted a cabinet (either a normal copper cab or one with the FTTC equipment built in) to allow it to go to FTTC.

      Some councils are better than others at least. Cornwall did a very good job, both on the percentage of Openreach FTTP and on solutions for those in the EO bucket.

      Are you supposed to be covered by Gigaclear? Maybe this is why Openreach are showing little interest...

      1. just another employee

        Re: Yet more claptrap

        Anyone on a Direct Exchange line is srewed. BT would need to re-cable/fire to your individual property (in a lot of cases - such an mine) and they couldn;t be arsed to do that if you also have no competition to take your business to.

        BT/Openreach should be PAYING for my custom UNTIL they provide >10MBs (OfCom's own estimate of minimim viable speed required to partake in modern economy) OR there is an alternative provider willing to deliver.

        As it is I have ONE choice - £29 per month for an at-best 0.5MB download. No planned update. No alternatives possible.

        I do get FREE access to sky sports though (minimum 2Mb required). Gggrrrr.

        EASYMONEY. NO INCENTIVE.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yet more claptrap

          That's not true. Like I said, there are two ways to sort out EO ("exchange only") lines. The FTTC approach doesn't need a "recable", they just cut into the existing trunk line and run it via a new cabinet. My grandparents lived in a tiny hamlet, everyone was on EO lines - and considering the length it must have been good quality to get 6Mbit ADSL.

          They stuck an combined copper and FTTC cab at the end of the road, plumbed into the existing trunk line. Sadly they weren't in a position to benefit from it, but the person who bought their house certainly can. Obviously, competition isn't a factor - they can't even get a mobile signal!

          There's a road between that hamlet and the larger village. They were luckier, upgraded straight to FTTP. The village itself has FTTC (and amusingly, one cabinet was given G.fast)

      2. Kevster

        Re: Yet more claptrap

        Nope. No Gigaclear in my area. We also get no mobile reception from any carriers at my house as I beleive they try to provide USO via 4g...

        Most have it locally. Nearest cab is about 1500metres away. So VDSL speed shows lower than ADSL

  12. Eclectic Man

    Peebles, fine, but ...

    when are Cold Slad, Birdlip, Gweek and Cow Roast getting FTTP?*

    (Actually, as I don't live in any of those places, they may already have FTTP, I just thought that I'd not have the opportunity to refer to these fine places again.)

  13. Katy_B

    yipee

    I live and work in the W1 postcode in London. Yup, London's properous business heart, with its Mayfair hedge funds and all that. Pretty much the 'first third' by anyone's measure. In fact, I live next door but one to our telephone exchange, so close it explains why I can get a staggering 12Mbps download speeds. Prospects for BT fibre in ANY form? Zero. Sure, I can get my own leased line for £400 a month but that's a tad expensive.

    Actually, I moved on from a G4 service from Relish (70Mbps) to the Hyperoptic FTTP that the building management sensibly allowed them to install (247 Mbps for £20 a month). but BT/Openreach - WTF??

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: yipee

      Can I clarify that? You get 12Mb download but think you should be in the queue for an upgrade ahead of someone at the end of a 2 mile ADSL line. It isn't worth £400 a month to you but you think that BT should give it to you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: yipee

      Because London isn't the be all and end all.

      Perversely, rural areas may turn out to have a better business case as Openreach isn't likely to face competition. Like you've said yourself, the likes of Hyperoptic will try to swoop in with a cheap offer and get the landlords / building management on their side, and make it difficult for others to come in even if they wanted to.

      In smaller towns and rural areas, they can do everything themselves and the only permission they will need is from the end user. Additionally, they'll have much less red tape and the local councils will be far more appreciative

      Those "Mayfair hedge funds" and other "prosperous businesses" don't need consumer grade FTTP - they can have pretty much anything they want, from the umpteen companies who have already dug up every street in Central London. Including Openreach

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