back to article Give me a (tax) break: UK broadband plumber Openreach to almost double the number of rural premises to receive FTTP

BT-owned Openreach threw rural Britain a bone today, announcing it would double the number of country premises expected to receive FTTP access by the end of 2026. The pipe layer committed to connect over 6.2 million homes and businesses in rural and semi-rural locations to its gigabit-capable full-fibre network. Openreach had …

  1. Mishak Silver badge

    It's hard to say this...

    but I'm actually impressed with how they're finally moving things along.

    Rural area here that's recently had FTTP installed as part of a trial and has April 2022 set a cut-off for copper services.

    Placed an order through Zen on the 24th as I had been told it would take 4 to 6 weeks to get connected. A day later I was given an activation date of 3rd June and a couple of Openreach guys turned up to pull the fibre in ready for the installation team.

    The only very minor issue is that an FTTP order doesn't currently automatically cancel an existing connection with a different provider - I've had to move from Plusnet as they don't currently sell FTTP (and the sales guy made sure to note that on my account records, so I think the sales team aren't happy)!

    My parents are in rural Scotland and also now have FTTP - after being stuck on a 3.5 Mbps ADSL2+ service for I don't know how long.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: It's hard to say this...

      "but I'm actually impressed with how they're finally moving things along."

      Starlink is jollying things along nicely isn't it?

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: It's hard to say this...

      Meanwhile, just outside a MAJOR town inside the M25, literally a stone's throw from the huge town centre, surrounded by big posh houses and a main road, I gave up trying to get a landline and just bought a 4G stick and an unlimited data contract instead.

      Not only is it cheaper to run each month, there's no contract, no install costs, and I can chop and change SIMs as much as I like if I'm unhappy. Oh, and it doesn't charge £160 + VAT which BT want to charge me to activate a landline, and they will only guarantee 4Mbps down, 1Mbps up (WHAT?! This is the 2020's!). My 4G gets 50 down and about 30 up consistently throughout the entire day including peak periods and I know that's just the local 4G because 5 minutes down the road in work the same SIM in the same device gets way more.

      I know that some of the rollout is focusing on getting people SOMETHING while other parts are focused on improving what's there, but it's ridiculous in 2021 to be giving those kinds of prices and speeds when a wireless 4G connection outclasses it in every respect.

      Meanwhile my parents on the other side of London, again in the middle of a HUGE town, their "wifi" (as they call it) is so terrible that I literally cannot log into a gaming service (e.g. Steam or Epic) because it just times out and throws you out of the game. They do not have a filter of any kind, the connection is just atrocious and they're paying quite a lot for it. Stuck my phone on 4G, hotspotted to it over wifi, got a better and more reliable connection instantly, played online for hours.

      There needs to be a moving minimum standard, whether that's 8, 24, 100Mbps or whatever. It needs to evolve every year (so now the minimum is 115 or whatever), and they need to be judged on their compliance with it regularly. They know if the line is syncing at 10 or 12 Mbps, they don't need us to report it or independent companies to have to run apps and test boxes. And they only get their "subsidy" for any customer who is getting the minimum. And then set a ratio on "real world" versus line rate so they can't fudge the numbers.

      And it has to be stated that every year, say, a 1% greater percentage of their customers must attain that target, including at least X% of new customers that had no connection before. This year 90%. Next year 91%. Next year 92%.

      And then they wouldn't be able to "drop" people who technically have FTTC or whatever down to nothing shortly after installed, they'd have to keep improving the speed even after install, while wiring up those with nothing, etc.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Nope - it just stops corporates delaying spending until the increase in corporation tax.

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        130% off means not only they are not paying the cost, they get 30% more of the cost as payment by the government.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          130% means they get to claim 130% of the cost as an expense in their tax return.

          For example, if their income was £200, they spent £100 on fibre installation, and there were no other expenses:

          Normally their profit would be £100, and they would have a tax bill of £19. Profit after tax would be £81.

          With the superdeduction, their taxable profit would be £70, and they would have a tax bill of £13.30. Profit after tax would be £86.70.

  3. mark4155

    Fuck that!

    I'm on Collyhurst Exchange (Manchester) line length approx. 1400 Metres.

    The cabinet we are served from has NO fibre (FTTC) we get 7mb down and 1mb up.

    So go fuck yourself Openreach. Just cos we live in a poor area of Manchester should not exclude us from better connectivity, if you live in a rural setting then good for you.

    Yours, fumingly, Mark.

    PS I'm Ex Openreach (CALOMI) so I know what divisive and opportunist bastards OR (Openreach) can be.

    Rant over.

    Toodle Pip.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuck that!

      You have an EOL (exchange only line) I imagine.

      Aren't Openreach prevented from offering FTTC, as there is no cabinet? Or is it just OR being awkward?

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Fuck that!

        eol is a pig, when I lived in penrith I had an EOL. luckily penrith became a test ground for new technology so I eneded up with adsl max before other people.

        now im in the sticks it is fttc at least.

  4. AW-S

    FTTP v HS2

    In a statement, Openreach CEO Clive Selley described the FTTP upgrade project as “second only to HS2 in terms of investment.”

    FTTP is 10 times better than HS2, for society as a whole.

    1. N2

      Re: FTTP v HS2

      Agreed, HS2 is just a project that will butcher vast swathes of the countryside in some insane idea that it will be a 'good thing' to travel between Birmingham and London 15 minutes quicker.

      Spending the money on, to be honest virtually anything else would be of greater benefit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FTTP v HS2

        " [...] virtually anything else would be of greater benefit."

        Except the vanity project of a new Royal yacht.

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: FTTP v HS2

        Agreed, HS2 is just a project that will butcher vast swathes of the countryside in some insane idea that it will be a 'good thing' to travel between Birmingham and London 15 minutes quicker.

        Go on, now do the proposed Lower Thames Crossing.

        Higher £/mile cost than HS2 and somehow manages to destroy as much ancient woodland in 18miles than HS2 does in 320.

        Packham et al seem curiously silent on the matter though. Weird what a lucrative contract with a car company will do to one's priorities (to be fair, he also jets in from his chateau in France to do <Season>Watch and sells birding holidays in Africa. Air travel is fine right?).

      3. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: FTTP v HS2

        HS2 is *not* about speed. It is about capacity. It frees up the 4-track line between Euston and Birmingham to run more local services and freight by shifting the super-fast trains (the ones Virgin, and now Avanti, run non-stop Euston to Birmingham and beyond) off the line onto the new one. That this comes with 'improved' speed is a net benefit.

        Don't start with the "oh, but why don't they just extend the 4-track line to 6 tracks" argument - It is *way* more expensive and disruptive to do that than it is to build a new line. Yes, the line cuts through the Cotswolds, but that's partially because the M1 corridor is also immensely built up, whereas the M40 corridor is less so.

        Given the London-to-Birmingham infrastructure is almost Victorian in nature, investing into a new, modern backbone à la France's Lignes à Grande Vitesse or the Shinkansen lines in Japan, is arguably the best thing to happen in terms of infrastructure. It will serve the country well into the next century.

    2. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: FTTP v HS2

      In a statement, Openreach CEO Clive Selley described the FTTP upgrade project as “second only to HS2 in terms of investment.”

      FTTP is 10 times better than HS2, for society as a whole.

      Rather an apples-to-oranges comparison.

      FTTP is of very little benefit except in rural areas where people are still struggling on 3.5Mb or as necessary backhaul for large multi-tenant buildings, which is really FTTC but the building warrants it's own "cabinet".

      In urban areas, few will notice the increase from 35/70Mb (or 300+ with Vermin & G.Fast) to Gb. You can already pack multiple 4K streams into a 70Mb line. Obviously FTTP would future-proof against 8K VR streams or whatever the Next Big ThingTM is, and of course extensive WFH has pushed residential lines to hitherto unforeseen limits. But it's very much a nice-to-have for everyone other than those enthusiasts who want to host services in their garage (for which a static IP and absence of CGNAT is as - if not more - important than raw speeds). This discounts oddities like EOLs which also need sorting out.

      HS2 by contrast is of enormous value to urban areas like Stoke-on-Trent which have in excess of 10 rail stations, of which the majority are mothballed because you'd get a 125mph Pendolino up your jacksie if you actually tried to stop a local service at them.

      In Stoke in particular, given that certain major amenities like the College (enrolment ~17,000 students - more than a lot of universities!) are located right next to rail stations, the reduction in Inter-City Express Services will allow a new generation of regional and local rail services which will take huge amounts of traffic off the road (with the attendant requirement to give over acres to parking - a blight on many urban areas).

      As any fule knows, ending the inefficient running of mixed-speed services (<70mph freight & local services and >100mph ICE trains) on the same lines is the underlying reason for building HS2 (because we've all read the underlying study and command paper right? None of us is being suckered in by politicians blustering on about 200mph trains or saving half-an-hour on London-Birmingham?).

      There may additionally be some benefit to rural communities if they can get local stations reopened as stops on regional services, ending the requirement to have a car to get literally anywhere or do literally anything outside of major conurbations, which is a significant contributor to transport poverty.

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: FTTP v HS2

        Hear hear... someone who actually read up on HS2, not just swallowed the codswallop that certain parties (both political and otherwise) have been putting out, hook, line and sinker.

  5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    “second only to HS2 in terms of..."

    Not the best way to start a sentence that is aimed to convey optimism.

  6. Eclectic Man Silver badge


    "Known as “Area 3,” these towns included Blyth in the North East, Ballymoney in Northern Ireland, Llandudno in North Wales, and Peebles in Scotland.

    The additional premises announced today will be clustered in similarly hard-to-reach and underserved regions.

    These include Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, Cardigan in Wales, Keswick in Cumbria and Allhallows in Kent."

    The last time I was in Keswick, Cumbria, (a few years ago now, admittedly), just getting a mobile signal was well-nigh impossible. FTTP to my hotel will be nice. I cannot help feeling, however, that this will seriously skew house prices in those areas where the 'haves' will be so much better served than the 'have nots'. Still this is much better than nothing, so hopefully a step on the way to full UK FTTP.

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