Openreach has launched a consultation on the expansion of full-fibre broadband to 10 million homes by 2025.
“Full fibre” is distinct from “fibre” because the network is made exclusively of fibre-optics, rather than the unholy union of fibre and copper cables most of us pay for.
The move comes after Openreach, which runs the UK’s fibre network, legally split from BT earlier this year over competition concerns.
While Openreach was part of BT, it promised to provide two million full fibre connections by 2020. But it always said that a widespread rollout would be too expensive.
Now, however, the firm claims to have come up with a more cost effective way of delivering the connections.
Clive Selley, Openreach’s CEO, said in a statement: “By using new techniques, we recently halved the cost of delivering ‘full fibre’ infrastructure, but building a large-scale network is still a huge commercial, technical and logistical challenge that’s going to need real ingenuity, flexibility and coordination across government and industry.
“With the right conditions we believe we could make FTTP available to as many as 10 million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s, but we need to understand if there’s sufficient demand to justify the roll-out, and support for the enablers needed to build a viable business case.
“That includes removing barriers to investment and incentivising those, like Openreach, who are prepared to take a commercial risk.”
Selley said he wanted to work more closely with communications providers, government and Ofcom to build a bigger full fibre network.