Openreach has named Exeter in Devon as the latest UK city to benefit from its roll-out of ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband networks.
Exeter is the first new location to be added to the list of places in line to receive an FTTP – also known as full-fibre – roll-out since the original announcement of the Fibre First programme in February 2018.
It joins Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester in the first phase, which Openreach hopes will connect up to 40 urban areas with full-fibre.
As the scheme builds up a head of steam, Openreach has used several recent events, notably Connected Britain and a Westminster e-Forum seminar on fibre investment priorities, to claim that its roll-out is already passing 8,000 properties every week.
Exeter City Council lead for the economy and culture, Rachel Sutton, said: “This is fantastic news for Exeter. Piping ultrafast broadband straight into people’s homes will enable them to live better and enjoy technology to the full.”
Digital minister Margot James added: “We have worked hard to create the right environment to drive commercial investment in the deployment of full-fibre.
“Openreach’s Fibre First initiative is an ambitious programme – it’s brilliant that homes and businesses in Exeter will now have full-fibre, gigabit broadband delivered right to their doorstep.”
According to Openreach, over 96% of homes and businesses in Exeter can now connect to a broadband service capable of delivering download speeds of 24Mbps (the government definition of superfast broadband) or higher.
The government’s own data, which dates to May 2017, holds that 94.2% of households in the constituency of Exeter can receive services of over 30Mbps (Ofcom’s definition of superfast broadband), and pegs the average speed in the city at 58.2Mbps. It also notes that almost 10% of homes in Exeter already have access to FTTP.
“Through Fibre First, Openreach is getting on with the job of building an ultrafast Britain,” said Openreach chief executive Clive Selley. “We are building FTTP to three million premises across 40 towns and cities by 2020 and I am delighted to announce that Exeter will be among the first to benefit from this commitment.
“Since starting the Fibre First programme a few months ago, Openreach has built a footprint of nearly 70,000 across the eight cities we announced in our first wave.
“This sets us on course to hit our ambition of building 10 million FTTP by the mid-2020s and become the nationwide full-fibre provider. We will continue to invest and recruit in the southwest and across the UK to build the most capable, highly skilled national fibre delivery machine in the UK.”