Openreach commits to Area 3 full fibre build

Openreach is to embark on a three year full fibre broadband build in the hardest to reach ‘final third’ of the UK, defined by Ofcom as Geographic Area 3, without taxpayer subsidy.

Area 3 signifies a geographic market comprising postcode sectors where there is unlikely to be material commercial deployment by rival networks.

In January 2020, Ofcom proposed having cost-based prices for using a regulatory asset base (RAB) approach which would allow BT to recover fibre network investments over all customers, fibre-based and copper-based, in Area 3.

Ofcom estimates that there are 9.6 million homes and businesses in Area 3, and the project includes 251 market towns and villages.
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: "It’s Ofcom’s proposals that give us the right conditions to build commercially in hardest to reach areas.
“And we hope that by publishing our own plans we can help ensure that taxpayers only fund connections in communities that really need public support.

“We’re determined to find inventive engineering solutions and effective partnership funding models to reduce costs and enable us to connect as many communities as possible across the UK without public subsidy."

Oliver Dowden, Digital Secretary, added: "This is a significant step forward, with Openreach delivering better broadband so 3.2 million families and businesses can work and enjoy faster speeds."


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