Villages and market towns spellbound by Openreach Ditch Witch 

Openreach has outlined plans to bring full fibre broadband to 227 market towns and villages across the UK, with building to commence within the next 14 months.

The portion of this build plan completed by March 2021 is within Openreach’s previously stated target to reach four million homes and businesses with full fibre technology March 2021. 

The plans build on cost busting village trials launched at the tail end of last year which saw engineers develop new tools, skills and techniques to help Openreach extend its full fibre network into areas previously considered too complex or expensive to upgrade. The tools include a diamond cutter, the Ditch Witch (or GeoRipper) and Ground Penetrating Radar. 

Openreach’s CEO Clive Selley said: “Our ambition is to reach 15 million premises by mid-2020s if right investment conditions are in place. Currently, the biggest missing piece of this puzzle is getting an exemption from business rates on building fibre cables which is critical for any fibre builder’s long-term investment case.”

On 31st March 2019, Openreach reported revenues of £5.1bn.

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