Openreach taps STL as strategic partner to build UK 'Full Fibre' broadband network

May 5, 2021
Under the partnership, STL will be responsible for delivering millions of kilometers of optical fiber cable to support the network build over the next three years.

STL on Apr. 14 announced a strategic collaboration with Openreach, the UK's largest digital network business. Openreach says it has chosen STL as a key partner to provide optical cable solutions for its "new, ultra-fast, ultra-reliable 'Full Fibre' broadband network."

Under the partnership, STL will be responsible for delivering millions of kilometers of optical fiber cable to support the network build over the next three years. Openreach says it has plans to use STL's expertise and innovation to help accelerate its Full Fibre build program and drive efficiency.

This collaboration with Openreach strengthens a 14-year-old technology and supply relationship between the two companies, and further reinforces STL's commitment to the UK market.

The announcement comes as Openreach continues to ramp up the build rate for its Full Fibre broadband program – which aims to reach 20 million homes and businesses by the mid-to-late 2020s. Openreach says its engineers are now delivering faster, more reliable connectivity to another 42,000 homes and businesses every week, or the equivalent of a home every 15 seconds. 4.5 million premises can now order a gigabit capable Full Fibre broadband service from a range of competing service providers using Openreach's new network.

For the network build, Openreach plans to take advantage of STL's Opticonn solution – a specialized set of fiber, cable and interconnect offerings designed to drive significant performance improvements, including up to 30 percent faster installation, according to the company.

Openreach will also have access to STL's Celesta – a high-density optical fiber cable with a capacity of up to 6,912 optical fibers. According to STL, Celesta's compact design is 26 percent slimmer compared to traditional loose tube cables, allowing 2000 meters of cable to be installed in under an hour. The high density super-slim cable will also help minimize the use of plastic across Openreach's new network.

Kevin Murphy, MD for Fibre and Network Delivery at Openreach, said: "Our Full Fibre network build is going faster than ever. We need partners like STL on board to not only help sustain that momentum, but also to provide the skills and innovation to help us go even further. We know the network we're building can deliver a host of social and economic benefits – from boosting UK productivity to enabling more home working and fewer commuting trips – but we're also trying to make this one of the greenest network builds in the world. So, it's good to know that STL's compact and efficient designs will contribute to this in a significant way."

Commenting on the collaboration, Ankit Agarwal, CEO Connectivity Solutions Business, STL, said: "We are extremely excited to join hands with Openreach as a key optical solutions partner to build Full Fibre broadband networks for millions in the UK. Our customized, 5G-ready optical solutions are ideally suited for Openreach's future-proof network requirements and we believe they will enable next-gen digital experiences for homes and businesses across UK. This partnership will be a major step towards our mission of transforming billions of lives through digital networks."

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