FTTP to reach half of UK homes in March: Ofcom

Feb. 20, 2023
Reaching 50% of homes in the UK represents a significant achievement, given that only 6% of homes had FTTP access five years ago, according to Ofcom’s figures. The FTTH Council Europe called the situation even bleaker as recently as 2019.

Fiber to the premises (FTTP) infrastructure will reach half of the homes in the UK at some point in March, according to Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's group director, network and communications. Fussell pointed to the benefits of competition as a catalyst that should lead to 80% of homes passed with “full fibre” within the next two years, in Ofcom’s estimation.

Reaching 50% of homes in the UK represents a significant achievement, given that only 6% of homes had FTTP access five years ago, according to Ofcom’s figures. The FTTH Council Europe called the situation even bleaker as recently as 2019, when its estimation of FTTP penetration in Europe stated that the UK had only just then surpassed 1.3% of homes passed (see “UK finally makes FTTH Council Europe top FTTH/B countries list”).

Fussell stated via a posting on Ofcom’s website that the rise of alternative broadband network operators (“altnets”) as competition for BT’s Openreach subsidiary has helped accelerate FTTP expansion. She wrote that the altnets should pass 11.5 million homes by the end of this year and their investment in further expansion should reach £17 billion ($20.47 billion) by 2025.

“When firms compete to build better networks, that leads to more investment and innovation,” wrote Fussell. “So Ofcom has set rules for the wholesale broadband market designed to boost competition, and ensure a level playing field among operators like Openreach, Virgin Media, and a range of smaller, ‘alternative’ network providers.

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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