TODAY, Friday May 28, Openreach announced plans to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to at least three million more homes and businesses in some of the UK’s hardest to serve communities of which 415,000 will be in Wales.
This new figure is in addition to existing coverage or planned build from other Openreach programmes, Community Fibre Partnerships or funded programmes.
This move – which follows an extended investment commitment by the BT Group – means Openreach will now build Full Fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises by an earlier deadline of December 2026, of which at least 6.2 million will be built via our commercially funded programme that focuses on the toughest to reach locations.
This will create a total of 7,000 new jobs across Openreach and their supply chain, and this announcement means that recruitment is commencing immediately for the first 1,000 of these roles.
This will help accelerate the deployment of world class digital infrastructure across the UK. Since 2017, Openreach has announced 9,000 apprentice jobs.
Recently commissioned research from the Centre for Business and Economic Research (CEBR) shows that the national rollout can deliver up to £59 billion in GVA; also enabling more than one million to access or return to employment through flexible working – including those with caring or parenting responsibilities and older workers.
The national rollout can also help cut carbon emissions by reducing the need for commuter journeys and could see 500,000 people move out of densely populated areas. In effect boosting the economy of Wales by £1.3bn.
This updated build plan will be fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable broadband’ to 85 percent of UK by 2025.
It will also ensure that taxpayer subsidies can be focused on upgrading homes and businesses that the private sector won’t reach.
Ben Lake, MP for Ceredigion, welcomed the announcement and said: “This is promising news and an important step in bridging the digital divide in Wales.
“I look forward to meeting with Openreach officials next week to understand more about where, when and how these plans will be delivered across Ceredigion.”