Openreach aspires to provide up to 15 million fibre to the home connections by the mid-2020s

The UK’s incumbent broadband network provider, Openreach, is to launch a series of trials to test a new range of tools and techniques that will help them revolutionise connectivity in Britain’s rural communities.

Openreach will experiment with a range of tools and tech as it works to upgrade connectivity in 13 UK rural communities, according to a company release.  

"At Openreach, we’ll never be just a city fibre provider. We’ve always worked hard to improve connections to isolated, less commercially attractive communities through inventive engineering and effective funding partnership models," said Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach.

“In recent years we’ve been extending our full fibre network into rural areas – mostly in partnership with local authorities and Government – but the economics are clearly challenging and we want to do more. We know that around 10 per cent of the country will need to the support of public subsidy, but these trials will help us test a bunch of new techniques that could help us in other rural areas.

“The trials will also give us a much clearer picture of what the technical challenges in these kinds of rural areas are. We hope they’ll go a long way towards developing the tools, skills and innovations required to make sure that nobody’s left behind in the full fibre future.”

Openreach engineers will lay fibre to upgrade 50,000 homes and businesses in villages and market towns stretching from Scotland to the south of England.

The communities to benefit form the latest round of fibre deployments are: Cranfield, West Calder, Flockton, Hesketh Bank, Kentford, Lingfield, Lundin Links, Mickle Trafford, Okehampton, Ottery St Mary, Parbold, Seal and Tarporley.

Openreach has committed to provide an additional 4 million fibre to the home connections by the end of 2021 and is currently connecting new properties to its full fibre networks at the rate of around 22,000 per week.  

Also in the news

Vodafone shares unused 4G spectrum to help improve rural connectivity 

Openreach lays out its plans for a fully connected Britain 

UK govt pledges £5bn to fast track fiibre rollout