We were delighted to catch up with Openreach’s MD Corporate Affairs & Brand, Catherine Colloms, at this year’s Connected Britain event to learn more about successes and challenges of the UK’s largest fibre rollout

The UK is currently undergoing a fibre transformation, making gigabit-capable broadband at a rate higher than anywhere else in Europe. But while incredible progress has been made in the past few years, there is still a long way to go, especially when it comes to reaching the more rural areas of the UK.

As the UK’s largest fibre provider, Openreach is at the heart of the UK’s connectivity evolution and is set to play a crucial role in meeting government targets aimed at levelling up the country. 

“We’re going to get to about 25 million premises by 2026 and that effectively underpins the government’s 85% gigabit broadband challenge by 2025,” explained Colloms. “So, what we’re really aiming for is to upgrade the UK’s infrastructure. We need people to be on the best, fastest, most reliable broadband – which, of course, is full fibre.”

You can watch our full interview with Catherine Colloms from the link above. 

Last year, Openreach deployed gigabit-capable fibre to 2 million premises across the UK and the deployment strategy is even more ambitious in 2021, seeking to double the previous year’s gains to 4 million premises. 

Over the next 12 months, Openreach’s priorities could not be clearer, with Collom’s describing their strategy as “build, build, and more build”. But rolling out infrastructure at such a scale is no easy feat and there remain significant challenges for Openreach, particularly when it comes to things like access to multi-dwelling units.

“We really need to see some of the enablers that government have promised. We have over 6 million multi-dwelling units in the UK and we estimate that we can’t get into 25% of them at the moment,” said Colloms. “We really need legislation to move forward on wayleaves.”


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