The decision marks a step away from reliance on Huawei equipment for the UK’s largest broadband networks

Openreach has goals of expanding its full fibre network to reach 20 million homes and businesses by the mid- to late-2020s, recently proposing an investment of £12 billion towards the project.

Now, a new supplier agreement with Nokia will see Openreach make use the company’s GPON and XGS-PON-based fibre access technologies, reportedly making speeds of 10 Gbps available at some point in the future.

This new technology will complement Openreach’s existing technology, which is primarily provided by Chinese giant Huawei.

“We’re accelerating our full fibre build to deliver an ultrafast, ultra-reliable and futureproof broadband network throughout the UK. This new digital platform will help our economy to bounce back more quickly from the Covid-19 pandemic – enabling people to continue work from home, and millions of businesses to operate seamlessly online for decades to come,” explained Openreach’s CEO Clive Selley.

“Right now, we’re making the new network available to around 32,000 homes and businesses every week, and Nokia’s innovative solutions are helping us to build it better, broader and faster. Our partnership with Nokia will be critical in helping us to upgrade the nation and hit our target of reaching four and a half million premises by the end of March 2021.”

The decision to choose Nokia may be partially influenced by the UK’s decision to limit Huawei’s role in national 5G infrastructure back in January, with the Chinese company still coming under fire from a number of MPs and other public figures in recent months. 

However, this need not necessarily be the case, with Openreach appearing to be widening its equipment base in a more general sense; they recently partnered with ADTRAN to use the latter’s software-defined Fibre Access Platform in their broadband deployments. 

The new partnership with Nokia will reportedly give Openreach the ability to reach 4.5 million premises by the end of March 2021.

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