Openreach trumped by smaller players with twice as many fibre broadband connections

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Minnow broadband network builders connected 998,500 homes according to an industry report

Alternative UK fibre broadband providers have connected up to one million homes with pure fibre broadband, double the number connected by Openreach.

The numbers were revealed in a report from The Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA), which was commissioned along with research firm Point Topic.

It states alternative networks (altnets) connected 998,500 homes, a number predicted to hit 1.92 million by the end of 2019, based on the roll-out targets of alternative networks such as CityFibre and Hyperoptic. Both are aiming to hit a combined 14.25 million by 2025.

Live connections from alternative networks is currently at 207,500, a number that will rise to 4.8 million by 2025.

Openreach has committed to connecting three million homes with fibre to the home (FTTH) by 2020, as did TalkTalk with its partner Infracapital. Virgin Media targets two million premised with the technology as part of its ‘Project Lightning’ build. CityFibre has partnered with Vodafone to reach up to five million UK premises.

INCA CEO Malcolm Corbett said: “This report shows that the altnets are making great progress in both urban and rural areas. They are delivering the future-proofed digital infrastructure the country needs for long-term prosperity.

“The investment and competitive dynamic these companies have introduced mean that we will get ultrafast full fibre networks and high-speed wireless broadband much faster than simply relying on the incumbent. Government support for the sector is tremendously helpful and with continued support altnets can speed up the deployment of new networks and services.”

Digital and culture minister Margot James said: “It’s fantastic to see the growth of the new companies building fibre and wireless networks.

“We’re creating the right environment to stimulate industry investment, and I’m delighted by the altnets’ ambitious plans to reach millions more homes and businesses over the next few years.

“We are also supporting these goals through government investment in new fibre networks, 5G projects and by removing business rates for new fibre deployment for 5 years.”

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