Around 2,500 homes and flats across major new housing developments in Lancashire will be able to get some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK following a deal between Openreach and housing developers.
Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network, is answering a call to build fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology capable of ultrafast speeds up to one Gigabit per second (Gbps) for properties on sites in locations including Blackburn, Clitheroe, Ormskirk, Lancaster, Leyland, Preston and Skelmersdale.
The agreements are part of an Openreach initiative agreed with the UK Government and the Home Builders Federation to connect all new UK housing developments of 30 properties or more with ultrafast fibre broadband.
As well as the schemes in Lancashire, Openreach has made FTTP technology available to more than 2,000 new developments nationwide, covering more than a quarter of a million premises, since the partnership launched last year.
As part of the FTTP roll-out in Lancashire, around 700 homes will be some of the first in the UK to benefit from a new way of installing the optical fibre technology by using the underground ducting already in place for the existing copper network. Extensive testing and trials elsewhere in the UK have shown that using the existing network allows the technology to be deployed quickly and efficiently, sometimes within weeks – and avoids the need to dig up footpaths and driveways.
Kim Mears, managing director of infrastructure delivery at Openreach, said: “An ultrafast broadband network will be a major boost for these sites by ensuring that people living and working there have quick access to some of the fastest speeds available.
“It reflects our commitment to ensuring that Lancashire and the UK has a first-class network, capable of delivering the latest communication services for households, businesses and other organisations.
“We know that people are passionate about the speed and reliability of the broadband service their communication provider can offer them and that, for some, the availability of ultrafast speeds will strongly influence their decision on which new property to buy.”
Craig Ferrans, technical director for the Home Builders Federation, added: “The amount consumers are doing online and at the same time, from streaming high-definition moves and TV, gaming, online shopping to using mobile devices over wireless broadband, is growing every year and this pace shows no signs of slowing. That’s why it’s great to see developers across Lancashire teaming up with Openreach to provide future-proofed ultrafast full fibre access to thousands of new homes in the county. With housing supply increasing at unprecedented rates, and more people purchasing newly built homes, improving connectivity for new homes will help to accelerate the country’s digital revolution.”
As part of ambitious plans to make ultrafast broadband speeds available to 12 million homes and businesses by 2020 – Openreach will now build an FTTP network for free to all new housing developments with 30 or more homes. This is dependent on developers registering their site with Openreach and working together early in the building process. Openreach has promised to connect new homes within nine months of contracting with a developer.
Any developments with two or more homes will have access to the company’s existing or planned fibre infrastructure, either funded entirely by Openreach or, where necessary, with the help of co-funding from the developer.
 Construction of Fibre to the Premises infrastructure (the ducting, poles and wires) will be carried out for free on developments of more than 30 premises. Standard connection and ongoing service provider charges will apply and excess construction charges will continue to apply where the site is more than 4.5 kilometres from Openreach’s existing fibre network.