Digital network provider extends services to ‘hard to reach’ locations

Openreach has outlined plans to make reliable and gigabit-capable full fibre broadband available to homes and businesses in and around 26 market towns and villages across Yorkshire and the Humber.

The new locations, including Bridlington, Otley, Knottingley, Upton, Malton, Settle and Askern, will be upgraded by Openreach, without taxpayer subsidy.

It is hoped that having access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in Europe will boost their post-Covid economic recovery.

Work is expected to get under way in many of the announced locations within the next 12 to 18 months, although some places will see work continue into 2024.

The latest locations are part of a wider announcement to make the new technology available to a further 3.2 million premises in the UK’s hardest to reach “final third”.

The build is at the forefront of a £12bn investment to build Full Fibre infrastructure to 20 million premises throughout the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s – delivering economic, social and environmental benefits for rural and urban communities.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director in the North of England, said: “We’ve already upgraded tens of thousands of homes and business across Yorkshire and the Humber to full fibre.

“As well as keeping the existing network running throughout the Covid crisis, our engineers have safely and with social distancing in place, continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, our network is there to support families, businesses and the economic recovery.

I’d encourage everyone to check if they can switch to the new technology. Full fibre is more reliable and more resilient meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds.

“It is also future-proof to easily meet the growing data demands of future technologies.”

Openreach CEO, Clive Selley, said: “This year we’ve all seen the importance of having a decent broadband connection and at Openreach, we’re convinced that Full Fibre technology can underpin the UK’s economic recovery.

“Right now, we’re building a new, ultra-reliable full-fibre network that will boost productivity, cut commuting and carbon emissions, and connect our families, public services and businesses for decades to come.

“It’s Ofcom’s proposals that give us the right conditions to build commercially in hardest to reach areas.

“We’re determined to find inventive engineering solutions and effective partnership funding models to reduce costs and enable us to connect as many communities as possible across the UK without public subsidy.”