BT-owned Openreach has revealed 98 areas across the UK where it plans to move away from ageing copper connections to fibre broadband, which will unlock ultrafast speeds and improve reliability. Openreach has already connected around six million premises across the UK to full-fibre broadband (that’s roughly 47,000 homes connected every week) as part of its plan to upgrade 25 million homes across the UK by December 2026. The upgrade process involves switching from traditional copper landlines to full-fibre connections.
Copper is significantly slower than fibre …and the electrical signal (compared to using light signals inside a fibre-optic cable) deteriorates exponentially over longer distances. In other words, the internet speeds in your home will be worse if your front door is further away from the trademark green cabinets that Openreach has installed across the country than your neighbour down the street. That’s not as much of an issue following the upgrade to full-fibre.
In theory, 100mbps is the maximum you can expect from a copper connection to your nearest exchange. However, this speed is likely to drop based on the distance to your door, surges in demand at peak times, and bad weather. Fibre broadband has more bandwidth and can enable up download speeds of 1,000mbps and more to your home.
As more people work from home, download updates to their gadgets, install smart devices, rely on the internet to make video calls and stay in touch, as well as binge boxsets and movies at peak viewing times …homes across the UK need access to faster speeds. And that’s before the next wave of technologies, including streaming video games to your home – as we’re already seeing with xCloud from the Xbox team at Microsoft, virtual reality from Facebook, and 8K picture quality, to name a few examples.
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The upgrade to full-fibre is not a quick process. Openreach engineers need to slowly install new fibre-optic cables and only when three-quarters of residents in an area can access the next-generation technology will the team look to move away from copper-based phone lines. It can often take around two years after the first cable is laid before the copper can be switched off completely as many customers don’t regularly upgrade their broadband connection.
According to broadband-obsessed blog ISPreview, which closely tracks the ongoing full-fibre broadband upgrade, the next 98 areas identified by Openreach for this upgrade process are as follows…
Aberdeen Balgownie in Aberdeen, Aldridge, Alfreton, Allesley in Coventry, Ardrossan in Saltcoats, Aviemore, Balham in South London, Bamber Bridge, Barrhead, Beith, Biggin Hill in Bromley, Boston Spa, Brighouse, Broadwell in Oldbury, Burnley, Burton Joyce, Bury in Greater Manchester, Chellaston in Derby, Childrey, Cleckheaton, Creaton, Dalkeith, Dawlish, Dunloy in Ballymena, Duston in Northampton, Earby, Easingwold, Exhall in Coventry, Feeny in Londonderry, Foleshill in Coventry, Gowerton, Grove Park in Lewisham, Guiseley, Harrold in Bedford, Hayes Common in Bromley, Hemsworth, Herongate in West Horndon, Heysham, Highworth, Horwich in Greater Manchester, Hoylake, Huyton in Liverpool, Hyde in Greater Manchester, Intake in Sheffield, Irby in Heswall, Irvinestown in Enniskillen, Ivybridge, Kilbirnie, Killeavy in Newry, Kircubbin in Newtownards, Kislingbury in Bugbrooke, Laindon in Basildon, Langford, Langley Mill in Heanor, Leigh in Greater Manchester, Fife in Leven, Leyland, Llandaff in Cardiff, Lowdham, Magor in Undy, Mayobridge in Newry, Maze in Lisburn, Milnsbridge in Huddersfield, Morecambe, Moy in Dungannon, Mulbarton, Ormskirk, Otley, Park Street in How Wood, Plymouth, Portglenone in Ballymena, Rainham in Gillingham (Kent), Rawdon in Yeadon, Redbourn, Rhiwderin in Newport, Rhoose, Richmond in North Yorkshire, Ripley, Roade, Rushden, Sandwich, Shipley, Sion Mills in Strabane, Sketty in Swansea, Sleaford, Somersham in Huntingdonshire, Stanford Le Hope, Stonyburn in Bents, Takeley, Theydon Bois, Tipton, Troon, Turvey, WaterHayes Farm in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Wheathampstead, Whitchurch in Bristol, Wootton Bassett, and Wraysbury.