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Helping the country build back better and greener

Helping the country build back better and greener

Credit: Openreach

Openreach

3 min read Partner content

The pandemic has underlined how essential reliable broadband is – for keeping in touch with friends and family, home working, schooling and accessing key public services.

While our network has coped with the increasing data demands, upgrading it to a full fibre network will underpin post-Covid economic recovery and future growth, helping to ‘level up’ across rural as well as urban communities – and reduce carbon emissions. 

The government is targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit capable coverage by 2025, but will seek to accelerate roll-out to get as close to 100% as possible.

That’s good news, as the quicker this new digital network is built, the faster we will all see the benefits.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) calculates that nationwide full fibre could boost UK productivity by £59 billion by 2025 and bring almost a million people back into the workforce, including carers and parents. 

With our unparalleled experience in building in rural communities, we’ve got the skills and expertise to get the job done.

Last year, underpinned by our £12 billion commercial investment, we announced an ambition to reach 4.5 million premises by March 2021 and 20 million by the mid-tolate 2020s.

This includes plans to connect 3.2 million of the hardest to reach premises in the country. But we need support from policymakers and MPs to hit these targets. 

With other companies in the sector, we’re encouraging DCMS to be bolder in addressing barriers we all face, such as securing wayleave access to land and buildings.

People living in blocks of flats, including social housing, risk being left behind due to uncooperative or difficult to contact landlords who may also try to charge unreasonable sums for access. Legislation before Parliament to improve property access must be strengthened.

In last year’s Spending Review, £1.2 billion of the £5 billion was allocated to support deployment in the most rural communities.

This funding will be available on a competitive basis, and we hope to be at the heart of delivering this upgrade programme.

With our unparalleled experience in building in rural communities, we’ve got the skills and expertise to get the job done.

We’re building at pace and in communities in every region and nation across the UK.

With the right action from Government and Regulator we can build further and faster and helpdrive recovery. 

Our full fibre network already reaches over 4 million homes and businesses and we’re passing a further 42,000 premises every week. In the last year alone, we’ve built to over 2 million premises. 

We recently announced the creation of over 5,000 new jobs in 2021 and with our network of training centres we’re building the skilled workforce the nation needs.

We also want to attract more women into engineering and have analysed our own use of language and the impact of latent bias in job adverts. With a new approach we aim to recruit a minimum of 20% women into new roles this year. 

With the right action from Government and Regulator we can build further and faster and helpdrive recovery. 

In March’s Budget, the Treasury can support the Government’s gigabit ambition for the UK by exempting new full fibre from business rates, securing commercial investment in the sector and ensuring the rollout of full fibre broadband can continue at pace.

Contact the Openreach Public Affairs team at [email protected] or click here to find out more about our ambitions and new job opportunities.

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