Openreach, EXFO Synch on FTTH Initiative

Openreach to deploy permanent fiber monitoring technology to help deliver broadband to millions of UK homes and businesses.     

  • Openreach

LONDON—Openreach is collaborating on an initiative to accelerate full fiber deployment, and enhance the quality of build and experience for customers across the UK.

The project is focused on delivering next-generation Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks, which provide the digital infrastructure required to work, learn and socialize. As part of its industry-leading Fibre First program, Openreach has committed to delivering 20 million homes passed with FTTP by the mid-to late 2020s, assuming it has the right investment conditions. Openreach has also committed to building out this new digital infrastructure to 4.5 million premises by the end of March 2021.

Following a competitive tender process, Openreach has awarded EXFO a contract to supply optical test heads and test access switching for this initiative. With its cloud-based Nova Fiber solution, EXFO will equip Openreach to assure its build, thereby accelerating the programme and avoiding costly return visits to fix connection problems—additional “truck rolls” more than double operators testing costs. Following installation, Openreach will be able to remotely monitor its fibre infrastructure supporting the in-life operations of its Full Fibre service.

This announcement comes as Openreach hit a record build rate for its Full Fibre broadband program. Openreach engineers are now delivering connectivity to another 40,000 homes and businesses every week, or the equivalent of a home every 15 seconds.

Peter Bell, director, network technology, Openreach, said that its alliance with EXFO will enable it to match the speed of its “deployment with the highest standards of build quality build and customer service.”

“EXFO will help us get there,” Bell said. “As a long-term Openreach partner, EXFO was selected thanks to its proven ability to provide fast, automated qualification of fibre builds, and for its unique iOLM OTDR technology. We’re committed to working with the best-in-class to maintain our position as the UK’s leading Full Fibre builder and we’re excited to lead the way as we continue to deliver high-quality network connections to homes and businesses across the UK.”

FTTH deployments are gaining momentum in Europe. New forecasts from IDATE anticipate 202 million homes passed with FTTH/B by 2026, up from 88.1 million in 2019.

The research firm said Germany, UK and Italy are “likely to experience the biggest growth rates for homes passed by 2026.”

Openreach has set an ambitious plan for its FTTH network. Today, the FTTH/B penetration rate in the UK stands at 18 percent, and Openreach has an ambitious plan to build out full fiber to millions of households and businesses.

Openreach’s deployment could serve as a potential blueprint for other European countries to follow.

“Openreach is an early mover in adopting permanent fibre monitoring technology, which will eventually cover all households in the UK,” said Wim te Niet, VP of sales for EMEA at EXFO. “We see a similar wave in other key European markets like Germany. I believe network operators across Europe will soon follow Openreach’s lead to ensure first-time-right installations, reduce turn-up failures, and substantially reduce truck rolls for service calls. As for markets with high FTTH/B penetration rates, telecom operators are finding they need sophisticated automated monitoring tools to ensure superior customer experience. EXFO’s innovative Nova Fiber solution gives them these abilities.”


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