Enough fibre for 78 million homes

3rd February 2023
Harry Fowle

Intelligens Consulting has published an infographic and thought leadership article examining the UK fibre market’s key performance metrics.

The research follows an announcement made by BT Chief Executive on the morning of 3rd February 2023 where he warned rivals that the ‘Openreach fibre push will end in tears’ for them.

The consulting firm’s research examines the UK fibre market to reveal how the top 10 alternative fibre network operators (altnets) perform when compared to rivals Openreach (BT Group) and Virgin Media O2 (VMO2).

The research uncovered altnets that have contributed most to the UK’s fibre growth and scrutinises industry benchmarks such as fibre build rates, cost per premises passed, and that all-important overbuild index.

Intelligens Consulting’s CEO and Consulting Director Iqbal Singh Bedi said: “According to our research, in the last six months, the top 10 altnets have been building at pace reaching an impressive build rate of 48,500 premises per week.”

This build rate has helped the altnets make fibre available to an additional 1.2 million premises since June 2022 taking the total to 5.4 million premises passed.

This build rate has been helped by a £12bn cash injection by institutional investors which is a £2bn increase from this time last year.

One of the fibre industry’s key obsessions is around overbuilding and how that has affected the investment case. Collectively, the top 10 altnets, VMO2, and Openreach will reach at least 78 million homes with fibre by 2026. 

Telecoms expert Bedi said, “While this number seems high, and indicates that overbuild exists, overbuild is more likely to be higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas where fibre build, and choice is limited.”

Asked whether this will end in tears for Openreach rivals, Bedi said: “There are still opportunities for altnets to grow market share provided they don’t overbuild each other’s networks and they turn their attention to connecting premises to generate cash flow.”

He does however remain cautious about the future by saying: “It remains to be seen what impact global economic uncertainty is having upon altnets which may force some of them and their investors to revise their plans.”

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