BT Press Releases

DC11-277                                                                                                16th November 2011

Openreach and Fujitsu UK hail strong progress on duct and pole sharing

First customers go live on Fujitsu UK’s trial network as Openreach announces commercial launch of Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product in November

Openreach and Fujitsu UK today revealed they have made strong progress in trials of Openreach’s Duct and Pole Sharing products. It is hoped this form of access will help to extend superfast broadband speeds to consumers and businesses in areas of the country currently outside the commercial footprint of network providers.

Fujitsu UK, the furthest-advanced participant in Openreach’s trial of duct and pole sharing, last week successfully connected its first end-users. It has done so via a trial of Fibre-to-the-Premises technology in the Wirral, deployed using Openreach’s duct and pole infrastructure. Fujitsu UK is the first Communication Provider to connect end customers through this process.

This progress, together with positive feedback from Fujitsu UK and other triallists, has given Openreach the confidence to proceed with the commercial launch of its new PIA products later this month. Following commercial launch, all UK Communications Providers will be able to order the new products from Openreach on an open, wholesale basis.

The commercial launch follows the publication of revised prices for pole and duct access in early October. The new prices – which were revised following feedback from triallists and lessons learned from the trials - are significantly lower than the draft ones used through the trials when Openreach had limited information on the costs incurred through providing such access. They are estimated to be up to 38% below the European average for such access in rural areas. Openreach has also broken down the various products into their component parts allowing triallists to pick which elements they wish to purchase and those they want to deliver themselves.

Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield said: “We’ve pulled out all the stops to make sure our products fit the needs of our customers, so I have been delighted by the positive feedback we’ve had from Fujitsu UK and others. Pole and duct access will enable CPs to deliver superfast broadband speeds in areas outside the existing planned commercial footprint, so we felt it was important to launch the products as soon as possible.”

Andy Stevenson CEO Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Limited added: “Fujitsu UK have made strong progress to date using Openreach’s poles and ducts and so we welcome the imminent commercial launch of their products. I’m delighted to announce that the first of our triallists are now live on our trial network, and we’re proud to be the first Communications Provider in the UK to offer service through this route to market. Whilst there are still some points of detail we’re working through ahead of commercial launch, we’ve been reassured by Openreach’s collaborative approach towards pricing and product development, which gives us the confidence to move forward.”