In a post last month, we endorsed the UK government’s launching of a review aimed at encouraging higher investment by telecoms companies in full fibre broadband.

This development followed research by IHS Markit for the European Commission, which found the UK had the third-lowest full fibre coverage in the EU, at only 1.8 per cent.

We now welcome the pledge by national infrastructure supplier Openreach to provide gigabit-capable full fibre connections to three million UK premises by the end of 2020, an increase of a million on its previous target.

The company plans to install the full fibre connections in eight cities:

  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester

Openreach, fully-owned by telecoms giant BT, is to recruit an additional 3,000 engineers this year to ensure it fulfils its promise.

About 800,000 UK homes and businesses currently access ultra-fast broadband – which Openreach defines as delivering speeds of more than 100 Mbps – via its hybrid fibre and gigabit-capable fibre-to-the-premises technologies. Around 500,000 of these properties enjoy full fibre connections.

But most of the 27 million other UK homes and businesses have fibre-to-the-cabinet connections, which achieve maximum speeds of only 80 Mbps.

Openreach still intends to extend hybrid fibre coverage to 10 million premises by 2020, alongside achieving its full fibre objective.

In the longer-term, the company plans to bring full fibre to up to 40 UK locations during the next decade, though it says it won’t build hybrid networks in the same places.

Our interest in this matter stems from the fact that, in 2017, we became the world’s first organisation to launch a cloud-based version of the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) system powered by SAP HANA, the world’s most advanced in-memory database management application. This breakthrough followed our conclusion of the first agreement globally for SAP BPC in the Partner Managed Cloud software-as-a-service model with the manufacturer and investment of £500,000 in its development.

The cloud-based solution, which abolishes the need for expensive hardware, contains a suite of financial consolidation, budgeting and forecasting templates. It includes EU General Data Protection Regulation-compliant detailed headcount planning, generates all essential reports “out of the box”, and its ultra-rapid Go Live in a Day™ templates comply with the latest International Financial Reporting Standards.

Whether you have a commercial interest in the matter or not, however, there is no doubting the benefits full fibre networks deliver. As Openreach says, these include:

  • Better, more reliable service
  • Fewer faults
  • Faster, more predictable and consistent speeds
  • A platform that’s future-proof

Extending full fibre to the maximum number of UK homes and businesses in the shortest feasible time, therefore, has to be a worthwhile objective.