Freedom Fibre is currently installing fibre to the whole of Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft. BT Openreach are doing similar. Full Fibre is a government supported national initiative with internet access now considered akin to an essential utility. Industry is investing £25bn to future proof internet services so the whole of the UK has full fibre “all the way to the home”.
Fibre broadband in the UK (often called infinity or FTTC) is not fibre all the way to the home. It is confusing as it relies on old copper wires for the last few hundred metres. The fact is our industry is now at the absolute limit of speeds that can be delivered with the current technology and copper networks need replacing. Openreach and OFCOM have already announced that copper will be withdrawn from 2025 and fibre networks will largely replace them.
Freedom Fibre has regulatory rights, introduced by Ofcom, to share existing Openreach poles and ducts and we
work very closely with Openreach. This minimises disruption to residents as well as ensuring that the existing Openreach infrastructure is fully utilised, which is good for the environment and for competition. In Culcheth our work is almost two thirds complete, there have been no road closures and feedback has been mostly positive. We have worked closely with Warrington council to ensure that the work that we undertake in the streets is compliant with any appertaining Government Legislation and Regulations.
In several parts of Culcheth, and indeed across the UK, some homes are served by old copper cables directly buried, rather than installed in ducts. When companies like Freedom Fibre, Openreach or other network providers, come along to install full fibre there are two options, either new ducts are laid, or new poles are installed. Poles are quick to install and cause very little disruption. The installation of new ducts is very costly, time consuming and causes major disruption through road closures and the need to dig up each garden or driveway to connect a home. Clearly, there are pro’s and con’s for either solution whether it be ducts or the installation of new poles, but the costs of new ducts is significantly more expensive.
There is no requirement for a network provider to build fibre at any cost, and that applies to all network providers including Openreach. We do not have access to all detailed future plans for Openreach however we do discuss and share our plans to ensure alignment where possible. If Openreach plan to install new poles or new ducts in
Culcheth, Freedom Fibre will utilise this new infrastructure where possible to minimise disruption to residents. Where we identify the need for new poles it is based on our latest knowledge of Openreach plans and our desire to connect as many homes in Culcheth as possible before we move on. Ultimately, our aim is to ensure, along with the Internet Service Providers such as Talk Talk and others, that we build a cost-effective network that allows broadband to be offered at prices that remain affordable to all.
We believe that with both Openreach and Freedom Fibre providing a fibre network in Culcheth, this is good news for residents and its good for competition and in conjunction with the Internet Service Providers that use our network, will ensure a greater variety of choice and pricing for the residents of Culcheth. If you require any further details about the Freedom Fibre network or information on how you can register, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the success of our roadshow in March, we will continue to work with residents and councils and seek to minimise disruption where possible however now is the time, while both Openreach and Freedom Fibre are working in the area to bring fibre to Culcheth, Croft and Glazebury.