Openreach names strategic partner to build out UK’s fibre infra

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BT’s access unit picks STL to provide optical cable solutions, integration services and faster installation for its new network.

Under the partnership, STL will be responsible for delivering millions of kilometres of optical fibre cable to support the build over the next three years.

Openreach has plans to use STL's expertise and innovation to accelerate its Full Fibre build programme and drive efficiency.

Openreach is ramping up the build rate for its Full Fibre broadband programme which has a target of reaching 20 million homes and businesses by the mid-to-late 2020s. The UK is currently one of the lowest ranking countries in Europe for fibre penetration, with Openreach coming late to the party.

Its engineers are passing 42,000 homes and businesses every week, and 4.5 million premises can order a gigabit-capable fibre broadband from service providers using Openreach's infrastructure.

Openreach and STL

This collaboration builds on a 14-year-old technology and supply relationship between the two companies.

Openreach will use STL's Opticonn solution – a specialised set of fibre, cable and interconnects designed to improve the deployment process, including up to 30% faster installation.

It will also use STL's Celesta – a high-density optical fibre cable with a capacity of up to 6,912 optical fibres which is 26% slimmer than the usual loose tube cables.

The design allows 2,000 metres of cable to be installed in under an hour and minimises the use of plastic across Openreach's new network.

Kevin Murphy, MD for Fibre and Network Delivery at Openreach, said, " We need partners like STL on board to not only help sustain that momentum, but also to provide the skills and innovation to help us go even further…we're also trying to make this one of the greenest network builds in the world."