Colossal broadband speed upgrade completed for millions of BT, TalkTalk and Sky customers

a young woman holds an ipad and tries to connect to a wireless internet connection

Openreach has now reached 12.5 million premises nationwide, offering faster download speeds to millions of BT, Plusnet, EE, TalkTalk, and Sky customers

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 07/12/2023

- 04:30

Updated: 07/12/2023

- 08:41

Openreach confirms that 12.5 million homes can now access full-fibre speeds

  • Openreach is 50% through its plan to upgrade 25 million premises by 2026
  • Brands like BT, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Sky rely on Openreach infrastructure
  • Full-fibre connections max-out at download speeds between 900 - 1,000Mbps
  • That's 14x faster than the average UK home broadband speed of 69.4Mbps

Millions of UK homes can now access ultrafast broadband speeds. Openreach has confirmed that its reached the halfway point of its ongoing plan to upgrade 25 million premises nationwide with full-fibre broadband by the end of 2026.

Openreach now serves 12.5 million homes, businesses, and public services across the UK with next-generation full-fibre cables capable of reaching download speeds up to 1Gbps. That's 1,000Mbps.

For comparison, the latest study by Ofcom recorded the average download speed for UK home broadband at 69.4Mbps in March 2023. That means full-fibre broadband can represent a 14x increase in speed for the average household — perfect for those with the most demanding internet usage.

In fact, EE recently launched 1.6Gbps download speeds with its flagship new broadband package. That will process every request 23x faster than the average home broadband connection in the UK.

Openreach is reaching around 60,000 new premises every week and published plans to deliver full-fibre in another 142 locations, covering around 1.4 million homes and businesses, including in some of the hardest-to-reach, most rural communities.

openreach logo on the side of a maintenance van

Openreach is the company that upgrades and maintains the largest broadband infrastructure across the UK. Companies like TalkTalk, Sky, EE, Plusnet, and BT all rely on the same cables to deliver internet to customers


A number of the biggest broadband providers rely on infrastructure from Openreach, including BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk, and Plusnet, to name just a few. If you're able to access gigabit-capable broadband from any of these companies, you should be able to maintain those speeds when you switch to another.

Switching between providers as soon as you're out of the initial term of your contract is a sure-fire way to save money on your bills each month.

If you're unsure about what broadband speed you need in your home. We've put together the average download speeds for an hour-long television show episode in Standard Definition (SD), roughly 450MB in size.

  • 69Mbps, the average broadband speed in the UK: 56 seconds
  • 150Mbps, the lowest speed available with most full-fibre packages: 24 seconds
  • 500Mbps, widely available from all full-fibre providers: 7 seconds
  • 1Gbps (or 1,000Mbps) is not available from all broadband companies: 4 seconds

As a rule, busier households with multiple people need more bandwidth from their broadband connection to avoid buffering.

That's because each activity quickly compounds the amount of data needed. While a slower internet connection can handle one person streaming a boxset on Netflix in 4K Ultra, if you have multiple people in different rooms trying to stream TV shows and movies in high quality, backing up data to the cloud, downloading software updates to devices, making video calls, and more'll soon need a minimum of 200-300Mbps to avoid any stutters.

Speaking about the latest milestone in its plan to upgrade 25 million homes to gigabit-capable fibre broadband, Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: "This is a national infrastructure project that’s a genuine success story. We’re delivering engineering on an epic scale, on time and on budget and that’s thanks to a supportive policy environment which has led to huge investment and competition throughout the UK’s telecoms sector.

"From a standing start just a few years ago, we’ve now made this life-changing technology available to 12.5 million premises and counting and we’re building faster than any operator I’m aware of in Europe. Our build rate is still accelerating and it’ll take us half the time to reach our next 12.5 million.
"But we won’t be stopping there.

"Ultimately, we’ll reach up to 30 million premises by the end of the decade – unlocking a raft of economic and social benefits by supporting new models of commerce, healthcare and public services."

Not every broadband brand relies on Openreach infrastructure. Virgin Media maintains its own dedicated fibre network, which offers download speeds of up to 1,130Mbps to roughly 15 million homes, plus there are a number of other smaller brands building their own infrastructure to connect to customers directly, including Community Fibre, HyperOptic, and G.Network.

Minister for data and digital infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale said: "This marks an incredibly significant milestone, providing millions more people across the UK with access to transformative gigabit-capable connectivity. We know how important fast, reliable broadband is for homes, businesses and our vital public services, and with the support of government action, the UK is currently building gigabit networks faster than any country in the EU.

"It’s vital the industry maintains its pace of delivery, and extends it further supported by our £5 billion Project Gigabit, ensuring rural and hard-to-reach communities do not miss out. This marks another important step in our ambition for 85% of properties to have access to gigabit-capable connections by 2025 delivering a modern digital infrastructure to every corner of the UK."

Additional Reporting by Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent

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