Clive Selley has said 10 million UK premises could access pure fibre technology by the mid-2020s if “the right conditions” prevail.
The CEO of Openreach, who has shifted the BT-owned company towards FTTP tech since taking the reins last year, made the comments as he launched a consultation with its service provider customers.
The infrastructure provider said it wanted to identify whether there is “widespread demand” for a large-scale FTTP network.
It cited a range of “enablers” that it said were necessary for such a network to be built, such as new investment, risk and cost sharing models, and agreements on how the “mass migration” of customers onto the new platform could be achieved.
Other enablers include improved planning and traffic management processes, as well as a legal and regulatory environment to encourage investment, it said.
The consultation comes as Ofcom stepped up the pressure on Openreach to deliver on commitments it made as part of an agreement to become more independent from its parent.
Rivals are also upping their game, with CityFibre announcing plans to deploy FTTH to premises in up to 10 UK cities earlier this month.
Further, the UK government officially launched its £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund (DIIF) this month, which it said would unlock over £1 billion for pure fibre broadband roll outs, and cut business rates.
BT owns the largest FTTP network in the UK, but at 330,000 premises it is minuscule compared to its copper-based infrastructure.
Selley has committed Openreach to connecting two million homes and businesses to FTTP by 2020, but 10 million premises will get access via G.Fast technology, which is souped-up copper.
The new intervention represents a change in tone from BT and Openreach, which has previously talked up the benefits of a multi-technology approach.
Selley said: “Full fibre broadband is faster, more reliable and simpler to maintain, and it has the potential to power the UK’s economic success for a century.”
He added: “We’re determined to continue our investment in the infrastructure Britain needs to support our thriving digital economy and we want to build a much larger full fibre network, so we need to work closely with communications providers, government and Ofcom to achieve that.
“By using new techniques, we recently halved the cost of delivering ‘full fibre’ infrastructure, but building a large-scale network is still a huge commercial, technical and logistical challenge that’s going to need real ingenuity, flexibility and coordination across government and industry.
“With the right conditions we believe we could make FTTP available to as many as 10 million homes and businesses by the mid-2020s, but we need to understand if there’s sufficient demand to justify the roll-out, and support for the enablers needed to build a viable business case.”