Openreach's full-fiber network is moving forward with a more ambitious goal, and less Chinese equipment.
Until now, the infrastructure unit of UK telecom giant BT has relied heavily on Huawei, China's biggest maker of network equipment, to extend full-fiber networks to about 2.6 million homes. But in January, UK authorities under US pressure slapped restrictions on the Chinese company as a "high-risk vendor," limiting it to just 35% of properties covered by any one full-fiber network.
The government restrictions are a boon for other equipment makers. Back in July 2018, when the deal with Huawei was first announced, Openreach also revealed that Nokia would begin providing full-fiber equipment in mid-2019. Conscious of the backlash against Huawei, Openreach was subsequently reported to be on the hunt for a third vendor. It finally settled on Adtran, a US company, announcing that partnership just a few days ago.
As UK policymakers debate even tougher limits on Huawei, Nokia and Adtran could now supplant the Chinese firm as Openreach embarks on a far more ambitious rollout than first envisaged. Threatened by rivals and egged on by fiber enthusiasts in government, BT this month said it would target about 20 million properties by the mid-to-late 2020s, provided regulators play fair. Previously, it was aiming for roughly 15 million by the mid-2020s.
For more on Openreach's fiber plans and its impact on equipment vendors, read the full story on Light Reading: Openreach's fiber splurge is a boon for non-Chinese vendors.
— Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading