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Openreach Launch New Website and Broadband Availability Checker

Openreach has launched a new website this week.

22 May 2019

Openreach (BT) has launched a new website this week, which cleans things up quite nicely and also introduces a new availability checker for fibre optic based broadband ISP services on their UK network (FTTC, and FTTP), which now includes a choice of providers and a pre-registration page for non-FTTP areas.

The operator told that their site has been rebuilt around what Openreach know people are looking for. Since about 9 million people visit their site every year and the bulk of them want to know when they can get fibre then that’s how they’ve designed it, including a strong mobile-friendly layout (although the information has been spaced out a little too much, which means lots of tedious scrolling for those with bigger displays).

The new availability checker also seems to have thrown away the old map display, which is actually something that we found to be quite useful and are disappointed to see it go. Instead the output is clearer but appears to show less information, which is arguably a step back from what we’d like to see (i.e. more information being given to consumers, not less). But others may prefer the clean and simple layout.

However we’re not sure how we feel about promoting availability alongside the theoretical peak speeds of each technology (displayed as part of a check), which could give some people a misleading expectation of performance when looking at results on FTTC and lines (especially as these are address specific results).

Curiously when running a check the results include a mention of FTTP alongside FTTC, even when the former isn’t available or planned (included alongside a ‘register your interest’ form), yet they don’t apply the same for which only shows up if it’s actually available. We view this as a reflection of Openreach’s waning interest in future deployments.


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