EXFO will supply optical test heads and test access switching for Openreach’s Full Fibre initiative in the U.K., under which the network provider has committed to building out millions of new fiber-to-the-premise locations to expand broadband access.

In the short term, Openreach has promised to build out fiber to around 4.5 million premises by the end of March. In the longer term, it expects to have 20 million homes passed with FTTP by the mid-to late 2020s, depending on investment conditions. The company says it is currently building out at a rate of adding 40,000 homes and businesses every week.

EXFO, which is a lonstanding partner for Openreach, won out in a competitive process to outfit the network operator with its cloud-based Nova Fiber solution to assure the build and avoid connection problems that would require return visits and the accompanying costs. EXFO said that Openreach will also be able to remotely monitor the fiber infrastructure after the initial installation.

“Openreach is an early mover in adopting permanent fibre monitoring technology, which will eventually cover all households in the U.K.,” said Wim te Niet, who is VP of sales, EMEA, at EXFO. “Currently, the [fiber-to-the-home or business] penetration rate in the U.K. stands at 18%, and Openreach has an ambitious plan to build out Full Fibre to millions of households and businesses. We see a similar wave in other key European markets like Germany. I believe network operators across Europe will soon follow Openreach’s lead to ensure first-time-right installations, reduce turn-up failures, and substantially reduce truck rolls for service calls.

“As for markets with high FTTH/B penetration rates, telecom operators are finding they need sophisticated automated monitoring tools to ensure superior customer experience,” Wim te Niet added, going on to say that EXFO’s Nova Fiber solution gives them those abilities.

Peter Bell, director of network technology at Openreach, said in a statement that the company is “convinced that our new Full Fibre network can play a crucial role in keeping the nation connected. This year, our build has been gathering pace and momentum, and we’re determined to match that rapid speed of deployment with the highest standards of build quality build and customer service.” EXFO, he added, “will help us get there.” He specifically called out EXFO’s “proven ability to provide fast, automated qualification of fiber builds” and the company’s intelligent Optical Link Mapper OTDR technology.