Published on January 7, 2021
LONDON, January 7, 2021 — EXFO Inc. (NASDAQ: EXFO, TSX: EXF), the communications industry’s test, monitoring and analytics experts, and Openreach, the United Kingdom’s largest digital infrastructure firm, today announced their collaboration on a major initiative to accelerate Full Fibre deployment, and enhance the quality of build and experience for customers across the UK.
The project is essential for delivering next-generation Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks, which provide the digital infrastructure required to work, learn and socialize. As part of its industry-leading Fibre First programme, Openreach has committed to delivering 20 million homes passed with FTTP by the mid-to late 2020s, assuming it has the right investment conditions. Openreach has also committed to building out this new digital infrastructure to 4.5 million premises by the end of March 2021.
Following a competitive tender process, Openreach has awarded EXFO a contract to supply optical test heads and test access switching for this initiative. With its cloud-based Nova Fiber solution, EXFO will equip Openreach to assure its build, thereby accelerating the programme and avoiding costly return visits to fix connection problems—additional “truck rolls” more than double operators testing costs.1 Following installation, Openreach will be able to remotely monitor its fibre infrastructure supporting the in-life operations of its Full Fibre service.
This announcement comes as Openreach hit a record build rate for its Full Fibre broadband programme. Openreach engineers are now delivering faster, more reliable connectivity to another 40,000 homes and businesses every week, or the equivalent of a home every 15 seconds.
Peter Bell, Director, Network Technology, Openreach: “We know that now more than ever that being connected matters. We’re 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 will help us get there. As a long-term Openreach partner, EXFO was selected thanks to its proven ability to provide fast, automated qualification of fibre builds, and for its unique iOLM OTDR technology. We’re committed to working with the best-in-class to maintain our position as the UK’s leading Full Fibre builder and we’re excited to lead the way as we continue to deliver high-quality network connections to homes and businesses across the UK.”
Wim te Niet, Vice President, Sales – EMEA, EXFO: “Openreach is an early mover in adopting permanent fibre monitoring technology, which will eventually cover all households in the UK. Currently, the FTTH/B penetration rate in the UK stands at 18%2, 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. EXFO’s innovative Nova Fiber solution gives them these abilities.”
EXFO (NASDAQ: EXFO) (TSX: EXF) develops smarter test, monitoring and analytics solutions for fixed and mobile network operators, webscale companies and equipment manufacturers in the global communications industry. Our customers count on us to deliver superior network performance, service reliability and subscriber insights. They count on our unique blend of equipment, software and services to accelerate digital transformations related to fibre, 4G/LTE and 5G deployments. They count on our expertise with automation, real-time troubleshooting and big data analytics, which are critical to their business performance. We’ve spent over 35 years earning this trust, and today 1,900 EXFO employees in over 25 countries work side by side with our customers in the lab, field, data center and beyond.
Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business. We’re 35,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in the UK can be connected. We work on behalf of more than 660 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, BT and Zen, and our broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 31.8m UK premises. Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £14 billion into our network and, at more than 185 million kilometres, it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,617 times. Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come. We’re making progress towards our FTTP target to reach 20m premises by mid-to late 2020s. We’ve also hired more than 3,000 trainee engineers this past financial year to help us build that network and deliver better service across the country. Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed unit of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions. For the year ended 31 March 2020, we reported revenue of £5bn.
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and we intend that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby. Forward-looking statements are statements other than historical information or statements of current condition. Words such as may, expect, believe, plan, anticipate, intend, could, estimate, continue, or similar expressions or the negative of such expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statements that refer to expectations, projections or other characterizations of future events and circumstances are considered forward-looking statements. They are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements due to various factors including, but not limited to, macroeconomic uncertainty, including trade wars and recessions; our ability to successfully integrate businesses that we acquire; capital spending and network deployment levels in the communications industry (including our ability to quickly adapt cost structures to anticipated levels of business and our ability to manage inventory levels with market demand); future economic, competitive, financial and market conditions; consolidation in the global communications test, monitoring and analytics solutions markets and increased competition among vendors; capacity to adapt our future product offering to future technological changes; limited visibility with regard to the timing and nature of customer orders; delay in revenue recognition due to longer sales cycles for complex systems involving customers’ acceptance; fluctuating exchange rates; concentration of sales; timely release and market acceptance of our new products and other upcoming products; our ability to successfully expand international operations and to conduct business internationally; and the retention of key technical and management personnel. Assumptions relating to the foregoing involve judgments and risks, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict and many of which are beyond our control. Other risk factors that may affect our future performance and operations are detailed in our Annual Report, on Form 20-F, and our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Canadian securities commissions. We believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable based on information currently available to us, but we cannot assure you that the expectations will prove to have been correct. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements speak only as of the date of this document. Unless required by law or applicable regulations, we undertake no obligation to revise or update any of them to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date of this document.
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1 Omnia operator survey: test and measurement efficiency (2020)
2 Data taken from recent Ofcom Connected Nations report 2020