Openreach has marked the halfway point in its plan to reach 25 million premises with ultrafast full fibre broadband by the end of 2026.

The company announced that the network is now available to 12.5 million homes, businesses and public services across the UK.

It is reaching around 60,000 new premises every week and published plans to deliver full fibre in another 142 locations, covering around 1.4 million homes and businesses, including in some of the hardest-to-reach, most rural communities.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: “This is a national infrastructure project that’s a genuine success story.

“We’re delivering engineering on an epic scale, on time and on budget and that’s thanks to a supportive policy environment which has led to huge investment and competition throughout the UK’s telecoms sector.

“From a standing start just a few years ago, we’ve now made this life-changing technology available to 12.5 million premises and counting and we’re building faster than any operator I’m aware of in Europe.

“Our build rate is still accelerating and it’ll take us half the time to reach our next 12.5 million.

“But we won’t be stopping there. Ultimately, we’ll reach up to 30 million premises by the end of the decade – unlocking a raft of economic and social benefits by supporting new models of commerce, healthcare and public services.”

Minister for data and digital infrastructure Sir John Whittingdale said: “This marks an incredibly significant milestone, providing millions more people across the UK with access to transformative gigabit-capable connectivity.

“We know how important fast, reliable broadband is for homes, businesses and our vital public services, and with the support of government action, the UK is currently building gigabit networks faster than any country in the EU.

“It’s vital the industry maintains its pace of delivery, and extends it further supported by our £5 billion Project Gigabit, ensuring rural and hard-to-reach communities do not miss out.

“This marks another important step in our ambition for 85% of properties to have access to gigabit-capable connections by 2025 delivering a modern digital infrastructure to every corner of the UK.”