Report: Full-fibre up from 7% to 8% of UK homes

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Nearly 2.5 million UK homes and businesses can now access full-fibre broadband, Ofcom’s latest data on broadband and mobile availability reveals.

This interim update to the regulator’s annual Connected Nations report provides a snapshot on progress towards delivering better broadband and mobile, wherever people are. It uses data collected from broadband and mobile companies in May 2019, which Ofcom has assessed in detail to ensure coverage estimates are as accurate as possible.

Broadband availability

  • Full-fibre broadband (which uses fibre cables all the way from the exchange to people’s homes) is now available to 8 per cent of the UK – up from 7 per cent in its last update. This is an increase of 400,000 properties between January and May this year.
  • Nearly 2.5 million homes and businesses can get full-fibre broadband. This is an increase of more than one million properties in the last year, with full fibre now being rolled-out at its fastest ever rate.
  • Ultrafast broadband (offering download speeds of at least 300Mbit/s) is now available to 54 per cent of UK properties – up from 53 per cent.
  • Superfast broadband (offering download speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s) availability has increased, although the rounded proportion of properties able to access it remains at 95 per cent.
  • The number of people unable to get decent broadband (offering download speeds of at least 10 Mbit/s, and upload of 1 Mbit/s) continues to fall and now stands at around 578,000 properties (2 per cent), down from 860,000 within a year.

Mobile coverage

  • Indoor 4G coverage from all four mobile networks remains at 77 per cent.
  • Geographic 4G coverage from all four networks remains at 66 per cent.
  • Geographic 4G coverage from at least one network stands at 91 per cent. This means that 9 per cent of the UK’s landmass does not feature 4G coverage from any operator.

Ofcom will publish the full annual Connected Nations report in December 2019. This will include in-depth analysis of broadband and mobile availability across the UK and its nations – including, for the first time, data on availability of 5G networks.

A spokesperson for digital infrastructure povider Openreach said the full fibre build was the largest upgrade to the UK’s digital network in a generation and had the ability to unlock huge social and economic benefits. “We are proud to be leading the way having already reached over 1.5 million homes and businesses but we want to go further, faster and continue to work with Ofcom and the Government to ensure they create the right conditions for a nationwide roll out.”

Openreach has already reached more than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the UK as part of its aim to bring fibre to the premises (FTTP) to 4 million premises by March 2021.

Overall 74 locations have now been included in Openreach’s multi-billion pound Fibre First programme, including the UK’s biggest cities (Belfast, Birmingham, London, and Manchester).

The business doubled its FTTP footprint last year and continues to ramp up the build – making the technology available to more than 20,000 new homes and businesses every week across the UK.

Openreach has invested heavily in its staff to help with the acceleration of the build – hiring 6,500 apprentice engineers over two years (and becoming one of the largest private sector employer of apprentices in the UK)

According to Openreach, some key policy areas that Government can help with include, relief from business rates on new fibre networks, granting easier access to buildings, exempting full fibre broadband from business rates, and mandating full fibre in all new build homes.


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