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.
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.