Ofcom: Two thirds UK homes gigabit ready
May 20, 2022
By Colin Mann
UK households looking to get faster home broadband have received a welcome boost, with new figures from regulator Ofcom revealing two thirds of homes can now sign up to gigabit broadband.
Ofcom’s latest figures show these speeds are available to 66 per cent of all UK homes (19.3 million) – up from 37 per cent this time in 2021.
Full-fibre broadband has also seen major increases in availability. A third (33 per cent – 9.6 million) of all homes can now get full fibre packages, which offer faster and more reliable internet. This is up from 21 per cent when we reported in May 2021.
This progress comes as a number of competing companies continue to roll out faster networks across the UK. This includes in hard-to-reach areas, with the number of premises unable to get a decent connection – classed as offering download speeds of at least 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s – now falling to just under 100,000.
However, this still leaves many people struggling to get connected. Some may be eligible for the broadband universal service, which helps connect people who are unable to get decent speeds.
Ofcom says its rules encourage companies to invest in improving their networks, and it is now seeing a real race to roll out faster Internet to people across the UK.
“Today’s figures also show a 4G mobile signal is predicted to be available in around 92 per cent of the UK’s landmass – in-line with our last update in December,” advises Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Group Director of Network and Communications. And while mobile companies are still building their 5G networks, our figures show outdoor 5G coverage is on offer from at least one provider to around half of UK homes.”
The findings are published in Ofcom’s Connected Nations Spring update, which provides a snapshot of the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK and its nations, as of January this year. Ofcom’s broadband and mobile checker, which allows users to check what coverage is available in their area, has also been updated to include the latest figures.
Paul Stobart, CEO at Zen Internet, said: “The rollout of full fibre is the last major infrastructure programme we will see in our lifetimes, providing that all-important connection. Having access to a fast and reliable broadband service is absolutely crucial nowadays, as people spend more time online than ever before, connect more devices, and continue to work from home. Switching to full fibre services will become a key enabler of that ultrafast connection.
“Given that by 2030, everyone will have made the switch to full fibre, we need to see continued investment in this future proof technology from infrastructure providers, and for the government to continue to drive the full fibre agenda. In fact, we’ve found that 30 per cent of customers who can access full fibre with Zen are not yet taking advantage of the future-proofed technology by upgrading to the service available, which shows we’ve all got a lot more work to do to help people understand full fibre and the benefits it will bring to their home and work lives.
“At Zen, we are working on our nationwide rollout to ensure more cities are ahead of the curve and can access an award-winning full fibre service delivered over both CityFibre’s and Openreach’s infrastructure. We want to inspire and help people across the UK take control of their full fibre journey, which will unlock the power of sharing, learning, and communication for years to come,” he concluded.
Phil Sorsky, Senior Vice President International, at CommScope, said: “It is positive to see that two thirds of homes in the UK can now sign up to gigabit broadband, the fastest home broadband available. But it is important we continue to use the latest technologies to speed up the roll out of gigabit broadband to 100% of homes in the UK, as connectivity plays a key role as an enabler of economic growth and prosperity across communities. We believe all homes and businesses should be on a level playing field in terms of connectivity – regardless of location. It is also positive to see that 92 per cent of the UK’s landmass has access to 4G and outdoor 5G coverage is on offer from at least one provider to around half of UK homes.
Investment in the digital transformation of our country is important because it will have long term and far-reaching benefits for us all – both economically and socially. Building the infrastructure to supply fast, reliable connectivity to homes across the UK will ultimately underpin our efforts to build back better from the pandemic and help in the government’s aim to ‘level up’ our economy.”