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78% of UK premises able to get NGA broadband according to Ofcom
Thursday 07 August 2014 00:08:25 by Andrew Ferguson

The latest Ofcom Communications Market Report reveals the gulf between those who live in rural parts of the UK and the urban parts. With the current Government target of 90% to have access to a superfast service in 2015, largely supplanted by the newer target of 95% able to access superfast at some point in 2017 it is important to realise that this refers to the UK as a whole, rather than every individual community.

Area Ofcom figure on % of premises able to get NGA Broadband % FTTC/P (Ofcom) % cable (Ofcom) Median speed measured by thinkbroadband speed test Potential superfast coverage calculated by thinkbroadband (*)
UK 78% 69% 44% 16.4 Mbps 89.2%
England 80% 71% 47% 17 Mbps 89.7%
Scotland 64% 48% 35% 14 Mbps 83.4%
Wales 58% 55% 21% 8.6 Mbps 80.2%
Northern Ireland 95% 92% 26% 18.6 Mbps 91%
London 91% 82% 63% 21.6 Mbps 95.3%
South East 82% 78% 42% 18 Mbps 89.5%
South West 70% 63% 33% 13.3 Mbps 81.9%
East Midlands 76% 68% 47% 16 Mbps 89.8%
West Midlands 82% 69% 54% 19.5 Mbps 89.6%
East of England 76% 70% 44% 12.4 Mbps 84.7%
Yorkshire and Humber 74% 63% 39% 15.9 Mbps 87.3%
North East 81% 62% 46% 18.9 Mbps 91.6%
North West 84% 71% 49% 18.4 Mbps 93%
UK Urban 85% 75% 51% n/a n/a
UK Rural 34% 32% 3% n/a n/a

(*) calculated by thinkbroadband on assumption every Openreach cabinet offers FTTC and cable coverage remains static. Includes distance from postcode to cabinet speed estimate for FTTC. Results visible on maps.thinkbroadband.com

NOTE: To avoid confusion, the Ofcom figures are referring to premises that have the option to order a FTTC/P or DOCSIS service, with no implied indication of the speeds achievable. Where we have our own thinkbroadband data labelled as superfast we are working to the EU 30 Mbps or faster definition.

The gulf in availability between the urban and rural areas is well known to those following the broadband story over the last few years and while for example Wales has seen a ten percentage point increase in FTTC availability in the last year, there is still a long hill to climb to reach the 96% target of fibre based broadband availability in 2016. Our estimates for the level of superfast coverage ignore the enabling of exchange only lines, and also the scattering of FTTP that is appearing through the projects, but then some small cabinets are likely to miss out, balancing out the improvements from FTTP.

The lesson to take away from the report is that while things are far from perfect, the situation is improving and once the 95% superfast projects get underway, we should see more use of FTTP, FTTrN and other technologies to boost speeds into the superfast arena.

Comments

Posted by tonypriest over 2 years ago
"The lesson to take away from the report is that while things are perfect,"
Should there be a 'not' before perfect ;-)
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Thing are a little more perfect now :-)

Not as big a mistake as Ofcom seems to have done with the idea that 96% of Wales will be superfast under current project.
Posted by Blackmamba over 2 years ago
Hi Thinkbroadband
The results (speed) on your Map are not correct and are running low across the Surrey Area. The speed on the post code is determined by the ISP on Band A.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
@blackmamba Without a postcode to look at it is hard to comment back. Refering to the ADSL or fibre layer.

Also what does 'The speed on the post code is determined by the ISP on Band A' mean?
Posted by welshwarrior over 2 years ago
@Andrew

Ofcom may be getting closer to the truth. Last week, most of Pembrokeshire was announced as being upgraded to Fibre starting next year (except St Davids & Castlemartin) and Pembs was thought to be one of the losers in the rollout as in having a very smaller percentage upgraded to Fibre.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Truth is that if ever cabinet gets FTTC then superfast likely to hit 70%. Rises to around 80-82% if you use 15 Mbps rather than 30 Mbps in Pembrokeshire.

Key will be how much EO gets cabinets and what proportion of FTTP is used.

Posted by welshwarrior over 2 years ago
Where I live (Tenby) they've only applied for planning to do 9 or 10 PCPs by look of it. Luckily, mine is one of them ;)
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
A few questions, Andrew
1) I cannot find the data (in particular for 'rural') in the Aug 2014 OfCom report which enables me to see the data you show. Can you tell me where you found it?
2) I do not see a definition of 'NGA Broadband' in the OfCom report. Is it still >24Mpbps?

Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
Your table does indeed show the woeful status of the rural areas.

Having looked at both your and Point Topic's speed prediction 'colour spots' for my (rural) exchange they are excessively optimistic in several areas. One would thus assume that the "34%" in your table will in fact be lower. How are these 'predictions' to be monitored against reality?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Reality - well people can do speed tests and we get the data and can then correlate them as data sets build up.

Point Topic will be high, ours include distance and if people believe wrong can hand check specific areas.
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
"if people believe wrong can hand check specific areas." - well it is, so what next - what is 'hand check'?

Can you answer my post 1 please?
Posted by PhilCoates over 2 years ago
I am interested in the definition of rural. In Staffordshire it seems to include major towns such as Rugeley, Lichfield, Stafford and Stoke. Certainly the announcements of BDUK funded cabs over the last few weeks has been exclusively Urban.

I am told that this is to complete previous commercial rollouts where BT declined to include some cabs. All, and I mean all, are in densly populated areas.

I am told that BDUK has OK'd the delivery of these cabs.

What are rural dwellers (30 houses/farms along a B-road)supposed to do in these circumstances?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Hand check means I spend an afternoon actually doing a more manual analysis of an area and update estimates if necessary.

Note the 34% with access to NGA in rural UK is an Ofcom figure and do not have the raw data i.e. what postcodes they call rural to confirm it. But NGA available DOES NOT EQUAL Superfast speed available.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
NOTE BDUK projects are not limited by rural/urban definitions. Aim is to get to 90% superfast and if that means just urban areas that are outside commercial footprint then so be it.
Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
Phil - there are many definitions or rural depending on context and who is doing the reporting! however this document published by the EU at least puts a numeric framework in place http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/agrista/rurdev2006/RD_Report_2006_Chapter1.pdf
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
"But NGA available DOES NOT EQUAL Superfast speed available" - this confirms previous. So what does it mean? Fibre somewhere? FTTC cabinet somewhere rural?

If you can provide the data source for the "OfCOm figure" please that would be good.

I can supply you with some very red dots to replace your and PT's green/yellow ones here.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
NGA means postcode has fibre based service, be that FTTC, FTTP or DOCSIS 3 available to properties in it. No data source other than the Ofcom report itself.

If you then describe it as superfast you have applied a speed metric to the qualification.

On the red dots, if you can post them or email then we will look at the data set.
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
"No data source other than the Ofcom report itself." -please see my post 1?

Re "If you then describe it as superfast" - I haven't - you have, throughout your post mixing superfast and NGA with no distinction. The column "premises able to get NGA Broadband" is pretty much meaningless without clarification - a bit like 'homes passed'?
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
I will email a few 'red dots' to replace your greens. It would be helpful I feel if you added black dots to show actual 0Mbps fibre speeds?

I also see 'orange' dots - what are they?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Sorry you feel that I have mixed the columns with no distinction. They are labelled appropriately in my opinion am adding a foot note now under the table to lengthen the explanation.

NGA Broadband is the same as homes passed, just that Ofcom did not call it 'homes passed by fibre broadband'
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
The colours are additive so if you have multiple layers enabled you may get extra colours. Should be red, yellow, green so a postcode of the 'orange' one can be investigated.
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
Any chance of the datasource - I cannot find your data - 4th request?

By the way, your ADSL map for SDWSTCH is hopelessly wrong. No-one gets "8Mbps or more".
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
For the Ofcom data, yes its at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr14/uk/ linked in the item. Could only add it once their link had gone live.

Am sure you will find the page number yourself.
Posted by AndrueC over 2 years ago
South East, West Midlands, East Midlands. Hmmm. Where does that leave South Midlands?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
South Midlands is not a tightly defined region, but comprises of some bits of East of England, South East and East Midlands.
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
"Am sure you will find the page number yourself." I have tried, but cannot see anything like a figure for the 'rural/34%/32%' in your table - any chance you could direct me?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Pages 84,85 and 86 in http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/cmr/cmr14/2014_CMR_Wales.pdf
Posted by mikejp over 2 years ago
Never thought of looking at the Wales pdf for UK rural figures - doh! Silly me.

Email on its way for SDWSTCH.
Posted by PhilCoates over 2 years ago
Gadget, thanks for that. I am definitely in a 'Predominantly Rural' place (>50% of the people living in a density of <150 people per square Km).

The recent Staffordshire cabs are in 'Predominantly Urban' places.

Ed Vaisey still banging on about the 'Rural Broadband Project' clouds the issue and creates misunderstanding.

The most 'rural' BDUK funded cab locally is in an 'Intermediate Region' - 15 - 50% of the population living in areas with density >150 per suare Km.
Posted by Gadget over 2 years ago
Phil - the Eurostat definition is just one, you pay your money and take your pick - but at least there is some quantitative measure behind it and is also recognised by the EU
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