Skip Navigation


South East, East Midlands and London hit 90% superfast broadband targets
Friday 07 August 2015 11:45:20 by Andrew Ferguson

After a little confusion caused by the Ofcom Communications Report with some not knowing the difference between fibre and superfast definitions we felt it would be prudent to share our own data on coverage in the nations and regions of the UK.

Plot of broadband availability at 30 Mbps superfast speeds across the UK

The rather large image above that attempts to show all the local authorities gives a nice graphical summary of where we stand and while the coverage is still someway below the national target on the left hand side this chart is changing weekly particularly as areas like Scotland and Wales are now starting to deal with the some of the more poorly served areas. Of course until coverage hits 100% in every part of the UK at speeds that make everyone happy we will keep seeing committee meetings about why area xyz has worse coverage than area abc.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the nations and regions
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 4th August 2015
Area % fibre based % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% cable % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 15 Mbps
London 94% 92.3% 91.9% 66.1% 1.3% 0.4% 4.4%
South East 94.5% 90.2% 89.4% 47.7% 0.7% 0.8% 7.1%
East Midlands 93.3% 90.1% 89.4% 56.3% 0% 0.8% 6%
North East 91.8% 89.4% 88.9% 50.8% 0% 0.4% 6.2%
North West 92.2% 88.7% 88% 44.9% 0.3% 0.8% 8.1%
West Midlands 91.8% 88.1% 87.4% 60.6% 0% 1.2% 8.2%
East of England 88.2% 83.5% 82.6% 47.1% 0.2% 1.2% 11.5%
Yorkshire and Humber 84.9% 80.9% 80% 44.9% 1.8% 1% 13.5%
Wales 85.6% 79.6% 78.3% 28.5% 0.2% 1.5% 15.9%
South West 85.2% 78.9% 77.7% 39.7% 2.3% 1.5% 15.2%
Scotland 80.3% 76.5% 75.7% 39% <0.1% 1.3% 15.7%
Northern Ireland 94.5% 74.8% 73.3% 26.7% <0.1% 9.9% 21.5%

Perhaps the most important statistics are not the coverage at superfast levels, but how the regions are performing at the USC level and apart from Northern Ireland this actually does not look that bad and may explain politicians and local authorities are favouring a satellite based solution for USC coverage, since it can be deployed quickly and while not giving a perfect solution will make e-mail and other critical tasks achievable.

The rural nature of Northern Ireland outside the big cities is clear from the big gulf between fibre availability and superfast speeds, but we are seeing changes as infill cabinets and network rearrangement takes place to give people better speeds from VDSL2 and even the start of the some FTTP roll-out.

Comments

Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
The NI sub USC figures are all the more shocking given the spin over the extent of superfast coverage there as far back as 2011 and 2012.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
I feel the speeds that are under the USC 2 meg as a % are not as bad as recorded because they have been left in the formate and other systems are available which overwrites the results.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@blackmamba Are you attempting to say that other solutions such as fixed wireless and satellite broadband are often available and thus the USC coverage figure is not as bad as it looks?
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Sounds like he's confusing the coverage calculation with your speed-test database.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
If they are, then it has been explained several times before to them that the two are NOT linked.

Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
It would be an interesting exercise to turn the percentages for those getting less than 2Mbps into actual properties and then work out roughly how many properties would be need to be covered by each regional satellite beam.
If satellite vouchers are offered the take up is likely to be quite high - customers will probably give it a punt because they have nothing to loose.
If the service cannot cope it will be the Government that gets it in the neck.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Hardly a difficult exercise, works out at 360,000 premises across the UK, 70,000 are in Northern Ireland roughly.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chi.
My customer that I am dealing with who was on a line at 1.1 miles ZEN and with a speed at 1.8 meg down did pay for a sat system but found it was nor reliable and had it recovered after a month. (not due to money ). He then ordered FTTC but at 1.1 miles the systems keeps dropping from 10-----3 meg down at this moment in time it is with SCC as he is classed under the 15 meg window.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba
I am glad that you now realize that it is distance from the cabinet and not speed test results that actually fixes broadband speeds.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chi.
As I was employed on PCM 24/30 Ch back in 1970 where regenerators set distance were used on trunk cable pairs on two meg systems because of the power loss and error correction these systems were ( soaked) checked over 6 weeks for x talk or split pairs plus HR connections . I also worked on the long lines when the exchange areas were extended to cut out the small exchanges.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Thinking more about the USC percentages ... these appear to be very good numbers. Back at one of the parliamentary committees, BT had said they expect that supplying FTTC for BDUK phase 1 would have the side-effect of supplying USC to 97%.

These figures suggest that a lot more is being covered.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting

Hylas-1 puts two beams over the UK: one for Scotland and Ireland, one for England+Wales. Hylas-2 does the same.

Ka-sat puts 7 beams over the UK, but 2-3 get shared with ireland, France and Belgium. I used to use this map:
http://www.satsig.net/tooway/tooway-satellite.htm
but find this better:
http://www.s296576215.websitehome.co.uk/satellitebroadband.html
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting
For reference, the last discussion on capacity & percentages was on this article:
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/7011-avonline-launches-up-to-30-mbps-satellite-broadband.html
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@WWWombat
Thank you for all the info. The bottom line seems to be that satellite could only be offered to fix the USC if speeds are heavily throttled back otherwise capacity will quickly be overwhelmed.
Therefore, customers who sign up with a satellite provider may well get a better speed than those who get satellite vouchers?
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi CHi
When I am in Spain the Danish and Norwegians in camper vans use wireless or broadband for their home local news as they are unable to get this information via their Sat this causes congestion on my Internet connection at 2100 hours.
In Spain the USC is 5 meg not 2 meg as UK.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting
Yes - satellite usage needs to be controlled, as it could easily be overwhelmed.

You would hope that the superfast rollout is causing some of the existing users, especially high-load ones, to swap to the newly-available fixed lines. That should relieve pressure. Ultimately, the phase 3 (FiWi?) work will be needed for the complete effect.

I imagine (but have no proof) that the satellite operators can partition the usage so that one class of users cannot overwhelm other classes (who probably pay more). Which classes suffer most would be up for judgement...
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Satellite can and has run bad boy pipes in the past and some speed tests people have on satellite point to suddenly being faster just after midnight, so either usage is a sharp cliff or artificial controls in place.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
So a BDUK satellite contract issued to give the user 2Mbps could simply be for just that and not much more.
Looking at Avonline they offer a basic 24 month package that offers up to 5Mbps for £9.99 per month with free installation at the moment plus a £50 connection charge. Presumably this is the sort of package that would be offered to meet the USC, without the ability to upgrade???
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Who has said anything official about the satellite contract being for a 2 Mbps service?

Very little has been said official, but suspect that any voucher will simply underwrite cost of any install fees and do nothing for monthly costs.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Its a bit of a catch22 for BDUK. If they offer a good speed satellite service it may not deliver because the service will be overwhelmed. If they don't offer enough they risk antagonizing customers who don't get the the USC. I am not sure that there is a happy medium.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chi
I would think that the costing will be to the Post Code Tolal customers at 15 Meg this could be covered by the above, G.fast and overhead fibre. I do know that Surrey CC tried to lower this target to 10 meg down in phase 1 as Ofom was contented with 8 meg down. Surrey is attempting to cover these Post Codes with the money in the OMR.
Posted by cooperfarncombe about 1 year ago
Satellite was always going to be the politicians answer to the USC, but it is not an answer to the need for scalable infrastructure that can take the UK into the future. While 2Mbps may help those that currently have next to nothing, the way thinks are going 2Mbps or even the current average will soon also be next to nothing. What then? How will the infrastructure be improved?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
But satellite people say they can do superfast!
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Yes they can do superfast for a few but can they accommodate another 360,000 premises at superfast speeds?
Posted by cooperfarncombe about 1 year ago
@ Andrew - they would say that, wouldn't they? Unscalable infrastructure in the sky is the same as unscalable infrastructure on the ground. What happens when faster than superfast is demanded? All copper based solutions have limitations and every user of satellite I have met does not use it by choice.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chil.
There will be only a few (2000) that will only have access to satellite after G.Fast and the by passing fibre from the FTTC to the home ( Post Code local DP) plus the over lapping or exstending overhead fibre. I would exspect Openreach will use regeneration units powered by DC from the FTTC where cost effective all this is determined by what the customer will pay.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba
If as expected BT roll out G.Fast I think that it will be a commercial only roll out in urban areas.
Apart from a few loose ends in BDUK 2 and using the claw back money I think that the BDUK projects with Openreach won't do much more.
It would take a totally new initiative with a considerable amount of public money to roll out G.Fast into rural areas and we would have to wait again.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@Andrew
Little might have been said officially, but this webpage suggests there are a 1,000 subsidies available for Scotland and NI, with up to £500 to cover installation (not monthly). Funding by BDUK suggests it is pretty official!
https://www.europasat.com/product-chooser/regional-offers/broadband-delivery-uk-funding-bduk/
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
To me, satellite is always going to be the last resort for some people - here, and elsewhere. Even NBN has a satellite portion, and will launch 2 satellites.

They can handle USC speeds, though obviously a limited number of subscribers. They can handle superfast speeds, but even fewer subscribers (though more satellites are due).

BDUK's job is to first get USC support, later get fixed landline and fixed wireless support, to enough premises that satellite can cope with the residual demand.

If speed demands increase, the answer is the same: move some more subs off satellite so it can cope.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting
I'm not sure the economics of G.fast require it to be kept to urban areas.

To keep it cheap, it needs to be close to fibre and power.

Power solutions look like either being forward-fed from FTTC node location, or reverse-fed from CPE; there looks to be little urban advantage here.

The FTTC rollout, even if BDUK-funded, brings fibre equally close in both urban and rural locations. Extending an extra 300m, 700m, 1km, might even be easier in rural areas.
...
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
To me, G.fast deployment isn't automatically going to be limited to urban areas. It seems equally viable in any place that FTTC has already been.

The places that may need subsidy for ultrafast are those on the longest lines from FTTC cabs, in tiny clusters, and those whom FTTC never reached anyway.

With BT expecting a 10-year rollout, we're a long way from such considerations.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@WWWombat Aware of the devolved and some local schemes, but as in DCMS UK wide announcement nothing yet.

Maybe should put in a bid to be paid for adding a link on our checker where fixed is slow to point people at right satellite scheme.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
"The places that may need subsidy for ultrafast are those on the longest lines from FTTC cabs, in tiny clusters, and those whom FTTC never reached anyway"
These are the areas that BDUK 3 needs to target with fixed wireless as a long term final solution.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrew Staff.
I would think that a link on your checker to a Post Code under 2 or 5 meg would give all sales persons using all systems an initiative to get out there and sell their product this could be highlighted in flashin red.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
The results on the new Post Code Checker are much better as the 180 days are removed. I have been checking on Post Code Gu266DD but I feel the base number of 1000 mtres is two wide because on GU102 NZ you have 250 Mtres both codes are close to the borders Surrey and Hants. Which base figure you use the results give a better running graph. On post code Gu266DD I am running the results down .
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chi.
Check your post code for results in your area as you stated that you were 2k from Cab. FTTC and you were in the 2 meg band.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@blackmamba See note on page you are talking about: "Speed test results are based on the analysis of speed tests people have carried out in the last 180 days for the area around a postcode. The size of the area is indicated and varies based on the density of speed tests carried out in an area."
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@Blackmamba
The information for my postcode is correct.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
@chilting
Can agree on that. Not sure whether we will end up with a hybrid g.fast node, that can be reverse-powered but support a wireless backhaul. That might change the equation somewhat...

@Andrew
Things do seem to be dragging from the central DCMS perspective. I'd have thought we'd have heard something by now, with election all settled.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
@WWWombat
The problems down here in West Sussex are mainly caused by the existing layout of the copper network. The long lines from 4 different cabinets all snake together down the country lanes. Any upgrade would involve lots of new ducting.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
Thanks for your remarks .yes I did miss the area radius 250,500,1000.and have checked many other post code.i still feel a basic radius of 250 Mtres would give a better result on the 2meg---5meg window this would push the results up the Higheracky.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
I have just checked my daughters line on Post Code IP83LY off Copdock Exchange and she has access to (FTTC CAB 1 ) her speed results are correct radius 1k but not showing FTTC (over 1.1 mile from Cab ). I found her results were removed after 128 days on Thinkbroadband Map she is with Plusnet see your data. It could be all the post codes on Cab1 have not been updated.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@blackmamba You may not be aware but when we publish 2 Mbps USC coverage data the speed test data is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT, something that has been communicated to you buffer.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@blackmamba EACOP has had a lot of EO work done and takes time to figure that all out due to volume of changes going on
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
EACOP has jumped the queue and should be better Thursday morning
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andew staff.
Thanks.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
http://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/?postcode=IP8%203GL

EACOP changes are in place and live along with all the analysis it implies on coverage.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
Thanks for work on Cab1 Copdock and Post codes only have to wait untill extra access ( tie or cards) provided new date Sep 9 for these (Res and Bus lines).
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews staff.
Checked today on above post code it is OK ,this location would be ideal for G.Fast as fibre could run overhead from the Cab node it is aprox 1. Mile costing low due to low man hours (100).
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Glad to see the UK stats are being generated daily changed in the last two hours thus giving good results just hope it cascades down to the post codes radius areas.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
I will repeat, the postcode radius used is determined by the number of speed tests we see from postcodes in the area.

Nothing to do with the coverage data.

I would not mind but the difference between the two sets of data has been explained to you several times before.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.