For anyone to enjoy a superfast broadband service it first has to be made available and with the end of 2015 looming ever closer we will feature a monthly summary of where the 12 UK nations and regions stand.
The UK Government set a target of 90% superfast coverage of UK premises initially by the General Election 2015 but with EU State Aid approval and other delays this was subtly shifted to the end of 2015.
The major change in the last month has been that four English regions now have coverage at 24 Mbps or faster. As we are tracking the 90% coverage target we are not including coverage by B4RN, Gigaclear and Hyperoptic in these figures, in the Yorkshire and Humber area we do of course include coverage from KC.
|thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC and Fibre
Broadband Coverage across the nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 6th September 2015
|Area||% fibre based||% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
30 Mbps or faster
|% cable||% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under 15 Mbps|
|South East||94.8%||91.1% (+0.9)||90.2%||47.7%||0.67%||0.4%||6.2%|
|East Midlands||93.5%||90.6% (+0.5)||89.9%||56.3%||0%||0.6%||5.6%|
|North East||92.4%||90.1% (+0.7)||88.9%||50.8%||0%||0.3%||5.7%|
|North West||93%||89.7% (+1.0)||88.9%||44.9%||0.33%||0.7%||7.5%|
|West Midlands||92.3%||89.2% (+1.1)||88.6%||60.6%||0.03%||0.4%||7%|
|East of England||88.7%||84.4% (+0.9)||83.5%||47.1%||0.25%||0.8%||10.4%|
|Yorkshire and Humber||85.5%||81.9% (+1.0)||81%||44.9%||2.02% (KC Lightstream)||0.7%||12.5%|
|South West||86.1%||80.5% (+1.6)||79.3%||39.7%||2.34%||1%||13.5%|
|Northern Ireland||94.5%||76.1% (+1.3)||74.6%||26.7%||0.02%||8.7%||20%|
If the level of improvements is sustained during September we may be talking of 90% availability in the North West and the West Midlands in a few weeks time. The English regions are aggregated on our coverage checker which reveals that in England the over coverage at 24 Mbps or faster is 87.6% (86.9% at 30 Mbps or faster). For the UK overall it is 86.2% with coverage at 24 Mbps or faster (85.4% 30 Mbps or faster).
Of course the improvements in coverage are of no benefit to those who have not actually benefited, or those who have seen their cabinet upgraded to offer VDSL2 but are too far from it to benefit.
Even if you ignore business premises with around 27.5 million households in the UK, the 90% target will clearly mean some 2.75 million will have missed out on superfast, hence phase 2 that is aiming for 95% superfast coverage by the end of 2017. For the final 5% everything hinges on the outcome of various pilots to assess the cost of delivering a superfast service to the final 5% and none of the pilots involve BT which will please many campaigners who feel that BT and Openreach have not delivered on previous promises.
It will be interesting to see how things progress beyond 2015, as the pressure to deliver sooner rather than later on the phase 2 projects and for the final 5% is increasing and the pressure to deliver improvements quickly will often mean that projects will focus on technology that can be delivered quickly, the end result being that while we are seeing increasing amounts of FTTH/FTTP we expect any FTTH solutions in the final 5% to be limited in size due more to time to deploy rather than cost per premise passed.