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Superfast broadband coverage progress across UK regions
Tuesday 06 October 2015 15:01:07 by Andrew Ferguson

A month has passed since our last coverage summary and the end of 2015 is rapidly approaching. The end of 2015 is significant since before the soft target of 90% superfast coverage for the 2015 General Election slipped away the various delays to the BDUK process already had the politicians driving the project preferring to use a target of the end of 2015.

Obviously for areas like the bottom 30 constituencies in the chart below hitting 90% coverage at 24 Mbps or faster is not going to happen, but the 90% was a national goal with the various projects setting their own targets, with some aiming for lower than 90% (Scotland) and some higher (Surrey).

Bottom 30 areas of the UK with respect to 30 Mbps superfast broadband covrage
Click image for full size version

So the UK now has five regions above the 90% mark and if coverage continues to grow at the current rates we can expect to see the West Midlands join this group for the November round-up.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 4th October 2015
(change since 6th September 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 95.2% 92.9% (+0.2) 92.6% 66.1% 1.31% 0.3% 3.9%
South East 95.4% 91.7% (+0.6) 90.8% 47.7% 0.68% 0.5% 5.9%
East Midlands 93.8% 91% (+0.4) 90.3% 56.3% 0% 0.6% 5.4%
North East 93% 90.8% (+0.7) 90.4% 50.9% 0% 0.3% 5.3%
North West 93.6% 90.2% (+0.5) 89.5% 44.9% 0.34% 0.7% 7%
West Midlands 92.8% 89.7% (+0.5) 89.1% 60.6% 0.04% 0.5% 6.7%
East of England 89.6% 85.2% (+0.8) 84.3% 47.1% 0.28% 0.8% 9.7%
Yorkshire and Humber 86.6% 83.2% (+1.3) 82.4% 44.8% 2.71% (KC Lightstream) 0.7% 11.4%
Wales 87.2% 82.3% (+0.9) 81% 28.5% 0.23% 0.8% 13.6%
South West 87.4% 81.7% (+1.2) 80.5% 39.7% 2.38% 1.1% 12.7%
Scotland 82.8% 79.2% (+1.6) 78.5% 39% <0.01% 1.1% 13.3%
Northern Ireland 94.5% 76.6% (+0.5) 75% 26.7% 0.03% 8.3% 19.6%

As always you can check your own local constituency and areas coverage levels using our availability checker, we are acutely aware that even in an area which has 95% superfast coverage if you are one of the 5% that being in one of the best served areas does not help you, but that is the problem with project targets that are set for 100%.

The BDUK process and in particular Openreach are openly mocked over the performance of VDSL2 and their use of FTTC and the effect of this can be seen in the difference between the fibre based and superfast coverage figures. This problem is most acute in Northern Ireland but the gap is slowly closing as FTTP overlays appear in some limited areas and new fibre cabinets appear to serve outlying clusters of premises. Where the VDSL2 heavy roll-out does win is the pace at which it can be rolled out and while we know of people waiting for years for their cabinet to be completed, the situation would have been significantly worse if a FTTH heavy roll-out has been used. FTTC has allowed for greater coverage at a speed most people are happy with in a relatively short time frame.

The question moving forward is how far will the commercial operators go with their own current expansion plans. The existing BDUK projects aiming to deliver 95% superfast coverage are starting to get underway and planning for the final 5% carries on. The purely commercial side is looking at 200 Mbps cable broadband available to two thirds of premises in 2017, 10 million premises with access to by 2020 and 10 million FTTH premises via Sky and TalkTalk in the next couple of years.


Posted by Saurus about 1 year ago
At the current rate of expansion (it has taken a year to go from 63% to 66.8%) in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich an increase to 93.4% coverage will take another 7 years and that is on the lousy 24mb that Suffolk set as "Superfast" 30+mb isn't even being considered! So by 2022/3 we might be fortunate (those of us still alive) to actually be able to do more than one thing on more than one device!
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
It is sickening to see the three Hull constituencies languishing in the bottom 10. The two surrounding East Yorkshire constituencies (partly covered by Openreach) are not better off either.

Is that where the entire country would be if we'd gone for an FTTP-rich rollout? I fear it wouldn't even be that good :(

Are your numbers right? TBB's 'local' page reckons that constituency has gone from 61.1% to 66.8% in 6 months. And that measurement is for 30Mbps+, even if the local BDUK project has set 24Mbps+ as the threshold.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
I found an interesting "history" graph on your "local" site. Can you check out "Richmond (Yorks)"?

I'd be interested to see how it managed to get a rise of Superfast coverage from 65% to 73% in just 2 months, while the fibre coverage figures only rose from 90% to 92%

If real, that suggests some hefty re-arrangement of copper going on, with a lot of long lines being moved onto nearer cabinets.
Posted by 21again about 1 year ago
The region of Skye, Ross and Lochaber figures are skewed as the Lochaber area has superfast broadband but there is no superfast broadband in the other areas provided by FTTC, not sure about mobile signals as 2G is available but 3G is dependent on location to masts.
There could be a small number of wireless community projects some of which may now be active in the remoter areas that didn't expect anything from BT.
Posted by ahockings about 1 year ago
Being in the failed phase 2 Devon area and too far from a commercially activated cab, what I want to know is what are BT's plans to roll out FTTRn/Dp in their own areas?
Can I find that out? No, of course not. I mean I wouldn't mind if they told us and said I was looking at around 2019, at least I'd know.
No one... NO ONE tells us anything and I'm just fed up with it. CDS are very responsive on Twitter or even email but "they can't tell me anything, because it's commercial and nothing to do with us"
Arrgghhh!!! I REALLY DON'T CARE about all that crap. Just tell us something!!!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@wwwombat - Easy - found some areas where the positioning information was wrong, as original algorithm was not perfect. New algorithms to spot these errors in the last few months mean removing these pretty swiftly but by hand - if only Streetview did airmiles.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@Saurus The history chart starts January 1st 2015, so nine months.

The aim in Suffolk (signed in the contract) is 85% at 24 Mbps or faster across the county as a whole, and at 81.6% current, with 89% fibre based coverage (target 90%).

We use a more pessimistic range estimate than BT but looks like county is going to get very close to 85% at current rates.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
@ahockings With a 10 million roll-out planned, highly unlikely you will benefit, i.e. if looking to move to a better area then do it rather than wait.

The roll-out is at too early a stage and FTTC experience means that minimal information will be likely, i.e. easier to deal with moans no information than moans of changing/inaccurate information.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
It is perhaps interesting to note that BT's roadmaps have lost any mention of FTTRN (as well as the recent loss of vectoring).
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews Staff.
When you have time can you check the information on Plaistow Exchange as Cab 2 is open for service ofter checking on the PUB number. On Openreach when and where states FTTC/P.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Andrews staff.
I have found a number on Cab 1 which also has service. The above exchange has only a few customers see Sam knows.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago

That probably explains why BT installed a remote node in our village about 18 months ago but it now appears they are going to privide FTTC by installing a cabinet instead.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Not sure they were ever going to provide a remote node -- think it was more likely to be a new cab
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
FTTC at Plaistow exchange is very new - probably within the last week.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
The engineer who installed it was sure.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chil
Yes it was in the last week because I checked the pub number over the mix up between exchanges over the coverage of Dunsfold. It could turn out that the customers on Plaistow will have a very hight fibre access very near the 100% coverage. I am watching Northchaple Exchange and Haslemere CAb 26 Fernhurst WS the fibre boys are cabling.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
They actually installed it, but never got it working? Or it worked, and is now being upgraded to a full cabinet?

FTTRN was still in the roadmaps at the start of the year, and still mentioned as being trialled through spring and summer.
Posted by gerarda about 1 year ago
Never got it working. The assumption was that BT were waiting to include it in the SEP contract so that BDUK would pick up most of the tab, our area having been dropped from the commercial rollout after the first BDUK contract was signed.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Not sure about the coverage. The lines were all exchange only, so they are likely to snake around a lot!
We will have to wait and see.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chil
If all the exchange lines (200) were EO I would not think 900 Mtres of ducting to Durfold Wood they would use copper but fibre thus of loading the old exchange using the churn rate over time.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
If Openreach were really clever they could test Long Reach VDSL2 on the Plaistow exchange - it has never had any ADSL.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
chtiling I assume that one of west sussex exchanges that opted out of Broadband 1 to do a wireless deployment
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
Interesting that properties in Plaistow show on the checker as only having FTTC available.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Yes, Kijoma have been serving them for years. I guess that there won't be that many takers for FTTC. I think WSCC helped fund the original project about 10 years, or more, ago.
No FTTP as far as i know and certainly no ASDL.
Posted by Somerset about 1 year ago
@chilting - all who take a Sky package?
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Somerset.
There will be no showing on Plaistow Exchange for FTTC/P because the ducting was only finished this week to Durfold Wood to cover 25% of the exchange load, get the FTTC first on then overlay with fibre to the DPs on the long overhead the fibre boys are starting roll.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Yes, I see the FTTP now. Durfold Wood is a couple of miles from the exchange.
In the absence of ASDL Openreach are installing FTTP. NB. All the lines were EO before they started work, presumably the new cabinets are both close to the exchange.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Chil.
So it is starting to look that the long lines are starting to be over layed where possible with fibre. Yesterday received a request on barring of numbers on a bus line not being able to order FTTC at a range of 1500 mtrs checked route with iPad . I think it will be serviced with fibre to the DP.s covering many more customers eating into the 5%.
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