Skip Navigation


Goodbye 2015 and England now very close to 90% superfast target
Thursday 07 January 2016 11:18:49 by Andrew Ferguson

Time for our monthly round-up of the level of broadband coverage in the UK and it has been a busy month, with some parts of Scotland that did not even have ADSL gaining FTTC and England getting to within 0.2% of the main BDUK 90% superfast coverage goal.

Our public tracking site over at labs.thinkbroadband.com/local has also had a few changes with the historical roll-out data extended back to 2010 and coverage at ultrafast speeds of 100 Mbps or faster added. The new ultrafast figures are the only ones that include providers like Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, IFNL, CityFibre, B4RN, Aylesbury Vale Broadband on top of the cable broadband and FTTP from Openreach, so if you are an ultrafast broadband provider and not featured in the postcode search do get in touch.

Superfast Broadband the 30 worst served areas of the UK
Thirty Local Authorities with the least superfast broadband coverage

The thirty worst local authorities shows a distinct change in the last month, as now just six authorities have coverage under 50%, the four most rural parts of Scotland, the City of London (population just 7,300) and Kingston Upon Hull where due to the FTTH roll-out by KC it will take till 2020 to reach the 90% or better coverage levels.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the UK, its nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 7th January 2016
(change since 7th December 2015)
Area % fibre based % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% cable % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under 10 Mbps USO
London 95.5% 93.3% (+0.1) 93% 66.1% 1.37% 0.3% 1.8%
East Midlands 95.5% 92.7% (+0.3) 92.1% 56.3% 0% 0.6% 3.2%
South East 96.3% 92.6% (+0.3) 91.9% 47.7% 0.73% 0.5% 2.9%
North East 94.6% 92.6% (+0.5) 92.1% 50.9% 0.04% 0.3% 2.6%
North West 95% 91.6% (+0.4) 90.8% 44.9% 0.38% 0.8% 4.2%
West Midlands 93.9% 91.1% (+0.6) 90.5% 60.6% 0.07% 0.5% 3.8%
England 93.3% 89.8% (+0.4) 89.1% 51.1% 1.11% 0.7% 4.5%
United Kingdom 92.5% 88.7 (+0.5) 87.9% 48.5% 0.95% 0.8% 5.3%
East of England 91.5% 87.4% (+0.3) 86.6% 47.1% 0.32% 0.9% 5.9%
Wales 89.6% 85.1% (+1.3) 83.8% 28.5% 0.31% 0.9% 8.7%
South West 90.3% 84.7% (+1.2) 82.9% 39.7% 2.5% 1.1% 7.6%
Yorkshire and Humber 88% 84.5% (+0.4) 83.6% 44.8% 2.98% (KC Lightstream) 0.8% 7.5%
Scotland 86.1% 82.1% (+0.5) 81.3% 39% <0.01% 1.3% 9.2%
Northern Ireland 94.8% 77.7% (+0.1) 76.1% 26.7% 0.06% 7.3% 14.1%

Wales and the South West had the two biggest changes in the last month and while overall the amount of FTTP in Wales is still small it is growing and we believe that there is more on the way. We believe Scotland has some FTTP planned but no sign of it appearing in the wild yet, beyond the Commonwealth Village in Glasgow.

While not available on our checker we are now able to generate maps for individual council areas that are much smaller than our previous map area of a Parliamentary Constituency, the use of Census areas allows us to show areas where the population is grouped into lots of 5,000 to 15,000 people. England has over 6,000 of these areas and therefore the maps are much more useful in quickly identifying how uniform or not the coverage is in a council area.

Northumberland divided up into Census Areas to show spread of Superfast Broadband

Comments

Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
No surprise to see my council, Mid-Suffolk, on the worst list, a position unlikely to change in the near future as planned coverage to September 2016 is only for less than another 3%.

Any resaon why the East of England has been left out of the results table?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 11 months ago
No reason other than a mistake, have now added them to the list. Goes and makes another coffee as that's usual reason for slacking.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
Excellent news, BDUK should be proud, but it should not be seen as a final solution. BDUK need impetus for further improvement via routes other than fixed line broadband. My cabinet in West Chiltington only manages 85% superfast coverage with about 10% under the 2Mbps USC - only a new FTTP network would solve this problem. I guess that their and many other similar examples around the country. A new FTTP network would never be financially viable but Fixed Wireless will hopefully soon be a reality, however BDUK have not helped get this project of the ground - they need to be far more proactive.
Posted by csimon 11 months ago
"FTTP in Wales is still small,it is growing": Mentioned before but you are only measuring what can be ordered not what can be supplied.I'm still waiting after 5.5mths.At time of order,ISP said they already had one waiting for 7mths,I assume it must have been a few more weeks if they have got it at all by now.Yes only a small proportion but none of my neighbours that I know of has succesfully achieved an order so how we do know this is not the same picture everywhere? BTOR haven't been able to supply with such small numbers never mind an ever increasing amount.
Posted by csimon 11 months ago
PS. My install was actually supposed ot behappening tomorrow but I got a phone call from Openreach on Tuesday, cancelling it. No further date set as yet. This has been the story all along for almost 3 years, first with Superfast Cymru stalling, psuhing it back every 3 months and not saying why, now Openreach continually delaying and postponing.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 11 months ago
@csimon If you want us to cross check and mark your bit of FTTP as not available then we can do that. Just need to know where to look.

We know its not the picture everywhere, as some of the FTTP is found when we spot people live on the faster than FTTC versions.
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
@chilting Proud of what? Neglect of the worst broadband areas? Choosing a framework that resulted in only one bidder? Specifying a solution that was not fit for rural areas? Failing to negotiate an extension to the state aid approval in time? Allowing BT to wriggle out of the 2Mbps for all requirement?
Posted by ampthilldon 11 months ago
@csimon, how can I contact you ? I may be able to help.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@gerarda
My main point is that BDUK still have more to do. But they have delivered what they were asked to do with the funding they were given. FTTC clearly isn't a long term solution but in the real world it was the best that we were ever going to get. I am not sure what a new FTTP network for the UK would cost and how long it would take to install but Hull may give us some idea.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
Mapping the data at a local level is invaluable. The inevitable and inescapable conclusion is that many remote rural communities (homes and businesses) are on their own. The best way forward? Community funded and owned wireless networks (personal opinion). Not easy, but not impossible. Endeavouring to engage with the BDUK process is as pointless as pissing into the wind (unless you enjoy that sort of thing).
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
It seems to be a repeat of the ADSL rollout 10 or 12 years ago. Public money to get BT to go to areas they probably would have gone to eventually anyway and neglect of the areas that really need subsidy.

Be interesting to see what percentage of ADSL notspots have been improved so far.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@RuralWire
I totally agree about the wireless networks. We are well on the way to getting an additional new commercial network in West Sussex. The problem is one of credibility and promotion/publicity. It would be so useful to get BDUK backing, if not cash, for these projects.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@gerarda
I think that you are missing the point. The fact is that there isn't a fixed line solution for these areas, unless you install a new FTTP network. BDUK need to find other solutions, hence the need to promote Fixed Wireless.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
@chilting - Credibility? Wireless is a tried and tested technology in the oil and gas industry (offshore, ship-to-shore connectivity etc) and the military in places far more remote, rugged and hostile than anything you'll find here in the UK. As for advertising, marketing and promoting what's likely to be available where you live, surely there is no substitute for community engagement, even if that means you and yours taking a door-to-door approach (homes and businesses). I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for any assistance courtesy of BDUK.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@RuralWire
We know the potential, unfortunately many people don't. There is no doubt that official backing would be a great advantage and a short cut to success. At the moment Fixed Wireless is a big punt for any investor, that will need to change. If we are to get superfast broadband for the final 5% and as the frailty of FTTC emerges for many more consumers some sort of official backing will be vital.
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
@chilting My point is that BDUK knew that back in 2012 and if their priorities had been correct they could have sorted out the worst areas by now
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
@chitling - Have you tried seeking some form of official backing from your Parish/Borough/District Council(s)? More likely than not, the County Council and BDUK are only going to be interested in officially backing what BT has to offer, which I am assuming, in your case, comes in the shape of a satellite broadband voucher.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@gerarda
I think their priority was progress and quick results. Now that their task is almost complete it is important to make sure that the momentum continues.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@RuralWire
We have had lots of support, including WSCC, but unfortunatly nothing oficial that apparantly has to come from BDUK. Satelite vouchers have been officially offered in West Sussex and this also undermines efforts to promote Fixed Wireless because some people see this as the better option because it has official backing. We have had no luck at all extending the Satelite voucher scheme to include Fixed Wireless - this would clearly be a game changer.
Posted by WWWombat 11 months ago
@ruralwire
Wireless might be tried and tested in niche areas - and even in rugged environments. That's great, as far as it goes.

Where it needs to go next is something closer to mass market. That means a lot more people. A lot more traffic. A lot more potential for congestion.

Unfortunately, it also means less technical knowledge. Less ability to troubleshoot. More hand-holding. More support.

Both are elements that demand a lot more time and effort.
Posted by WWWombat 11 months ago
@gerarda
As per my last comment, the problem with wireless is its ability to cope with demand.

Wireless offers three things: Coverage. Capacity. Cheapness. But you can only pick two from those three.

If BDUK put wireless in place in 2012, they'd have demand from 25% of the country, and would fail to cope. It would be decried as worse than satellite - and would never regain its reputation.

Or they could use high prices per GB, like satellite and 4G, to scare away demand.
...
Posted by WWWombat 11 months ago
You're left with two catch 22's:

Wireless can only cope with demand once a fixed network has been put in place to take away most of the demand. Catch-22 #1.

Even if you wanted to put wireless in, to cope with this demand, the solution would need a lot of masts and pervasive backhaul to support them. So it would still depend on the backing of a fixed network. Catch-22 #2.
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
66% of the country was already covered by FTTC. In the face of a credible fixed wireless threat BT would have extended their coverage - lets say conservatively to 75%. Take up in the final 25% would clearly be a lot higher than 20% given how poor the existing services were - lets say 40%. That means that fixed wireless and any hybrid solutions would only face demand from 10% not 25%. Working out from the worst served places first would allow time to build or strengthen infrastructure.
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
Its not as if we are starting from nothing. There are or were a lot of altnets that could have done a job with the levels of subsidy doled out. Our village alone is entitled to £32,000 of satellite vouchers and then someone is going to be subsidised to put a long term solution in place at probably the same cost again.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
Will rural upland communities ever offer something approaching a mass market/commercial proposition to WISPs as you suggest? Presumably, there is nothing intrinsically flawed or untoward with such communities facing up to and taking on board the ownership and funding of such projects, if they wish to do so, when the alternatives that are currently on offer involve either accepting the existing state of affairs or the offer of a satellite broadband voucher.
Posted by gerarda 11 months ago
No it's far too late for a mass market proposition. This was something that needed to have been put in place in 2012 before BT was allowed to cherry pick where it wanted to go. A contract for say 50 communities like ours per county would have been an attractive proposition
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
@gerarda - My mistake. My comment was in response to the comments made by WWWombat about wireless technology, but I understand what you have said and why.
@chilting - On a superficial level, I can understand why some folk might choose satellite over wireless given what you have said about the official backing on offer for satellite by West Sussex. Perhaps those folk will need to be given the time to find out about the limitations of satellite technology the hard way.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@RuralWire
Yes, I guess they will find out the hard way, when it comes to satellite, I only hope that they don't tar Fixed Wireless with the same brush.
As for small rural communities setting up their own networks. I think that the NFU have a role here. Their members have the mast sites, they can coordinate, deal with the bureaucrats and commission suitable contractors.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
@chilting - Land owners have a part to play that's for sure. The landed estates, where I live in North Yorkshire, have stepped in on a number of occasions and funded projects directly with BT to secure the delivery of access to superfast broadband for the rural businesses on their estates.
Posted by chilting 11 months ago
@RuralWire
Its much better if the landowner has a vested interested in getting an improved service. Farmers have quite rightly be complaining about their internet speeds for years. If the NFU could offer a solution, many would jump at the chance and help with the installation.
Posted by RuralWire 11 months ago
@chilting - The NFU represent the majority of farmers in England and Wales, but in land mass terms, they do not represent the majority of land owners in all parts of the UK. For example, where I live, a significant proportion of the farms are tenanted and the overwhelming majority of the land (hundreds of square miles) is owned by not more than a handful of landed estates. That pattern of land ownership is not uncommon. No doubt BDUK are aware of such issues if they are intending to delivery some form of comprehensive wireless broadband coverage to the final 3% at some point in time.
Posted by tallmattuk 11 months ago
Andrew, how can I get one of these diagrams for Calderdale. It would be really useful in a project I'm working on
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 11 months ago
Will tweet something from @thinkbroadband which shows as East West divide across the council area
Posted by csimon 11 months ago
@ampthilldon: "how can I contact you?I may be able to help"

Thankyou but I don't think there is anything you can do! It's just red tape & OR being inefficient. It takes a few weeks between each stage. First there were surveys, then it had to be written up, then waiting on approval, then a delay for some reason, then waiting for one new pole to be erected, then 2 wks later 2 poles were replaced. The team came to put the fibre up on 31st Dec but found trees needed cutting, so that's now been requested.
Posted by csimon 11 months ago
<cont> Latest is: "An A55 request has been received by the tree cutting team who have advised that they in process of the estimate being raised which a date of the 13/01 has been provided for the estimate to be raised by. We were advised once the estimate has been raised a completion date would then be provided by the contract team who will be carrying out the works.". People say this red tape was worse in public ownership, I find it hard to believe...
Posted by csimon 11 months ago
<cont> There's basically been umpteen separate teams working on this, at infrequent periods, over the last 6 months. Each time one task is completed, it results in a request for another team to do some work, and of course the request just goes to the end of the list. It's not actually a difficult job, it's getting fibre from the road up to my house which is 150m away. It's what they do, it's their job, but it takes so long. For example - the branch pruning. Why did no-one spot this before the team was sent in two large vans with all the equipment to put the fibre up?
Posted by csimon 11 months ago
I heard from a neighbour today: " i should have been connected 22/12, they didnt turn up at all, then a new date of 31st Dec was set, that i wasnt even told about, but was cancelled anyway, and now its 9th Feb for new date - fuming". She too has been waiting since last summer. Openreach are a real shambles here. But I'm so pleased they attend promptly to places that already have good services.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.