Anyone who has been following our monthly updates should not be too unduly surprised by the announcement now that the UK has superfast broadband available to 90% of households. Our tracking of what Openreach, KCom and Virgin Media have delivered saw the 90% barrier broken on Tuesday 5th April and the precise figure as of 7th April 2016 is 90.012%, so no rounding up to get to the magic 90%.
To illustrate how things have changed just compare the image of superfast broadband coverage in Great Britain in April 2010 with that of April 2016. For those in Northern Ireland we have not forgotten you, there is our public map and these images from April 2016 and March 2015. For those who prefer a grey scale map we have an April 2016 UK Constituency map.
The 2010 map (UK - 49.8%) is mainly just a map of the Virgin Media footprint with a little VDSL2 from Openreach, when the first BDUK gap funded cabinet was delivered in December 2012 (UK - 67.5%) the map was showing more green but still a long way short of the 90% we have now reached. Importantly there is no sign of the roll-outs slowing down yet and with Virgin Media expanding, KCom announcing an accelerated roll-out in Hull and a more fibre rich roll-out on the way from Openreach (G.fast and FTTP mix) we might start to see the ultrafast figures emulating the last few years superfast ones.
|thinkbroadband calculation of
USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage across the UK, its nations and
regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 7th April 2016
(change since 7th March 2016)
|Area||% fibre based||% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
30 Mbps or faster
100 Mbps or faster
|% Openreach FTTP||% Under 2 Mbps USC||% Under proposed 10 Mbps USO|
|South East||96.8%||93.9% (+0.2)||93.3%||48.9%||0.75%||0.5%||2.7%|
|East Midlands||96.2%||93.8% (+0.6)||93.4%||56.8%||0%||0.5%||2.7%|
|North East||95.1%||93.2% (+0.4)||92.8%||51.1%||0.04%||0.3%||2.3%|
|North West||95.4%||92.5% (+0.6)||91.9%||46.0%||0.48%||0.8%||3.7%|
|West Midlands||94.7%||92.4% (+0.3)||92.0%||61.8%||0.08%||0.5%||3.3%|
|United Kingdom||93.3%||90.0% (+0.5)||89.4%||50.1%||1.02%||0.8%||4.8%|
|East of England||92.3%||88.8% (+0.3)||88.1%||47.8%||0.36%||0.8%||5.3%|
|South West||91.9%||87.0% (+0.9)||86.1%||42.9%||2.59%||1.1%||6.6%|
|Yorkshire and Humber||89.0%||85.8% (+0.5)||85.1%||48.6%||3.19% (includes KCom Lightstream)||0.7%||6.8%|
|Northern Ireland||96.4%||79.5% (+0.8)||77.9%||27.3%||0.10%||7.0%||13.6%|
Northern Ireland has woken up after a period of just extra infill cabinets, as we are now seeing cabinets going live under the Superfast Extension Project (SEP) and this is also happening in other parts of the UK and will continue as the race towards the deadline of 95% in 18 months time. Scotland has at last made the entry level 0.01% Openreach FTTP figure, leaving the East Midlands the only region still counting as zero on that front.
Hopefully the variation across even just the UK regions will help to illustrate how different the coverage can be in the different parts of the UK, and there are still people who are yet to see any change in their broadband service since 2009 but that number is shrinking weekly which probably explains why those still waiting are getting ever more vocal.
While the 24 Mbps 90% target has been reached we are not going to stop tracking the coverage, our next goal is see the 90% breached for 30 Mbps and faster services and then track how the UK is progressing towards the 95% goal, and there will also be the G.fast roll-outs to start tracking. The rise in the Openreach FTTP figures is a mixture of gap funded native FTTP for rural areas and identifying new build estates that have had native FTTP installed in the few 12 months as well as the KCom roll-out in Hull.
Coverage for the slowest users in the UK is improving, but we see more movement in the proposed Universal Service Obligation figure of 10 Mbps compared to the 2 Mbps Universal Service Commitment one, the numbers are dropping but as postcodes falling into the 2 Mbps are often the ones with the least premises the effect on the statistics is often minimal.
From the 400+ local authorities across the UK, there are now just five with superfast coverage under 50%, City Of London, Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), Kingston Upon Hull, Orkney and Shetland Islands. If you look at the 650 Parliamentary Constituencies there are six under 50%, Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), Kingston upon Hull East, Kingston upon Hull North, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Orkney and Shetland and Ross Skye and Lochaber. 433 out of the 650 constituencies are above the 90% mark, 548 at 80% or better, 585 at 75% or better and 610 at 70% or better.