Skip Navigation

November update on UK superfast and ultrafast broadband coverage
Monday 07 November 2016 09:13:51 by Andrew Ferguson

Its the 7th of the month, so once more its time to publish our monthly round-up of the state of play for fixed line broadband coverage in the various regions of the UK.

With all the negative broadband coverage news items relating to London it seems to go against the grain, but London has hit the 95% superfast coverage target due for the end of 2017 at both 24 Mbps and 30 Mbps. Hitting the 95% is welcome news, but still means at least 200,000 premises don't have a fixed line superfast option yet in the London region. This is the result of the various commercial roll-outs by Openreach, Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, IFNL, Community Fibre and then a number of privately funded cabinets via Openreach. East Midlands and the North East are also there, but only for the faster than 24 Mbps figures.

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 6th November 2016
(change since 7th October 2016)
Area % fibre based % superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
% Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under proposed 10 Mbps USO
London 96.3% 95.2% (+0.1) 95% 68.8% (+0.3) 1.61% 0.1% 1.1%
North East 96.4% 95% (+0.5) 94.6% 51.6% (+0.1) 0.05% 0.2% 1.8%
East Midlands 97.3% 95% (+0.3) 94.5% 57.5% (+0.1) 0.01% 0.5% 2.2%
South East 97.4% 94.9% (+0.2) 94.4% 50.6% (+1) 0.85% 0.4% 2%
West Midlands 96.5% 94.3% (+0.3) 93.8% 62.8% (+0.2) 0.13% 0.4% 2.4%
North West 96.6% 93.3% (+0.3) 93.3% 46.8% (+0.2) 0.7% 0.8% 3.2%
England 95.4% 92.8% (+0.3) 92.2% 54% (+0.3) 1.37% 0.6% 3.2%
United Kingdom 95% 91.9% (+0.3) 91.3% 51.2% (+0.3) 1.22% 0.8% 3.8%
East of England 94% 90.7% (+0.3) 90% 50.5% (+0.2) 0.45% 0.7% 4.3%
Rest Of Scotland 92.6% 89.5% (+0.6) 88.9% 44.5% (+0.2) 0.07% 1.4% 5.4%
South West 94.4% 89.5% (+0.3) 88.6% 43.7% (+0.2) 2.81% 1.1% 5.2%
Wales 93.8% 89.5% (+0.3) 88.3% 30.2% (+0.1) 1.26% 0.9% 6.3%
Yorkshire and Humber 91% 88.4% (+0.7) 87.8% 50.2% (+0.4) 3.81% (includes KCom Lightstream) 0.7% 5.4%
Scotland 91.4% 87.6% (+0.7) 86.8% 40.5% (+0.2) 0.06% 1.3% 6.8%
Northern Ireland 97.4% 80.9% (+0.2) 79.2% 28% (+0.1) 0.19% 6.7% 12.7%
Highlands and Islands 80.1% 67.4% (+0.6) 65.3% 0.02% (=) 0.02% 5.9% 26%

Highlands and Islands once more show a big rise in coverage but still have lots more to do, importantly there are exchanges that only had ADSL available before, that are now skipping ADSL2+ and going straight to VDSL2. In the future with no LLU at these exchanges we hope they will be prime candidates for any Long Reach VDSL2 (LR-VDSL2) roll-out to give those at distances over 1.5km a significant boost.

KCom in Hull comprise some 0.2% of the improvement in the Yorkshire and Humber region and Kingston Upon Thames is the test bed to show whether lower levels of superfast coverage in the short to medium term due to utilising superior FTTP technology is better than quickly rolling out VDSL2. The UK courtesy of Virgin Media does already have areas like Worthing, Stevenage, Luton, Nottingham, Portsmouth and others with over 90% ultrafast coverage, an often overlooked fact in the race to bring the utilitarian superfast services to 95% of premises and if the platitudes are not vacuous beyond that to 96% and more.

While no targets were set for individual parliamentary constituencies, the depth of the superfast coverage can be judged by the 464 out of 650 that are at 90% or better for the 24 Mbps superfast broadband definition (529 at >= 85%, 582 at >=80%, 613 at >= 75% and only 26 under 70%). A surprising 332 constituencies actually have superfast coverage at 95% or better.


Posted by gerarda 6 months ago
A minor part of the improvement in the east of England needs to be reversed. Our new cabinet was open for orders for a week in October but is now now longer taking and showing ready for service date of 17 January.
Posted by michaels_perry 6 months ago
Noticeable that the South West lags well behind the rest of the UK in even reaching the 2 mbps mark! About time this rural dived was seriously addressed and resolved.
Posted by gillsbay 6 months ago
@michaels_perry, perhaps that should behind England, as Northern Ireland and Scotland are behind the South West, these constitute a large part of the United Kingdom
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 6 months ago
@Gerarda did people get to order in that period and its now just a capacity issue, or did cabinet fail when first customer went live? If later then can and have removed others until such time as live in the normal sense.
Posted by Kebabselector 6 months ago
@Andrew does the 'Under proposed 10 Mbps USO' percentage just cover postcodes covered by Openreach?
Posted by New_Londoner 6 months ago
I'm pretty sure the root cause of the poor performance of the South West is the rather pathetic posturing by "Connecting Devon & Somerset". If that august body had completed its negotiations and signed a contract then there would be a chance of more coverage.

Instead it re-started negotiations from scratch, so might possibly have a contract in place by the end of this year or early next. It's way behind its counterparts around the country, most of which are already seeing their equivalent contracts starting to deliver.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 6 months ago
10 Mbps USO and USC postcodes are based around any fixed line service that we track, so Openreach, Virgin Media, Gigaclear and others
Posted by gerarda 6 months ago
@andrew - as I understand it, as a wall of silence has descended around Openreach and Better Broadband Suffolk, the cabinet was opened to orders with only 8 active lines, as a test, and closed when these were taken. This was supposed to then be a period in which the live to live transfers were done, but that has run into major problems resulting for example in the loss of my service and no solution has yet been found so the ready for service date was put back 3 months.
Posted by gerarda 6 months ago
@New Londoner - I understood it was posturing by BT and their insistence on upgrading the better provided areas ahead of the not spots that caused the breakdown in negotiations with CDS.
Posted by New_Londoner 6 months ago
Clearly neither of us was in the room, however I note that CDS announced the end of those negotiations early, suggesting that it decided to walk away. Odd if it had no plan B!

If your reference to not spots is a suggestion to adopt an outside in approach to network build, I doubt any company would opt to do that if it also had value for money obligations in its contract.

It will be interesting to see what CDS manages to deliver through its new contract in terms of timescales, levels of coverage and cost.
Posted by jumpmum 6 months ago
It is certainly an interesting surprise to see that over 51% of constituencies already exceed 95% coverage, ( & 71% exceed 90% coverage). This is certainly good news for some areas. How many have reached 100%?
Posted by gerarda 6 months ago
@new londoner

See for the CDS view of BT
Posted by TheEulerID 6 months ago

It was simply that Openreach didn't think they could meet what CDS required of them under the contract. What's a supplier to do if they don't believe they can meet the requirements?
Posted by fastman 6 months ago
mmmm wonder how much of that is CDS is next to Cornwall and cornwall has better connecitivity that CDS - will be interesting to see what happens in that area over the next 4 -5 years as it could take that long to resolve
Posted by New_Londoner 6 months ago
Interesting clip, breathtaking lack of knowledge by the CDS project lead, and rather obvious leading questions by the illustrious committee members.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 6 months ago
Its easy - BT is evil and money grabbing, and all other providers are doing it for love and peace.
Posted by gerarda 6 months ago
@andrew - a lot of community altnets were/are doing it for love. Whether BT is being evil when acting in a predatory/cherry picking manner against them is a matter of opinion.

The value for money criterion that New Londoner mentioned above that valued raising an existing 10-15Mbps service to superfast equally to improving a notspot does of course give official sanction to cherry picking.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 6 months ago
If there are any FTTH altnets missing from my system then always happy to add them.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.