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January 2017 update on UK superfast and ultrafast broadband coverage levels
Saturday 07 January 2017 11:20:35 by Andrew Ferguson

All the various actors involved in superfast and ultrafast broadband roll-outs have just 51 weeks now to hit the magic 95% superfast broadband coverage target that the Government is aiming and this means for the 12 months of 2017 we need to see on average a rise in superfast coverage of 0.226% which when expressed as premises means 65,540 premises each month gaining the ability to order a service faster than 24 Mbps. Is that possible?

The 0.2% increase over the Christmas period was a little slower than some months, but there are peaks and troughs in what is being rolled out, and for example in Wales the 1.53% of premises passed by native GEA-FTTP should rise to around 3.5% to 4% during 2017 if Openreach can progress all the FTTP that is publically acknowledged as in build.

Wales was targeting a 96% fibre based coverage target by the end of 2016, but it seems to have missed by 2% with the 94%, which once you include the distance performance of VDSL2 gives a 88.7% superfast figure (Wales with the mixture of UK/EU money should be looked at using the 30 Mbps and faster EU definition of superfast). The gap is neatly filled by the amount of FTTP that is in the process of being built and may be an indicator of the future, i.e. we know roughly where it is going but as it takes longer to build targets may be missed.

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 January 2017
(change since 7th December 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 96.5% 95.4% (=) 95.2% 69.1% (=) 1.82% 0.1% 1%
North East 96.5% 95.2% (+0.1) 94.8% 51.7% (=) 0.05% 0.2% 1.7%
South East 97.6% 95.2% (+0.1) 94.6% 50.9% (+0.1) 1.15% 0.4% 1.9%
East Midlands 97.5% 95.1% (=) 94.7% 57.6% (=) 0.09% 0.5% 2.1%
West Midlands 96.8% 94.5% (+0.1) 94.1% 62.9% (=) 0.22% 0.4% 2.2%
North West 96.9% 94.1% (+0.1) 93.6% 47% (=) 0.87% 0.8% 3%
England 95.7% 93.1% (+0.1) 92.6% 54.2% (+0.1) 1.56% 0.6% 3%
United Kingdom 95.4% 92.3% (+0.2) 91.7% 51.4% (+0.1) 1.40% 0.8% 3.6%
East of England 94.4% 91% (+0.2) 90.4% 50.6% (+0.1) 0.50% 0.7% 4.1%
Rest Of Scotland 93.2% 90.2% (+0.4) 89.6% 44.6% (=) 0.08% 1.4% 4.9%
South West 94.7% 89.8% (+0.1) 88.9% 43.9% (+0.1) 3.11% 1.1% 4.8%
Wales 94% 89.8% (+0.1) 88.7% 30.5% (+0.1) 1.53% 0.9% 5.9%
Yorkshire and Humber 91.7% 89.1% (+0.2) 88.7% 50.5% (=) 4.1% (includes KCom Lightstream) 0.7% 5.1%
Scotland 92.2% 88.3% (+0.4) 87.6% 40.6% (=) 0.07% 1.3% 6.2%
Northern Ireland 97.5% 81.1% (+0.1) 79.4% 28.1% (=) 0.28% 6.5% 12.3%
Highlands and Islands (HIE) 82.2% 69.1% (+1.3) 66.9% 0.06% (=) 0.06% 6.3% 23.9%

Scotland and the Highland and Islands are the big movers in the last month, the question will be how long can changes of +1.3% be sustained before the easier cabinets to enabled run out.

2017 should be interesting as we should see the start of the Openreach roll-outs, and an acceleration of the FTTP roll-out, and we will be watching the roll-out in particular to try and see how popular the ultrafast option is and also how the technology stands compared to its main competitor which is DOCSIS from Virgin Media.


Posted by adslmax 4 months ago
G.Fast Pod won’t be installing on every cabinets in UK. Only the trial pilot locations. So, don’t waste your time walking up and looking for PCP cabinet with G.Fast pod.

I believed the G.Fast Pod will start roll out by 2020 for the rest of UK. Two years time.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
Depends on what you mean by rest of UK, the initial footprint coming very soon is in the 130,000 premises region with an aim of 10 million by 2020.

No-one at Openreach (or anywhere else) has ever said will be installed on every cabinet.
Posted by brianhe 4 months ago
The Scotland figures will also be limited by the long line issue which is not being addressed.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
While not all the long lines are anywhere near addressed in Scotland, there are long line EO clusters getting VDSL2 cabinets added

Scotland had an unfair amount of EO lines, and there is lots of that getting multiple cabinets
Posted by md84419 4 months ago
What is the definition of 'coverage'? If this means postcodes where properties are connected to an exchange or cabinet where these speeds are achievable then the calculation is meaningless as we all know that actual speed achieved at a particular property depends on both the quality of the copper or aluminium telephone line between exchange/cabinet and property, and length of line.

Posted by md84419 4 months ago
How are you taking into account cabinets which have no more capacity for superfast/ultrafast? Are you only counting the properties actually subscribing, or are you counting all the properties as having 'coverage' even though no further orders are being taken until after further civil and network engineering works have been completed?
Posted by Alucidnation 4 months ago
Whats a G Fast POD?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
The varying capacity issues are not tracked, we have looked at it a couple of times in 2016 and out of the rough 80,000 cabinets around 1500-2000 were impacted.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
If we were counting the premises subscribed figures would be a lot lower as that metric is take-up.

We use the centroid for a postcode, and a pessimistic cross talk model so when cross checking we find our model is at the low end of 'official' estimates and peoples speed tests. NOTE: 'Official' estimates are not always right either.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
We welcome feedback for cabinets where speeds are a lot lower than our model predicts, so if is saying superfast and you can show its not then happy to correct model for that area.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago pods - see
Posted by asjonesmcguire 4 months ago
Just want to say - while some areas of the rollout may have slowed over Christmas, for me in my my little tiny rural village (Exch: ESGRE) codelook have been varying between June and April 2017, Scotland Superfast July - December 2017. But despite the BT Openreach checker on boxing day saying "Nope" - on the 31st December it started saying "Accepting Orders" - so it seems, sometimes they can be ahead of schedule!
Posted by dgauss 4 months ago
ROFL They have a sense of humour, I'll give them that.
Posted by Blackmamba 4 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Could it be the CEO of Openreach Joker card is to open up the post codes that are 200 meters/yards from a Cab to G/Fast using just in time method window 14 days from order. This will cover many customers and he is able to adjust demand as most customers are driven by price plus this area is covered up to 80 from the FTTC. Step 2 extend fibre further out from Cab node as Openreach knows the exact GPS position of Post Code from FTTC. (20 million by 2020).
Posted by md84419 4 months ago
So how are you taking into account cabinets in rural communities where some people within a postcode are within 100m of the cabinet and can get 76Mb/s, some are a few hundred metres away and can get 24 or 17Mbps, and a whole load more are kilometres away and get around 2Mbps?

It sounds like in those circumstances you'll end up taking the centroid and deciding that everyone in thhe postcode can get 24 or 17Mbps. Is that the case?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
Can you give an example of a postcode where it has people within 100m of cabinet AND a load more kilometres away?

Postcodes that are several kilometres long are very rare.
Posted by TheEulerID 4 months ago

I can give an example as my brother lives in just such a place, Ivinghoe Aston, 2-3km from their enabled cabinet. I'd estimate the hamlet has about 40-50 premises. The postcode is LU7 9DP.

It's on cabinet 5 in Eton Bray, which I believe also services a number of local properties in that village.

nb. an obvious candidate for LR-VDSL if it wasn't for the LLU at the exchange.

Posted by TheEulerID 4 months ago
Sorry, Eaton Bray, not Eton Bray.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
@TheEulerID So we flag it as a USC postcode, but some appear above that, i.e. our pessimistic model.

Question is which premises in that postcode are a km from the centroid,+Leighton+Buzzard+LU7+9DP/@51.8518845,-0.621099,16z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x4876507f3de9b19f:0xc61cd711b4a28c0c!8m2!3d51.8524101!4d-0.6167388
Posted by TheEulerID 4 months ago
I think I misread and it was the extent of the postcode that was the issue. That postcode will cover the hamlet and, possibly, some of the outliers. It won't cover the properties close to the cabinet.

Posted by md84419 4 months ago
For instance, HD7 5UZ covers 57 properties on 7 streets.

As a local example, NR14 7DW covers 54 properties on one long street about 800m long with the cabinet at one end of the street.

CV4 7AL covers about 6000 addresses at the Univesity of Warwick.

Many rural postcode units in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Scotland cover geographically large areas. For instance, PA41 7AD covers the Isle of Gigha, an area of 13.95 km² (9.5km long) and a population of about 160 in 60 dwellings with a single cabinet near the centre of the island.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
HD7 5UZ and NR14 7DW are not live so a non-issue in the superfast data, but if it was we'd report just about superfast for NR14 7DW for example.

PA41 7AD has another 4 postcodes on the island and again not live for FTTC.

Using postcode alone is wrong if we were asking people to enter their house number. Ofcom has done its 2016 (based on May data) analysis to household level and no difference overall, so yes for an individual it will matter, but for the overall picture to track the dishonesty of BT gains very little.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
We did look at doing everything to the premise level, and beyond the cost of getting the data on locations for the exchange or two we did this by hand on found the result was the same, way back in 2012.

Posted by ukwoody 4 months ago
Andrew, you state in Wales you know roughly where FTTP is going. How? and is this published anywhere please?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
Openreach give more info on the native FTTP roll-out in Wales so you can see progress on

e.g. NP18 2LP
Posted by gerarda 4 months ago
@Andrew - unless Ofcom have changed their assumptions then going from postcode to premises level will make no difference.

They assume for example that postcode/premises for which they have data can be used as a proxy for those which they have no data. This is based on a further assumption that 100% of premises can receive ADSL. So notspots/areas served predominantly by FWA and Satellite will show in the figures as having the national average of ADSL coverage.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
Its easy to tell the difference between FWA and satellite connectivity, and if Ofcom needs help with that they know where I am.
Posted by gerarda 4 months ago
Ofcom are not interested in FWA and satellite so unlikely to ask for help.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
Well they need to be, as some superfast contracts are now with Fixed Wireless providers
Posted by gerarda 4 months ago
and indeed for the USC - but all reference to the USC this was dropped in Ofcom's latest Connected Nations report
Posted by Blackmamba 4 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers
By watching the constituencies position at 24 meg it gives you guide to how much work is going on in that area. The position indecates if it has a high % of rural/ Urban, as the BDUK was finished approx 12 months ago in West Surrey it has dropped by 100 postions against others. This situation will not change until the OMR money is spent starting Q1.
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
Is it possible to summarise some of the key actual numbers, current Openreach system size, the no of installed cabs and premises attached? The number of premsies not attached to a VDSL cabinet would be an interesting measure if available. The lack of cabs in some of our cities must have more an effect than one visible here. It is an assertion I am attempting to prove or disprove.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
@ValueforMoney thought you had all that data based on the average costings you are great at producing.

94% of UK premises have a fibre based option, so 6% don't and there are 29 million premises.

If someone wants to commission and pay for an Ofcom sized report I am sure we can quote for it.
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
@Andrew - Just checking. Bottom up looks a little different. Is there a set of notes with those basics written down for peer review? Ofcom's data is not much better.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
If you scroll down on there are explantory notes as well as all the data per country, region, council, constituency and postcode lookups
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
Andrew, I was hoping to see some effort to reconcile the WLA and MPF/SMP volumes as per the regulated accounts and the coverage numbers. Ofcom have moved to top down modelling. Given the progress made it is then more difficult to reconcile bottom up and top down.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
Reconcile how? WLA/MPF/SMP are copper ADSL/ADSL2+/voice terms products, so are you trying to track LLU take-up and availability, or do you mean something very different.
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
Ofcom have used 30m and 28m premises in the last year. I think we would glean a more informed view if we work from a near accurate working system size for the holder of the USO for PSTN Or at least a view which states an alternative from which a range could be stated and contrasted.
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
Andrew - Of the 29m what is the premises total for the Isle of Wight? Happy to share the total cabs and total premises attached to determine if there is something worth looking at.
Posted by New_Londoner 4 months ago
Presumably this request for information on the Isle of White is to allow you to discharge your offer to audit the contract information? Something you are demonstrably not qualified to do, nor indeed could you given the NDAs.

Perhaps you should let your former colleagues discharge their responsibilities, something that we all pay them for via our taxes.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago would be a good place to start

Plus any figure I share is of no use unless you know the distribution of those households
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
New-Londoner - not related but more fundamental.
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
Andrew, - if you report says 95% superfast for IoW what is the reference total premises for IoW? There must a number related to the 29m to which it relates.
At a high it works but once we start discussing the last 10% even, we need to start reconciling. The available number attached to cabinets is 73.4k. It may not help much as the data inputters favourite number is 666 and 333, not statistically significant but it needs some care.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
And this number attached to cabinets is what? Number of yachts?

Census gives you base line 62,100 households, but thats public record.
Posted by ValueforMoney 4 months ago
Thanks , lines so business premises will add some more.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) 4 months ago
If using Openreach data on number of lines per cabinet, you need to know where the lines are, and also how to count for premises served by alternates such as WightFibre on IoW and all the others on mainland
Posted by WWWombat 4 months ago
I've found that the census data is a reasonable starting point for population & household counts. It is harder because ONS reports for England & Wales, while Scotland and NI report their own data.
is a good place to extract data from the E+W datasets.

From there, follow 2011 Census -> Data Catalogue -> Key Statistics.

Then KS101EW gives you population data, and KS401EW gives you household data.
Posted by WWWombat 4 months ago
Example 1, to show number of residential premises in LA's in the south-east, including the Isle of Wight:
- click "KS401EW";
- click "geography"; select "Some" for "LA - county"
- Select "South East"; click "tick all"
- click "Format/Layout"; click "web browser"
- click "Download Data"; wait ...; click "view data"
Posted by WWWombat 4 months ago
Example 2, to show a map of where 95% of households are (ie in "built-up areas"):
- click "KS401EW";
- click "geography"; select "Some" for "Built-up areas"
- Select "South West"; click "tick all"
- click "Format/Layout"; click "map"
- click "Download Data"; wait ...; click "view map"

The map can be zoomed. Hovering over any of the highlighted areas shows how many households are in that area.
Posted by WWWombat 4 months ago
On that map, zoom into the village of Upottery - north-east of Honiton - beloved of Devon campaigners.

Note the lack of any marked built-up areas. That means there are no clusters of households large enough to be classified as "built-up".

ONS' definition for "built-up" needs a population of 100 group together, which makes for clusters of around 40-50 premises. It also needs that population to be close enough together.
Posted by WWWombat 4 months ago
An example of the smaller kinds of place caught on that "built-up" check is "Beanacre", east of Bath, north of Melksham. 134 premises.

Or Gander's Green, on the A40 west of Gloucester. 85 premises fairly well spread out. A larger size than the neighbouring Huntley with 500 premises.
Posted by Blackmamba 4 months ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
To cover speed and costing is determined on the total Cabs per exchange area Surrey had approx 72 exchanges with 500 BDUK which should give a return of 99% above 15 Meg when the OMR money is spent. I had the advantage knowing this information EO and total Cabs plus Post Codes GPS positioning.
Posted by WWWombat 4 months ago
Ugh. In the instructions above, after clicking "KS401EW", you need to click on "Query Data".
Posted by ValueforMoney 3 months ago
@WWWombat. Thank you and happy new year.
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