Broadband News

December update on UK superfast and ultrafast broadband coverage

As usual a week after our speed test roundup we cover the change in broadband availability for the United Kingdom and while its popular to say that nothing has changed and UK broadband is a disaster the evidence shows the roll-outs are continuing, but for those where nothing has changed since the original ADSL roll-outs one can understand the growing levels of anger expressed.

While its not a column in our data our availability site that is postcode searchable includes the overall FTTH/FTTP figure which includes all the pure fibre providers we know about and it has broke through the 2% barrier this month to 2.05%, which while still very low is hopefully the start of someone thing much bigger.

What is very telling is that when you look at where this 2.05% is located, the more rural 10.8% of UK premises have a 1 in 22 chance (4.5%) of a pure fibre option, but the urban 74.8% only has a 1 in 52 chance (1.9%). This is a reflection of the BDUK roll-outs and operators like Gigaclear whose focus is on rural areas.

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 December 2016
(change since 7th November 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% (+0.2) 95.1% 69.1% (+0.2) 1.66% 0.1% 1%
North East 96.5% 95.1% (+0.1) 94.8% 51.7% (+0.1) 0.05% 0.2% 1.7%
East Midlands 97.4% 95.1% (+0.1) 94.6% 57.6% (+0.1) 0.06% 0.5% 2.1%
South East 97.5% 95.1% (+0.2) 94.5% 50.8% (+0.2) 1.11% 0.4% 2%
West Midlands 96.6% 94.4% (+0.1) 93.9% 62.9% (+0.1) 0.2% 0.4% 2.3%
North West 96.9% 94% (+0.7) 93.5% 47% (+0.2) 0.8% 0.8% 3.1%
England 95.5% 93% (+0.2) 92.4% 54.1% (+0.1) 1.48% 0.6% 3.1%
United Kingdom 95.2% 92.1% (+0.2) 91.5% 51.3% (+0.1) 1.33% 0.8% 3.7%
East of England 94.2% 90.8% (+0.1) 90.2% 50.5% (=) 0.49% 0.7% 4.3%
Rest Of Scotland 92.8% 89.8% (+0.3) 89.2% 44.6% (+0.1) 0.07% 1.4% 5.3%
South West 94.6% 89.7% (+0.2) 88.8% 43.8% (+0.1) 3% 1.1% 5.1%
Wales 93.9% 89.7% (+0.2) 88.5% 30.4% (+0.2) 1.4% 0.9% 6.2%
Yorkshire and Humber 91.4% 88.9% (+0.5) 88.4% 50.5% (+0.3) 4.1% (includes KCom Lightstream) 0.7% 5.2%
Scotland 91.7% 87.9% (+0.3) 87.1% 40.6% (+0.1) 0.07% 1.3% 6.7%
Northern Ireland 97.4% 81% (+0.1) 79.3% 28.1% (+0.1) 0.26% 6.6% 12.7%
Highlands and Islands 80.6% 67.8% (+0.4) 65.7% 0.06% (+0.04) 0.06% 5.9% 25.6%

Of course for many people the percentages mean nothing, so saying that the data shows for the UK some 226,000 premises are seen as only having a fixed line service under 2 Mbps and a larger 1.1 million premises are under 10 Mbps. Express those figures in the number of people involved and you can talk about a few million people not being able to get reasonable broadband and it is much headline grabbing than the cold statistic of 3.7% of the UK.

Wales is not going to hit the 96% fibre availability target by the end of 2016, but while that fact will launch a 1,000 or more complaints, there is a lot of fibre to the premises work underway, and this might push pure fibre coverage to 3-4% the problem being when will it all go live. Though if one believes the UK telecoms regulator Ofcom the Connected Nations 2015 data had Wales with 4% coverage of services at 300 Mbps and faster - which given that Virgin Media does not meet that criteria means pure fibre.

Comments

The top 5 rows show an interesting property: The increase in ultrafast coverage matches the increase in superfast coverage.

Does that mean those areas are pretty much left with FTTP and/or VM improvements, rather than FTTC? Or is it just a fluke of rounding?

  • WWWombat
  • 11 months ago

For London there has been a few VDSL2 cabinets, but also some Virgin Media and spotting a bit more FTTP too. Fairly similar elsewhere, though the majority of the 0.2 change in Wales was FTTP and the 0.1 in NI was FTTP as recall finding the new bits.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 11 months ago

Also BT are coming back to London areas to finish off some of the partly completed FTTP that was part of the Commercial Project a few years ago.

That's how we got ours completed.

  • PaulKirby
  • 11 months ago

Your superfast numbers in the East of England at least will be slightly overstated by a number of failed cabinet installations where Openreach have stopped taking further orders until they have sorted the mess.

  • gerarda
  • 11 months ago

@gerarda have seen a few cabinets with people posting VDSL2 results, but not live on checkers so they may already be accounted for.

In short exchange and cabinet number and can chase up, if its going to be years then happy to turn them off. If just a few months will keep flagged as live so people continue to pester.

NOTE: 1% in East of England would be ~25,000 premises so a lot need to like this to have a distinct effect.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 11 months ago

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