Broadband News

May update on state of broadband coverage across UK and regions

The broadband USO may have failed to make the shift from a 10 Mbps minimum speed target to a 30 Mbps one, but the superfast roll-outs continue and tracking how far the roll-out will go in addition to when it will pass various milestones looks likely to remain very important until at least 2020 now.

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 May 2017
(change since 7th April 2017)
Area% fibre based
VDSL2 or
FTTP or
Cable
% 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 96.8% 95.6% (-0.1) 95.4% 69.1% (-0.1) 1.89% 0.2% 0.9%
North East 97% 95.6% (-0.1) 95.3% 51.3% (-0.1) 0.09% 0.2% 1.6%
South East 97.8% 95.4% (-0.1) 94.9% 50.8% (=) 1.21% 0.4% 1.7%
East Midlands 97.9% 95.5% (=) 95.1% 57.3% (-0.1) 0.14% 0.5% 1.9%
West Midlands 97.2% 94.9% (=) 94.4% 62.6% (-0.1) 0.28% 0.4% 2%
North West 97.2% 94.5% (=) 93.9% 47.1% (+0.2) 0.95% 0.7% 2.7%
England 96.2% 93.5% (=) 93% 54.2% (+0.1) 1.71% 0.6% 2.7%
United Kingdom 95.9% 92.8% (+0.1) 92.2% 51.4% (+0.1) 1.56% (+0.04) 0.8% 3.3%
East of England 95.1% 91.7% (+0.2) 91% 50.4% (=) 0.55% 0.7% 3.7%
Rest Of Scotland 94.3% 91.3% (+0.6) 90.7% 44.4% (+0.2) 0.12% 1% 4.2%
Wales 94.9% 90.8% (+0.1) 89.8% 31% (+0.2) 2.14% (+0.1) 0.9% 5.3%
Yorkshire and Humber 92.9% 90.5% (+0.4) 90% 51.3% (+0.4) 4.82% (+0.14) (includes KCom Lightstream) 0.6% 6.2%
South West 95% 90% (+0.1) 89.1% 43.5% (+0.1) 3.27% 1.1% 4.6%
Scotland 93.3% 89.4% (+0.5) 88.7% 40.3% (+0.1) 0.11% 1.3% 5.8%
Northern Ireland 97.7% 81.5% (=) 79.8% 28.5% (=) 0.43% 6.4% 12%
Highlands and Islands (HIE) 84.5% 71% (+0.2) 68.8% 0.08% (+0.01) 0.08% 4.7% 21.3%

So what is going on with London, the South East and the North East regions? The 0.1% dips in superfast coverage are a continuation of our delving ever deeper into the centre of urban areas to find new build premises and confirm the number of businesses. This invariably means that the number of actual superfast premises has not gone down, but often increased, but at the same time the number of premises without access to superfast is increasing too.

The good news is that Yorkshire and Humber as a region has now hit the 90% superfast mark for both the Westminster and EU definitions, the Lightstream roll-out in Hull and more Openreach VDSL2 in areas left blighted by the collapse of the Digital Region project, and a helping hand from Virgin Media as they expand via Project Lightning and in some areas this expansion is bringing better than ADSL2+ to people for the first time.

Scotland had the biggest change of the last four weeks and this was down to a lot of Exchange Only lines finally gaining access to VDSL2 via network rearrangement, unfortunately there are still plenty of lines like this in Scotland both urban and rural so still plenty to do.

Wales is still climbing slowly towards its 96% with something fibre based goal, the bulk of the improvement in superfast coverage was importantly due to areas of native GEA-FTTP going live and there still looks to be 1 to 1.5% of Welsh premises waiting on FTTP going live, the big question is when.

As for the 95% target by the end of 2017, it is looking like we might miss it, but with the summer months often being better for the volume of broadband roll-outs we may see enough premises gain superfast. A lot hinges on what is happening with all the new builds we have been finding, certainly many of the peri-urban new build does seem to get superfast eventually and an increasing amount seems to be FTTP.

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