Broadband News

Relative popularity of broadband technologies revealed

Take-up is the key to an area posting nice looking average speed test results and we looked the other day at coverage versus average speeds and today we have added to our statistics site a breakdown for all the various nations, regions, councils and constituencies the relative popularity of services such as ADSL2+, FTTC, full fibre, cable broadband, fixed wireless and satellite broadband.

The data is derived from the last quarters speed test results and is therefore based on our crowd sourced speed test data, this means that the figures are estimates and we have been comparing our figures over the past year with the relative user bases reported in the providers financial reports, this show that while there is a tendency to slightly over estimate FTTC and FTTH take-up in the figures, they do provide a very good guide to what people are buying, thus making it easier to discern why two areas with seemingly similar technology coverage levels have widely differing average speed tests over a quarter.

Estimated take-up for broadband technologies across the UK
AreaADSL/ADSL2+FTTC/VDSL2CableFTTH/Full FibreFixed WirelessSatellite
UK 39% 36.7% 22.8% 1.3% 0.2% N/A
Coverage 100% 90.7% 50.7% 2.6% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 39% 40.4% 44.9% 50% N/A N/A
England 38.7% 36.4% 23.1% 1.5% 0.3% N/A
Coverage 100% 91.5% 53.4% 2.9% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 39% 44.2% 43.2% 51.7% N/A N/A
Northern Ireland 43.2% 43.3% 13.2% 0.4% N/A N/A
Coverage 100% 79.8% 29.6% 0.4% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 43.2% 54.3% 44.6% 100% N/A N/A
Scotland 46% 35.6% 17.8% 0.4% N/A 0.2%
Coverage 100% 86.9% 42.4% 0.4% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 46% 41% 41.9% 100% N/A 0.2%
Wales 46.4% 41.9% 9.7% 1.6% 0.3% 0.1%
Coverage 100% 89.7% 29.7% 2.5% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 46.4% 46.7% 32.7% 64% N/A 0.1%
East of England 43% 39.6% 16.4% 1% N/A N/A
Coverage 100% 89.5% 50.7% 1.1% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 43% 44.2% 32.3% 91% N/A N/A
East Midlands 33.8% 35.2% 30.1% 0.9% 0.1% N/A
Coverage 100% 93.7% 58.2% 0.8% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 33.8% 37.6% 51.7% 112% N/A N/A
London 34.1% 31% 32.3% 2.1% 0.5% N/A
Coverage 100% 92.1% 68.6% 4.6% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 34.1% 33.7% 47.1% 45.7% N/A N/A
North East 37.3% 35.7% 26.6% 0.4% N/A N/A
Coverage 100% 94.5% 52.5% 0.21% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 37.3% 37.8% 50.7% 190% N/A N/A
North West 38.7% 36.8% 23.5% 0.9% 0.1% N/A
Coverage 100% 93.3% 47% 1.5% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 38.7% 39.4% 50% 0.6% N/A N/A
South East 37.4% 40.2% 20.9% 1.3% 0.2% N/A
Coverage 100% 93.9% 50% 2.4% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 37.4% 42.8% 41.8% 54.2% N/A N/A
South West 44.8% 36.5% 15.6% 2% 1% N/A
Coverage 100% 88% 40.5% 4.7% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 44.8% 41.5% 38.5% 42.6% N/A N/A
West Midlands 36.3% 33.2% 29.7% 0.7% 0.1% N/A
Coverage 100% 93.3% 63.6% 0.9% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 36.3% 35.6% 46.7% 77.8% N/A N/A
Yorkshire and Humber 41.4% 36.3% 18.7% 3% 0.5% N/A
Coverage 100% 88.5% 47.6% 5.8% N/A 100%
Estimate as %'age of Coverage 41.4% 41% 39.3% 51.7% N/A N/A

Mobile take-up is not included as this generally overlaps the fixed line services and is generally not used as a primary broadband connection. This may be reviewed in the future as we can envisage some smaller areas of the UK where a 4G service may be delivering the superfast option, services such as UK Broadband (Relish) identify as Fixed Wireless in our systems.

N/A entries usually mean for that technology the numbers are too small to display or may be zero. In contect of coverage lines it means we have no data on coverage levels.

It is possible that the take-up figure may exceed availability e.g. FTTH/Full Fibre does this in some areas, this is the effect of people getting excited about their much faster connectivity than ADSL at last and the possibility that there may be some full fibre locations we are not aware of.

The UK and 12 regional summaries above shows the variation across the UK even when just drilling down to the regional level and things get more variable as you delve deeper. So while the figures are estimates we hope that people will find the extra data useful and pull back the magic curtain that sometimes press releases are very good at delivering.

A simple illustration is available on what this all means when you view the results for Orkney which has a median speed of 7.1 Mbps down in Q1/2017 and a top quartile result of 17.9 Mbps, when in theory superfast coverage stands at 56.3%. The take-up estimate reveals 75.9% of the tests we see are using ADSL/ADSL2+ and 24.1% are FTTC/VDSL2 based, showing that for the median results in Orkney to improve a combination of higher take-up for FTTC services combined with wider coverage is needed.

Update 2:30pm Added two rows per area, one showing the coverage levels of the specific technology, and then our estimated take-up figure expressed as a percentage of the technology coverage. In some cases the FTTH figure is above 100% and this illustrates the estimated nature of the figures when taken from crowd sourced data and dealing with a service that has very limited coverage.


One massive issue with this seems to be that it doesn't take account of availability of the technologies. If FTTP is available to 0.2% of premises and 0.1% of premises in an area take it that's a high uptake.

Appreciate that makes things far more difficult but not sure what these numbers will indicate without the contact of availability of each technology.

  • CarlThomas
  • 5 months ago

@thinkbroadband This doesn't seem to indicate popularity or take up. It doesn't take account of availability. Cant…

  • @ultrafastcarl
  • comment via twitter
  • 5 months ago

Hence why if you follow through the various links such as the take-up estimate appears in the speed test area to the right of the coverage.

If people are unable or unwilling to do the link between 50.7% availability of cable and our observed figure of 22.8% then further work can be done to highlight the relationship.

If an area has 0.2% FTTH availability and 0.1% estimated take-up then yes suggests 50% of those can get it have taken it up, but showing 50% FTTH take-up in isolation which sounds really good I felt would lead to accusations of overstating.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 5 months ago

Have added the 28 rows of additional data, i.e. coverage then our figure as a percentage of that coverage.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 5 months ago

I know I am being a bit pedantic but I don't think you can assume that the coverage for satellite should be 100%. There are many built up areas where there is no line of site to the satellite (it becomes worse as you go further north, as the angle of elevation declines),it is not practical to mount a dish or there are planning restrictions in conservation areas. Whether the coverage figure should be 99% or less I am unable to say.

  • pj66300
  • 5 months ago

Why did you round the ADSL coverage up to 100% when you have taken the other figures are given to 1 decimal point?

  • gerarda
  • 5 months ago

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