Broadband News

January update on state of broadband coverage across the UK, nations and regions

Welcome to our first coverage update of 2018 and while some think we should be celebrating passing 95% superfast coverage or running headlines about a failure to reach 95% by the end of 2017, there is the small matter of the time it takes to find all the VDSL2 cabinets and FTTP clusters that have been rolled out, so while for some cabinets we may have it in our results within days of going live we estimate that we have a lag of around 4 weeks to get the bulk of new roll-outs integrated.

The area with the largest change in the last four weeks was Wales adding 0.3% VDSL2 at superfast speeds and 0.4% of full fibre to give a change of 0.7% in the month.

A big change in the table this month is that the sub 10 Mbps column has been replaced by a tracker for the number of premises that would be eligible for help under the Universal Service Obligation when it comes into force in 2020, the difference being that by adding the 1 Mbps upload criteria you are excluding ADSL and ADSL2+. We are aware of ADSL2+ Annex M but the upload benefit would only apply to a small number of 16 Mbps download ADSL2+ users and they would have to give up some download speed to squeeze another few hundred Kbps out of the upload so are discounting this as an option for delivering the USO.

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast, USC, USO and Full Fibre Broadband Coverage across the UK, its nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 6th January 2018
(change since 7th December 2017)
Area% fibre based
VDSL2 or
FTTP or
Cable
% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
%
Full Fibre
and
Openreach FTTP
% Under 2 Mbps download

% Below USO

10 Mbps download

1 Mbps upload

North East 98.3% 97.1% (+0.2) 96.9% 53.1% (=)

0.53% (+0.07)

0.15% (+0.04)

0.2% 2.1%
923,911 Premises 908,097 897,449 895,706 490,639

4,869

1,362

1,997 19,230
London 97.7% 96.8% (+0.2) 96.6% 71.5% (=)

6.03% (+0.26)

2.41% (+0.11)

0.1% 2.6%
4,467,579 Premises 4,364,721 4,324,156 4,317,048 3,196,067

269,455

107,827

5,683 116,162
East Midlands 98.7% 96.7% (+0.1) 96.5% 58.7% (=)

1.04% (+0.03)

0.27% (+0.02)

0.4% 2.1%
1,109,486 Premises 1,095,367 1,073,377 1,070,290 650,694

11,536

3,042

4,924 23,122
South East 98.5% 96.5% (+0.2) 96.2% 52.5% (=)

2.76% (+0.1)

1.43% (+0.04)

0.3% 2.2%
2,171,351 Premises 2,137,881 2,096,082 2,088,351 1,140,687

59,821

31,085

6,556 48,190
West Midlands 98.1% 96.2% (+0.1) 95.9% 64.6% (=)

1.22% (+0.08)

0.47% (+0.05)

0.4% 2.7%
2,791,104 Premises 2,738,096 2,685,939 2,677,454 1,802,908

34,009

13,248

10,109 74,785
North West 98.1% 95.8% (+0.2) 95.5% 49.1% (+0.1)

2.05% (+0.12)

1.22% (+0.07)

0.6% 3%
3,920,682 Premises 3,847,316 3,756,073 3,742,687 1,926,609

80,556

47,848

25,072 117,151
England 97.5% 95.2% (+0.2) 94.9% 56.2% (+0.1)

3.59% (+0.13)

2.13% (+0.08)

0.5% 3.4%
24,104,292 Premises 23,502,373 22,953,293 22,870,042 13,551,239

866,467

513,573

120,007 827,581
Great Britain 97.4% 95% (+0.5) 94.6% 53.8% (+0.1)

3.36% (+0.28)

2.06% (+0.22)

0.6% 3.7%
28,109,018 Premises 27,377,089 26,690,665 26,587,919 15,134,968

945,642

577,901

165,023 1,040,908
United Kingdom 97.4% 94.7% (+0.2) 94.3% 53.2% (=)

3.3% (+0.24)

2.03% (+0.09)

0.7% 3.8%
28,881,765 Premises 28,138,175 27,350,850 27,240,203 15,371,717

954,066

586,325

205,212 1,110,619
Rest Of Scotland 97% 94.3% (+0.3) 94% 47.5% (+0.1)

0.77% (+0.11)

0.35% (+0.08)

0.9% 4.6%
2,367,093 Premises 2,295,971 2,232,338 2,224,141 1,124,156

18,273

8,307

22,210 109,143
East of England 96.7% 93.7% (+0.3) 93.2% 51.7% (=)

1.41% (+0.07)

0.77% (+0.04)

0.7% 4.6%
2,623,116 Premises 2,537,167 2,457,009 2,444,872 1,356,217

36,962

20,076

18,417 120,274
Wales 97% 93.7% (+0.7) 93.2% 32.6% (+0.4)

4.27% (+0.41)

4.01% (+0.40)

0.9% 4.5%
1,385,185 Premises 1,343,386 1,298,312 1,290,510 451,520

59,213

55,565

12,411 62,333
Yorkshire and Humber 95.7% 93.6% (+0.4) 93.3% 54.3% (+0.1)

6.95% (+0.13)

6% (+0.11)(includes KCom Lightstream)

0.6% 5.3%
2,572,248 Premises 2,460,414 2,407,207 2,399,670 1,397,848

178,730

154,457

14,982 136,711
Scotland 96.6% 93.1% (+0.3) 92.7% 43.2% (=)

0.76% (+0.1)

0.33% (+0.07)

1.2% 5.8%
2,619,541 Premises 2,531,330 2,439,060 2,427,367 1,132,210

19,962

8,763

32,605 150,994
South West 96.8% 92.4% (+0.6) 91.7% 45.1% (+0.3)

5.41% (+0.37)

3.82% (+0.23)

0.9% 4.9%
3,524,815 Premises 3,413,314 3,256,001 3,233,964 1,589,569

190,529

134,628

32,267 171,956
Northern Ireland 98.5% 85.4% (+0.4) 84.4% 30.6% (-0.6)

1.09% (+0.17)

1.09% (+0.17)

5.2% 9.5%
772,747 Premises 761,086 660,185 652,284 236,749

8,424

8,424

40,189 73,218
Highlands and Islands (HIE) 89.7% 77.9% (+0.3) 76.5% 0.3% (=)

0.26% (+0.01)

0.26% (+0.01)

4.3% 16.9%
240,698 Premises 215,915 187,553 184,093 620

620

620

10,322 40.624

Northern Ireland will jump out as an anomaly due to the 0.6% decrease in ultrafast coverage and the explanation is that Northern Ireland is the last of the regions for finishing the integration of new build premises and while we have gone through the system with regards to VDSL2/FTTP services we are yet to double check Virgin Media coverage.

Wales had a lot of FTTP work marked for completition by the end of December 2017 and there are signs that some of this has been delivered. Wales is currently 7,300 premises shy of hitting a target of 96% of premises with access to 15 Mbps or faster broadband and from what we believe is still to be found or under construction FTTP this should just be a few weeks away from being hit. Previous announcements on the volume of FTTP Openreach was expecting to deliver in Wales was 80,000 premises and with us tracking at 55,000 premises currently there might be scope for another 20,000 to 25,000 premises i.e. an additional 1.5%.

Once the 95% at over 24 Mbps target has been met we will hopefully be able to simplify the table by dropping the 24 Mbps column and work with just the one 30 Mbps superfast figure, the reason being we are expecting the BDUK and Westminster to settle on the stricter definition once the last official goal has been met.

On a final note you may have spotted Great Britain has reached 95% but this is with rounding to 1 decimal place, to three decimal places Great Britain is at 94.954% superfast coverage. If we adopted the same rounding to integer precision of the Ofcom Connection Nations Report we could declare the UK is at 95% superfast coverage.

Comments

@thinkbroadband What's Scotland vs 'Rest of Scotland' ?

  • @StatgeekUK
  • comment via twitter
  • 6 months ago

Scotland = Highlands and Islands (HIE) plus Rest Of Scotland (not quite true there appearing to be a small difference in the totals of circa 19K properties)

  • MCM999
  • 6 months ago

It was my understanding that Scotland did indeed comprise HIE and RoS. HIE by the way stands for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the development agency for that part of Scotland. Rest of Scotland is served by Scottish Enterprise.

Can someone from TBB comment on the anomaly in the premises figure MCM999 referenced?

  • andrum992
  • 6 months ago

Difference is down to the new build postcodes, that will be in the overall Scotland figure but have not been assigned to the two specific projects. Difference is 11,750 premises.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

FTTP has just been released to order (for our corner of Wales) - in 2 weeks we will have Infinity 3 (220Mbs) - a massive leap from the current 0.75Mbs we have on ADSL. Whole villages around us have seen CBT installs going up on the poles - and DSLAM enabled (Green) Cabinets - are seemingly appearing overnight. I understand Openreach have been given an 8-week extension by the Welsh Assembly before declaring the current Welsh BDUK project to have 'completed' and provide the final numbers of 'premises passed'. Finally, after 4 years waiting, only 14 more sleeps before we test the new service.

  • cshapland
  • 6 months ago

For cshapland - Can you provide a link to confirm your comment that 'Openreach have been given an 8-week extension by the Welsh Assembly before declaring the current Welsh BDUK project to have 'completed'? There are lots of properties here in Ceredigion where FTTP infrastructure build was not fully completed by project deadline of 31 December 2017. An 8-weeks extension, if true, would hopefully enable Openreach to finish the job and avoid any penalties arising for not fulfilling their part of the contract.

  • Enrico21
  • 6 months ago

For Enrico21 - on the 31/12 - I wrote our AM (& Ms James) frustrated at no announcement from our Assembly - as the program came to an end, as https://beta.gov.wales/can-i-get-it checker - reported (& still does oddly enough for my area) that "The Superfast Cymru build is now complete. For those premises completed towards the end of the project, there will be a period of up to eight weeks before an order can be placed with an internet service provider. This is while a commissioning process takes place to reflect the availability of the service." Thus my comment that there has been an extension.

  • cshapland
  • 6 months ago

cshapland - I believe that the commissioning process is when it is handed to Openreach to do the normal processes as in notifying ISPs and updating systems. I don't think it's an 8 week extension where more build work is going to happen.
I received an email saying that unfortunately the remaining properties that were covered will no longer be able to be done as more build work is required and they didn't have time due to hard stop of 31/12/2017 of that project.

  • cymru123
  • 6 months ago

A hard stop would be stupid, other projects across the UK have generally carried on with finishing stuff that was part built, since the public may well have noticed the build underway and stopping will just upset people, but this a project that gave up on social media (not easy job but important to answer valid questions)

Nothing wrong if the project wants to say that only services delivered by x date will count towards contract deliverable.

Still seeing FTTP areas in Wales on the build progression and can probably find a cabinet or two that are not in a commercial area too.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

@Andrew. I can forward the email I got but the context was "We didn’t get to complete the outstanding ‘part 2’ work off {Exchange Area} and as we had a hard stop on 31/12/17, more time would be required to build more coverage which we don’t have. I know this isn’t the news you were expecting, so apologies ..."

  • cymru123
  • 6 months ago

Press team have been prodded for official reaction.

The 31/12 was the end of a grace period already, but my question posed is what happens to those where the fibre microducting is part built, will that simply stay part built now?

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

Our area had a completion date of 31/12 for FTTP, which they didn't make. Fortunately, they are still working on it and looks like they are making a big push as there were vans and people everywhere today.

  • astateoftrance
  • 6 months ago

I assume we are still awaiting an official response from either BT or The Welsh Government's Communications Press Department on whether the Superfast Cymru project will be extended to complete any FTTP infrastructure build being held in abeyance. It's a question that I have posed to The Welsh Government's Customer Enquiry Team (a poor substitute for the former SFC Enquiry team that was disbanded in June 2016) on a couple of occasions, but they were unable to answer, instead opting to pass on my enquiries to what they called their 2nd Line Team (presumably BT). No responses were ever received.

  • Enrico21
  • 6 months ago

Yes still waiting

Have found more live FTTP and there are some areas showing as still in progress towards activation and FTTC areas also with the same progression and locations suggest that these were BDUK areas rather than commercial.

Whether what is left is enough to take them to a 96% target at 15 Mbps and over is hard to say, but with the tolerances on measuring all of this if within 0.5% its not the sort of thing to waste money in the courts over, but maybe some gentle coaxing to do some more...other projects have often overshot target in the month or so past completion date

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

In terms of what the public see keeping someone actively building rather than having a gap as we wait for the next full procurement project to go through is very important to perceptions, and clawback would allow for quick smaller inventions e.g. revisit an area where cabinet was not delivered due to power issues and built FTTP instead

Or put another way, unless a contract is signed with someone (or multiple firms) to use the next wave of funding and roll-out very soon those left waiting will become a lot more vocal.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

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