Alternative broadband providers close to 1 million premises of superfast full fibre
The delivery of full fibre across the UK continues to creep up but things are starting to accelerate after many years where it was mostly talk and plans. INCA (Independent Networks Cooperative Association) has teamed up with Point Topic in a report that reveals that the number of fixed line superfast connectivity is running 998,531 premises, though there is an additional unusual caveat beyond the normal use of the word 'passed' since 'addressed' is used. Addressed is something we see with CityFibre so it may be that premises close to its existing metro networks are included too and while the headlines are about full fibre there is some other fixed line technologies involved.
Of course no point building these networks if no-one is going to use them and the good news is that some 207,539 connectiions are live so 20.7% take-up.
It's fantastic to see the growth of the new companies building fibre and wireless networks. We're creating the right environment to stimulate industry investment, and I'm delighted by the altnets' ambitious plans to reach millions more homes and businesses over the next few years. We are also supporting these goals through government investment in new fibre networks, 5G projects and by removing business rates for new fibre deployment for 5 years.Digital and Culture Minister Magot James
So do we think the close to 1 million is right? As of the morning of 12th April we had 1,058,946 premises passed by full fibre in our database and 493,314 of these were from the Openreach GEA-FTTP products. There are a number of factors to take into account, the infographic includes WightFibre which is around 13,000 premises and we know Hyperoptic has more coverage than is in our system and similar for companies like Ask4 and WarwickNet (serviced apartments, student accomodation etc, this could be 50,000 to 100,000 premises), Vfast with their mix of VDSL2/FTTP and for many new apartments both Hyperoptic and Openreach serve them. Additionally if the reporting from the survey is similar to Openreach reporting there is a tendency to include areas about to go live, rather than live on that day, hence why we are expecting Openreach to probably talk of around 700,000 FTTP premises in the next results. The end result of these factors is that we would agree on the terms in the report that things are close to the 1 million mark.
The important point though is that the report suggests that by 2025 the number of premises passed by full fibre should be of the order of 14.25 million with a hope of 4.8 million live connections and the message for those without decent broadband is that you should look at the alternatives in addition to the GPO.
The full INCA/Point Topic report is available online.