Broadband News

Almost 1 in 5 new homes still built without superfast broadband access

We looked at the issues around new build homes and the poor state of broadband for them earlier in 2018 and our latest analysis that covers new homes built in Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr shows that while full fibre availability is improving and is currently running at 47.18% the overall availability of superfast broadband (over 24 Mbps) in 2018 is still woefully low at 81.4% compared to the UK wide picture of 95.45%. Meaning those buying a brand new home are more likely to not have superfast broadband than homes that have been standing for years.

So the message we have issued for those buying new build homes is this, do not make assumptions about having good broadband at an address even if the building was built in 2018, you need to check what others already living on the new estate can get and do not accept verbal promises but get the people handling the legal side of the purchase to get any promises on broadband in writing.

A lot has been said about making sure people have decent broadband available in new homes, but the inertia of these statements filtering through the building chain means it may be 2020 or later before it is safe to make assumptions when buying a new home.

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast, USC, USO and Full Fibre Broadband Coverage across the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for new build premises - figures 28th August 2018
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

UK 2018
43,470 premises
83.6% 81.4% 80.9% 50.0%

47.18%

43.43%

0.9% 17.6%
UK 2017
141,535 premises
87.4% 86% 85.7% 41.7%

35.94%

30.09%

0.4% 13.2%
UK 2016
168,255 premises
88.4% 87.3% 87% 36.1%

27.64%

19.29%

0.2% 12%
Northern Ireland 2018
722 premises
99.3% 89.5% 88.5% 47.9%

47.51%

47.51%

4.8% 5.5%
Northern Ireland 2017
1,858 premises
99.4% 89.6% 89% 28.7%

18.78%

18.78%

4.5% 5.5%
Northern Ireland 2016
2,465 premises
98.3% 88.7% 87.6% 10.1%

1.99%

1.99%

3.3% 6.8%
Scotland 2018
3,719 premises
76.9% 74.8% 74% 54.0%

47.92%

47.92%

1.8% 25%
Scotland 2017
11,425 premises
89.2% 87.0% 86.4% 38.2%

34.43%

34.43%

0.5% 11.7%
Scotland 2016
13,426 premises
85.4% 83.7% 82.5% 23.2%

13.50%

13.50%

0.8% 15.5%
Wales 2018
1,973 premises
80.1% 77% 77% 43.9%

42.93%

42.98%

0.1% 20%
Wales 2017
3,131 premises
89.6% 88.9% 88.4% 40.4%

37.24%

37.24%

0% 10.4%
Wales 2016
4,727 premises
86.6% 85.7% 85.6% 20.4%

11.85%

11.85%

0% 13.4%

The tracking of which year premises are linked with is based on the ONS postcode data which gives a year of introduction for a post code, this means that the 2017 and 2016 premises counts are still subject to change, since a postcode introduced in 2016 may not have homes built on it until 2018, or as we often see the number of premises increases over time as later phases are built within a postcode. There is of course some new build activity in older existing postcodes, but this is counted against the year of introduction of the postcode.

We do expect the 2018 figure to improve towards the 2017 and 2016 figures eventually, some of this is delays in VDSL2 cabinets going live, or residents once they have moved in finding that broadband is poor and campaigning to get things improved, which if the developer is still building on a site can sometimes work.

The next set of ONS postcodes is due at the end of August, expected to be available in September so will start resolving the new build work in May, June and July and it will be interesting to what changes this brings, we expect the level of full fibre availability to increase but no big improvement on the overall superfast figure, so as we have seen before when rolling in the new homes into the overall UK figures the superfast improvements from the small gain-share funded roll-outs will be negated by a few thousand new homes without access to superfast broadband.

To keep the table concise the English regions were missed out, but the key figures superfast over 24 Mbps (full fibre) are as follows for 2018: London 85.3% (61.03%), South West 81.8% (43.37%), South East 90.5% (52.57%), West Midlands 78.2% (40.21%), East of England 87.6% (52.37%), North West 77.2% (39.43%), Yorkshire and Humber 75.5% (31.11%), North East 66% (33.3%), East Midlands 86.3% (45.51%) in order of volume of new build premises in 2018.

For any local authorities or media outlets wanting a more granular set of figures we have the figures at the local authority level, you just need to ask, as producing a table with some 1,600 rows in a news item would be hard reading. An example of the variation is the London Borough of Newham recorded 1,158 new premises in 2018 and 72.4% had full fibre available.

Comments

Andrew, are you able to put the data into a spreadsheet and add a link here or in a forum post for the article; or put it into Google Sheets? It would be interesting to see how more local areas compare, eg/ my home of Basingstoke where it looks like the new developments are all coming with fibre. A couple have been slower to deliver as they've got FTTC not FTTP and the developments are on going having started 2 to 3 years ago. However the new ones from the last 24 months seem to have FTTP. And this is confirmed by your FTTP map elsewhere on TBB.

  • olicuk
  • 4 months ago

Also interested if you've tried to tie data to market types (eg/ low value inner city apartments buildings vs rural primarily detached developments) or particular developers to see if there are particular issues or a general issue across the industry. Also if you've tested the data at the local level to see where sample postcodes show new property developments without superfast, that's really the case and there are groups of unhappy purchasers.

  • olicuk
  • 4 months ago

It has always been my belief that house builders developing a large estate should be forced into laying FTTP as part of the conditions of the planning consent to build in the first place. When we as the purchaser are spending anything from £250,000/£1m on a brand new house...............why should we be expected to accept anything less ?

  • kitfit1
  • 4 months ago

@kitfir1 Bit totalitarian?

  • DrMikeHuntHurtz
  • 4 months ago

kitfit1

i don't believe there is now a cost diferance between copper and FTTP on new for new estates (might be a minimum total planned houses before Openreach will accept it) around where i am all 4 estates are copper only,only 1 of them got virgin copper cable Pre wired to the house

one of them they had to dig up the road to add more ducts so they could fit more copper (would of been cheaper if they had gone and put a fiber DP point so they ran all the houses off that

for a individual house no unless its already on the telephone pole (there be a round thing on the pole that's pointing up)

  • leexgx
  • 3 months ago

@oliuk why would we use google sheets when we have a stats site such as https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local

Have held back from publishing so those who want to use it have to ask and caveats and questions are easy to answer at that point.

The data is all in our postcode and availability checker if people think we may not have included or got some locations wrong. The map is another output from the data.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@DrMikeHuntHurtz

Ni, i don't think so at all. The big national house builders make vast sums of money each year. Just looking at two of the biggest, Taylor Whimpy and Persimmon made pre tax profits of £841m and £966m repectively last year. With profits of that magnitude, being forced to run full FTTP would have little impact on profitability but would make a huge difference to all there customers and the re-sale price of there houses.

  • kitfit1
  • 3 months ago

@DrMikeHuntHurtz I totally agree with @kitfit1 any housing development over a certain size should have FTTP as a requirement of the planning permission. I've actually commented on local planning applications to this effect pointing out that OR will actually install FOC provided they are involved at the relevant times.

  • R0NSKI
  • 3 months ago

It depends on the minimum size - OR may cooperate for 100 or 200 new houses but what about for 10 or 20? Do you know the size distribution of new developments? Outside cities there is often a strong preference to spread new housing development at a small or medium scale. OR has a USO for copper but not for fibre, so it can't be forced to install FTTP. No altnet will have an interest in providing FTTP to small/medium developments except where they have a presence already. Mandating FTTP for developments of, say, > 100 houses will probably make very little difference to these numbers.

  • gah789
  • 3 months ago

@gah789. I didn't say that OR should be forced to install FTTP. I said that the house builders should be forced to to install FTTP to the estates they are building and making multi millions of Pounds from. If they had to do that, OR would more than likely jump straight in and make the estate FTTP live. They would do it because it would have been the developer that would have laid the fibre, saving OR the cost.

  • kitfit1
  • 3 months ago

I think the problem is that diff companies have diff specs for what type of fibre they use...

Years ago, when fibre was VERY new, an estate had fibre installed as part of the build.... Only trouble is, the spec was not good enough for the BT spec, so it had to all be ripped out and replaced with copper!!!]

I think the real reason is builders are still angry at that extra expense, so they will not do it anymore. :/

  • comnut
  • 3 months ago

@comnut, as RONSKI said. If the developer gets OR involved at an early stage (ie, planning and groundworks), the expense will barely have any effect at all on the builder or profit margins.
They are just too lazy and in too much of a hurry to get an estate built, grab the profit and run.

  • kitfit1
  • 3 months ago

For 30 homes or more OR will install FTTP free of charge.

https://www.ournetwork.openreach.co.uk/news/more-new-build-sites-to-get-fttp-connection-for-free.aspx

I should think all the builder has to do is ensure suitable ductwork is installed.

  • R0NSKI
  • 3 months ago

@gah789 the estate I commented on was around the two hundred properties, so we'll over the minimum of 30.

  • R0NSKI
  • 3 months ago

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