Broadband News

UK passes 7% availability point for full fibre

The full fibre revolution is gathering pace and the first three and a half months of 2019 has seen a sharp rise in the number of premises passed compared to 2018.

The availability (i.e. premises passed) is running at 7.02% (2,105,352 premises) as of 15th April 2019 and if other operators such as Vodafone/Gigafast scale up to start approaching the volume that Openreach is delivering each week the next percentage point is going to arrive even faster.

The Openreach Fibre First roll-out which is concentrating resources in exchange areas is the biggest driver and the two latest exchanges added to the list of those with live Fibre First FTTP is Exeter and Sutton Coldfield.

If we look at the local authority areas with the most FTTP KCOM and its Lightstream roll-out is leading the pack for availability of FTTP.

  • City of Kingston upon Hull 93.26% (KCOM)
  • York 44.77% (mix of Openreach and TalkTalk UFO)
  • East Riding of Yorkshire 38.71% (KCOM and a little BDUK)
  • Tower Hamlets 36.93%
  • Cornwall 36.06%
  • Ards and North Down 35.31%
  • City and County of the City of London 35.05%
  • Milton Keynes 32.27% (mix of Gigafast and Openreach)
  • Belfast 29.91%
  • Spelthorne District 29.2%

A lot of the current roll-out of full fibre is in urban areas but the alt-net and BDUK projects are still delivering enough FTTP that rural Great Britain is remaining ahead of the urban areas for availability, rural GB 7.9% versus urban GB 6.3% (in December 2018 rural was at 7.3% and urban 4.7%)

Looking to the future the continued fast pace of roll-out from Openreach if it is sustained could see them hit the 3 million premises passed figure in October 2020, current footprint of premises we know about is 1,057,277 premises an increase of 37,000 in the last seven days. This is still behind their official declared footprint of 1.2 million premises so we are running at around four to five weeks behind.

Looking at the UK overall and the distant ambition of half the UK having access to FTTP in 2025 if the pace of 2019 is sustained then we will fall short with around 1 in 3 premises passed by FTTP, so the need for CityFibre, Hyperoptic and others to increase their roll-out pace is the key to any Government ambitions.

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