New build and full fibre an interim update on thinkbroadband analysis
The picture for new build premises is always changing but the figures given in this article are described as interim as while we are in the final stages of dealing with the most recent postcode location data set (covering Nov 18, Dec 18 and Jan 19) the final number of premises is still changing and we want to complete our sweep of the various providers.
ISPreview has covered some details from an Openreach presentation that Matthew Kirkman delivered to an INCA audience in Cardiff most this is no real surprise as our tracking of what Openreach and others have been upto pointed towards what Matthew has highlighted. The key takeaway figures are:
- Openreach passing around 20,000 premises a week with FTTP
- Forecast that new sites will be 99% FTTP based in financial year 2023-2024
- New site FTTP in 2015/16 was 20,669 premises
- New site FTTP in 2016/17 was 29.257 premises
- New site FTTP in 2017/18 was 57,371 premises
- New site FTTP in 2018/19 was 131,395 premises
One problem in evaluating these figures is tracking exactly when a property was built is not easy and independently verifying this is very difficult for example the Openreach 2018/19 figures will include sites where we have no lat/lng location information yet or postcode for premises built in February and March, we expect the ONS data set to be issued in early June. So taking this into account and that we track by calendar year rather than financial we can report that since January 2016 we have recorded 169,634 new site premises with Openreach FTTP available, so close enough to show that no-one is making things up.
Our figures for Openreach FTTP and total FTTP coverage as a percentage of new build are as follows:
- Jan 2019 - Openreach 61.4%, All operators 68.8% from a total of 7,487 premises
- 2018 - Openreach 54.7%, All operators 65.8% from a total of 155,673 premises
- 2017 - Openreach 30.5%, All Operators 42% from a total of 153,212 premises
- 2016 - Openreach 19.4%, All Operators 32.1% from a total of 176,599 premises
- 2015 - Openreach 15.5%, All Operarots 26.7% from a total of 164,172 premises
A couple of points to note is that when Openreach talks of contracted premises, it may be contracted to deliver FTTP in a specific year and they may even have the infrastructure in place, e.g. a manifold in a pavement chamber but there is a debate to be had about which point a building plot counts as premises passed by FTTP. Another issue seems to be the total number of premises once you add FTTC, since Openreach is reporting a figure a lot higher that we are e.g. 203,104 premises for FTTC/FTTP in 2017/18 versus our 2017 figure of 153,212, the likely cause is new sites built in an existing postcode and as we update our historical premises counts this gap may close. Every quarter when we update for new build premises we also do look back at the previous quarters to review what we have recorded, which means even for sites we identify as 2016 some three years later we may be adding extra premises.
The biggest mistake people can make when dealing iwth new build is assume that Openreach accounts for all new build, there is competition from other full fibre developers and some sites may see Openreach locked out and alternative operator delivering phone and fibre services. There is also the possibility of a developer not contracting anyone and finally contacting Openreach so close to the sale date that people end up moving in before broadband can be delivered.
The increased pace of FTTP roll-out across the UK is something we have been seeing for 3 or 4 months now and one week we did add 45,000 Openreach FTTP premises, some of this we assumed was us playing catch-up since we used to be around 6 to 8 weeks behind on spotting FTTP and believe we have closed the gap to around 4 to 5 weeks now but the fact the pace has continued points towards a significant change in what is delivered. An indication of the change is that our tracking of FibreFirst FTTP premises is at 314,042 and is growing daily and for those living in rural areas it is important to add we are finding rural FTTP from the BDUK projects daily too.
When the UK hit the 7% FTTP availability figure some 10 days ago we suggested that October 2020 might be when Openreach passes the 3 million mark, this date has crept forward to August 2020 now if the pace from the last 3 months is maintained. The UK overall figure has also increased from 7.02% to 7.13% and Salford has leapt into the top 10 local authorities for FTTP availability with 1 in 3 premises now having a full fibre option (33.4% all operators, 23.5% Openreach).