Broadband News

Reality check on full fibre broadband availability in new homes

We are likely to be ready to share our latest analysis on new build premises later this week and are just doing some sweeps through our data to check for missing premises and add second operators to some premises.

This short news item exists to highlight some recent statements from Openreach around the amount of full fibre they are deploying in new build premises. ISPreview has covered some comments made to Scottish housebuilders and the statement we concerned with in particular is "Developers building entirely new housing have a great opportunity to be right at the forefront. Many are already on board, with around 87 per cent of new homes in Scotland signing up with us for full fibre. The remainder are split between a superfast service via Fibre to the Cabinet, or copper."

The lay person will read this and think that 87% of new build homes in Scotland have access to full fibre from Openreach currently and Openreach is trying to close the gap to 100%. The key words are signing up i.e. developers will sign up for what they want delivered to a new development perhaps one or two years ahead of people being able to move in.

In addition to this lag there are also developments that may have a lock out and/or be using another developer to deliver broadband via their own full fibre network

The situation in Scotland around full fibre and new builds is improving year on year and our premlinary figures are:

  • Scotland Jan 2019 70.2% Full Fibre All Operators, 69.1% Openreach
  • Scotland 2018 65.4%
  • Scotland 2017 37.4%
  • Scotland 2016 15.1%
  • Scotland 2015 10.7%
  • Scotland 2014 12.6%
  • Scotland 2013 7.3%
  • Scotland 2012 6.8%

The trend does suggest that reaching 87% full fibre for Scottish new builds in a year or two is within reach.

In 2018 the Scottish new build superfast coverage level only reached 86.8% and for the public closing that gap to 100% is the most important one, what we don't know of course is when various developments were started and agreements reached with broadband providers such as Openreach, Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, OFNL were reached.

Comments

The sooner 100% full fibre is mandated for all new developments the better. That in 2019 this has not been fixed and the public purse is continuing to subsidise the profits of developers is a scandal.

  • jabuzzard
  • 3 months ago

Though even if signed onto law books today the lag involved means another couple of years before it will become measurable reality.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

How many units tend to be grouped into an area called "New Build" to be offered Full Fibre by OR?

I am in a completely new property built in 2017 next to a cluster of six older houses in the rural south west of Scotland and was NOT offered full fibre by my developer. We are on FTTC but are 3300m from the cabinet so I was informed that Full Fibre was not available. All properties in this cluster fall under the USO speeds.

  • DanielCoffey
  • 3 months ago

Not really sign it into law today and make it apply to any sale of a new build property that takes place 12 months from now. Job done. Might it cut into excessive profits of the developers; yes. Do I care? Does 99% of the population care? I think the answer to that is no on all accounts. Normally you would make it apply to properties granted planning permission after a certain date. However there is no legal reason for the government to be so tied by that convention if it decides there is good grounds otherwise.

  • jabuzzard
  • 3 months ago

1 new property next to six older - still below the point where FTTP is offered at no extra cost compared to copper by Openreach to the developer.

Currently developments of 30 or more get it at no extra cost to copper, and below that a contribution is asked for. Back in 2017 it was higher.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

jab: The power of ignorance. Its not possible to workably mandate such a thing. Plenty of properties have no possible way they could get fibre inside 12 months.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

Some developers will tell buyers that full fibre is or will be available when it will not. This might be through ignorance of technologies, or through standard sales techniques.

Suggest buyers check exchange options, and perhaps knock on doors in area for real-world feel for experiences (or maybe check the BB Map!).

  • camieabz
  • 3 months ago

Sorry it's not the power of ignorance, just means the developer can't sell the property till the full fibre is in place. Sure it's bad news for the developer, I frankly don't care, I am sick of subsidising them. Alternatively make the law apply to properties (not developments) where ground has not yet been broken (aka fundations dug), in which case don't start. Personally I would have a whole raft of other measures targeted at developers to combat the junk quality houses being built.

  • jabuzzard
  • 3 months ago

Give me strength! You'd have 10s of thousands at a very lowest estimate of properties that woulnd't be able to sell - that the costs have already been spent - you'd have major developers going bust all over the place.

The 'don't start' is just as unworkable. We have a dire lack of housing as it is. Devs would just sit on plots of land until BT connected fib & housebuilding would crash.

This prob is solving itself; crazy interventions aren't going to help.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

Or developers raise prices. House prices are pretty inelastic in the UK as they largely depend on how much credit banks are willing to extend. Supply is constrained and always will be while the Town and Country Planning Act remains as it is and land ownership is so concentrated.

  • CarlThomas
  • 3 months ago

While the problem is solving itself over time, tens of thousands of properties are being built that will then likely require public subsidy in the future to upgrade to full fibre. Meanwhile the developers pocket excessive profits for frankly building poor quality housing, with inadequate broadband being one of the poor quality features. Major developers are not going to go bust. Remember Persimmon made one billion pounds last year. Maybe windfall tax on developers for fibre broadband to developments built in last five years.

  • jabuzzard
  • 3 months ago

Ignoring the general moan and that somehow one developer represents all developers. Those that can generally do provide fib. Those that don't generally are those that can't (or coulnd't when the dev started) Very few existing planned devs will need any subsidy as on any scale they will be commercial to do eventually. Its the small/rural devs that are the real issues that might need a subsidy but prob not much more than would have been needed to do adjacent rural properties below USO anyway.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

Prediction - expect more 'services' from the developers themselves, the trend has started but with mandated full fibre we will see more developers doing it themselves, combined with FIRS and clauses about no TV aerials/satellite dishes will give them a nice on-going service fee option.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

Businesses don't pay taxes, their customers do. They'll just respond to a 'windfall tax' in the same manner.

So other than nationalising house building there's not much that can be done without increasing prices or massively reforming planning.

  • CarlThomas
  • 3 months ago

The problem with this is that if full fibre is the only thing available in the new build then that offers limited choice of suppliers and also price.
i know a couple now who have moved into builds that have full fibre and they are stuck with it. As far as i know there is still only 2-3 providers that offer broadband over the BT full fibre infrastructure and they are all sky high prices.
FTTP may have it shortcomings, but at least people have more choice for their ISP and at a much better price. Not every one needs super speeds, in fact I doubt many people really need anymore than 30Mb/

  • zyborg47
  • 3 months ago

@Zyborg
BT Retail offer 40 Mbps FTTP for £29.99/m incl line rental. Hardly "sky high prices".

  • baby_frogmella
  • 3 months ago

Ultrafast Fibre Plus

Prices and terms subject to change during the contract term.

For new and existing BT customers that sign up for 18 months. £59.99 a month from month 19

  • Fellwalker
  • 3 months ago

While the ultrafast fibre may be the price given by Fellwalker people with fibre only lines in new builds can pick from the £29.99/m entry level 40/10 packages

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

@Zyborg/baby

A quick search of the discount forums shows BT giving far lower deals for 40/10 than that.

Sky turning up will help and bt will counter with plusnet I expect.

  • Croft12
  • 3 months ago

if you are only getting 40Mb/s, them what is the point of FTTP? More choice of providers with FTTC or is that what BT plan is, put FTTP in and then you have limited choice? Also, it is not really ultrafast at 40Mb/s

While I use plusent, which is owned by Bt, I still would not touch BT Itself, customer service is awful.
I must get in touch with PN, they sent me an email asking me if i am still having problems and I only just seen it.

  • zyborg47
  • 3 months ago

@zyborg47
Not everybody need/wants faster speeds on FTTP, just like not everybody needs to live in a 5 bedroom house or drive a Ranger Rover. So for many, 40 Mbps on FTTP will be perfectly adequate. AFAIK most people on Openreach FTTP only lines have taken out the 80 Mbps or lower speeds despite the availalability of faster speeds.

The beauty of FTTP is you always get the speed you're paying for (excl. network congestion issues), ie none of this 'up to rubbish' or finding your internet drops everytime someone farts or it rains.

  • baby_frogmella
  • 3 months ago

To throw some figures behind the take-up choices on FTTP, looking at speed tests for BT Consumer tests identified as FTTP

24% are on something better than the Superfast 2 80/20 service
Another 24% are on the 80/20 service

So yes for many the 40/10 speeds seem enough. The advantage they have are easy upgrade paths and no annoying re-sync

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 months ago

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