UK hits 8% full fibre coverage
Whether the UK is to stay with existing ambition of 50% coverage of full fibre by 2025 or increase this ambition to bringing forward the 100% full fibre date of 2033 to 2025 looks very difficult to comprehend when we are getting mildly excited that the actual coverage has increased to 8%.
The UK hit 8.02% full fibre coverage on Monday 1st July when we updated the online stats for the start of July and with the daily updates on our internal system we are recording a total of 8.08%.
8% looks inconsequential but the pace of roll-out has changed significantly with half of the roll-out appearing in the last 12 months and with roll-outs from firms such as Openreach, Hyperoptic, Vodafone Gigafast (built by CityFibre), Community Fibre ramping up.
Of course premises passed is just part of the story, no point in having an area with 100% coverage and no-one buying the service or companies refusing to connect people, so as well as tracking the premises passed the next year or two are crucial in seeing how much take-up there is and whether the various FTTP companies have the resources to both pass and connect homes and businesses.
The current pace is not enough to meet the existing 2025 and 2033 ambitions. Under the build rate seen in the last six months the UK will reach 50% by 2031 and 100% coverage in 2042 to 2044, therefore the UK needs more people building FTTP networks and potentially if the 50% and 100% targets are seen as nationally important collusion in the short term may be needed to avoid too many streets getting multiple FTTP network choices when others have none.
Looking at Openreach specifically their 4 million target for the end of March 2021 is currently set to be missed unless they ramp up the delivery volume as we expect them to pass the milestone in Sept/Oct/Nov 2021. One small milestone is that overnight our total for Openreach FTTP premises passed hit the 1.3 million mark (1,300,286 premises). At the Connected Britain event two weeks ago Clive Selley was saying that they expect to have hit 1.5 million premises for the end of the quarter.
The 8% of full fibre is not uniformly spread across the UK and in fact the increased pace of roll-out seems to be down to focusing resources on specific areas rather than scurrying to and fro as demanded, i.e. things like the fibre on demand and vouchers for full fibre while important for the individual do not scale well.
KCOM in the Hull area still dominates and while there are still new build premises that will appear each quarter there is now just a few locations needing extra work or the painful issue of wayleaves.
Top 10 local authoritiy areas for full fibre coverage:
- City of Kingston Upon Hull 98.49%
- York 44.85%
- Salford 39.35%
- East Riding of Yorkshire 39.31%
- Tower Hamlets 38.12%
- Milton Keynes 37.07%
- Cornwall 36.73%
- Ards and North Down 36.02%
- City of London 35.22%
- Barking and Dagenham 35.04%