Broadband News

Ofcom says 2.5 million full fibre premises we say 2.7 million

The full Ofcom Connected Nations report is expected later in the year but a summary published today has revealed the telecoms regulator is tracking the UK full fibre coverage at 8% i.e. 2.5 million premises but this disagrees with what we published on Saturday 7th September which was a figure of 9.1% so we explore why the differences exist.

We could ramble on but will try to keep things to a short set of brief points:

  • The Ofcom 8% full fibre refers to May 2019
  • Our figures are published weekly with checker updates every day as new bits of roll-out are spotted, since Saturday our internal tracking has shown a rise from 9.10% to 9.14%
  • On 7th June our full fibre figure was 7.71% so with rounding would be 8%
  • Our 7th June count was 2,314,140 premises versus Ofcom saying 2.5 million, but we don't know what effect rounding will have had.
  • We believe Ofcom figures for full fibre will generally be 100,000 to 170,000 premises higher than our own.
  • Ofcom full fibre premises counts are higher due to including some metro fibre, student accomondation, business leased lines.
  • There are also a number of premises where we have no idea who the full fibre operator is.
  • Lastly some premises are flagged as full fibre speeds but the build to the premises is still underway and in some cases the demand tracking for a building has not reached the point they will start to build the network.

The last point about the build still being underway is important because when doing some checking on the 2018 new build premises we are finding some premises where both superfast (VDSL2) and full service services are being flagged by Ofcom but operators are showing services as planned. This is likely down to how gathers its data which is data sets supplied by the providers and we have found a tendency for these sets to include premises expected to be passed shortly but sometimes plans don't work out.

So the reasons why we don't agree on a precise figure are hopefully now clearer but the underlying good news is that the pace of full fibre roll-outs is significantly up compared to 12 months ago but the bad news if we want to hit 100% full fibre coverage in 2025 or 2033 is that the pace of build needs to increase a lot.

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