1 in 7 UK premises have a Gigabit broadband option
Today sees us adding a Gigabit availability figure to our broadband stats site, so that anyone can see what the current state of play for their area is and the minor thing of tracking progress towards the Governments 100% Gigabit availability by the end of 2025 target.
The Virgin Media Gig1 was launched back in 2019 with a limited footprint in Southampton, Reading and Manchester and we have now mapped which parts of those areas have the 1104 Mbps option and which do not. We are also seeing a small number of people buying and using the service with speed test results such as this 800 Mbps down and 50 Mbps up result. The coverage figures do not include Gig1 in Birmingham and Coventry areas since with the announcement only happening on Friday we have no idea of which actual Virgin Media areas will be covered and which might miss out and be left with the 500 Mbps as the maximum speed option.
Our Gigabit tracking does take into account the overlap between full fibre and Gigabit coverage and some Virgin Media services are already counted in the FTTP figures since they are delivered using RFOG (fibre to the building then a final few centimetres of coax to connect the modem/set top box).
The headline figure of 1 in 7 premises in percentage terms is 14.55% of UK premises. If prefer the raw numbers this is 4.4 million premises and 3.76 million premises are using full fibre.
The 16 local authority areas with over 50% coverage at Gigabit speeds are listed below:
|Local Authority in order of descending Gigabit Availability||Gigabit Availability|
% of premises
|Full Fibre Premises Passed|
% of premises
|City of Kingston upon Hull||98.68%||98.68%|
|City of Southampton||87.27%||5.77%|
|Lisburn and Castlereagh||50.98%||50.98%|
The question everyone wants to know the answer to is where will the UK be with Gigabit coverage levels once Virgin Media has enabled the Gig1 service across all of its network and the answer is that we will have to wait and see. We can run our numbers and pretend Gig1 is available on all the Virgin Media network, but this will not tell us about overlaps with the commercial FTTP rollouts that will be built in the next two years or where the Virgin Media Project Lightning roll-out will have enlarged the operators footprint by a million or so properties. There the best you'll get from us is an estimate of between 60 to 65% Gigabit coverage by end of 2021.
The Gigabit 100 challenge and its success is very much tied to the degree of overlap of the various networks and while we have reported on the level of overlap between Openreach and any other full fibre operator (0.4% of UK premises today) we have not looked at the overlaps between other providers. The next change in our broadband coverage tracking is to add a figure to record how many premises have a choice of two or more Gigabit options.
The overlapping aspect will be highlighted once the Gig1 is switched on in Coventry as the district council area is currently at position 27 and 39.71% full fibre coverage and therefore Gigabit coverage (2.35% FTTP overlap in the area).