Broadband News

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 AvailabilityGigabit Availability
% of premises
Full Fibre Premises Passed
% of premises
United Kingdom 14.55% 12.41%
City of Kingston upon Hull 98.68% 98.68%
Reading 89.96% 6.68%
City of Southampton 87.27% 5.77%
Bolton District 79.37% 0.98%
Warrington 71.61% 1.62%
Belfast 70.19% 70.19%
Trafford District 66.25% 2.3%
Wokingham 63.55% 10.1%
Salford District 63.21% 56.33%
Bracknell Forest 61.87% 5.52%
Milton Keynes 60.36% 60.36%
York 57.18% 57.18%
Tameside District 55.11% 55.11%
Manchester District 54.23% 16.38%
Berkshire 51.78% 10.38%
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).


When will mine be more than 1.7Mbps?

  • ahockings
  • 8 months ago

Although Openreach FTTP is technically "gigabit capable", it won't be until March 23rd that affordable gigabit services will become available.

Currently the only offering is 1000/220, from the likes of Cerberus, at £600 setup plus £240 per month (or £630 per month in Market A exchanges). That's getting into leased line pricing territory.

  • candlerb
  • 8 months ago

Lets face it broadband in the UK is more hit and miss than local NHS provision. You can be in a major city passed by Openreach and Virgin but unable to get connected and be stuck on 1Mbps ADSL. You can be in small village and get 1Gbps. (Or like me in a small town have a poor line and be stuck on slow 19Mbps FTTC.)

I just wish we could find a way of encouraging Openreach and the various altnets to commit to cover areas so at least we had some feel for when we might get something...

  • cheesemp
  • 8 months ago

Maybe I'm missing something, but nowhere inside the M25 is on the list. High density of population with the highest average incomes in the country, yet FTTP is so patchy. I realise that VDSL speed are generally better in London, but at this rate the capital is going to get left behind. Many places in central London only have provision for ADSL.

  • indigomm
  • 8 months ago

There are many pockets of FTTP within the M25 from several network providers, but because its so heavily populated London doesn't yet appear in the table

  • ribble
  • 8 months ago

@ribble That's my point - it's a few pockets here and there, nothing major. I don't believe it's population diluting the figures, it is simply lack of rollout.

Sure, other places have hardly any broadband at all, and I sympathise. But if you are going to upgrade areas that areas already well served, then I would expect more in London, that's all.

  • indigomm
  • 8 months ago

For those worried about London

Barking and Dagenham 49.95%
City of Westminster 47.72%
Southwark 43.99%
Tower Hamlets 43.36%
City of London 39.98%

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 8 months ago

All full fibre I imagine given no VM Gig1 there.

Apart from Kingston the rest of the top 5 for gigabit availability are profoundly dependent on VM.

  • CarlThomas
  • 8 months ago

Whilst your points about the attractiveness of deploying in London are true, you overlook the other side of the equation: London also has a reputation for being the most expensive city to deploy in, as well as having a hugely fragmented bureaucracy. In general you will be able to build faster and so start generating revenue in other cities.

  • New_Londoner
  • 8 months ago

@New_Londoner I can see London won't be cheap to deploy in. But with a high density of properties and a market that is used to high prices, the rewards are also there. Regarding the bureaucracy, surely BT have powers to put fibre in the ground without consultation? Certainly G.Network, with no existing infrastructure, think it is worth digging up whole neighbourhoods to install fibre. I can only hope they come out our way one day.

  • indigomm
  • 8 months ago

London might be used to high prices BUT the consumer price of FTTP is the same everywhere so the return to the infrastructure provider is less where the cost of deployment is higher. Much of central London is (old) blocks of flats of Georgian houses now sub-divided into flats and these are much messier to serve due to having too talk to each landlord / freeholder association. Plus Andrews figures show that it is not small pockets that already have potential Gb. 691k premises FTTP in Jan the highest region in country, 14.8% 3rd highest region % wise.

  • jumpmum
  • 8 months ago

Map with the main FTTP operators in London, will need to zoom as postcode density is high for the central London boroughs

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 8 months ago

@andrew Thanks. Was just looking at that as one of my colleagues coincidentally just asked about broadband options. He's moving within London and will only be able to get a 10/1 connection at his new place! Fortunately there may be a 5G option, but it illustrates that even in the capital, basic broadband can still be a struggle.

  • indigomm
  • 8 months ago

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