FTTH Council suggests UK was at 15% full fibre coverage back in September 2019
The FTTH Council Europe provides one of the key comparisons for our nearest neighbours with regards to the penetration (i.e. subscribers divided by coverage) and coverage figures for the many countries that form Europe. Its latest panaroma has been published and covers everything up to September 2019.
The 15.1% coverage of FTTH/B in the United Kingdom looks very optimistic, back in December Ofcom in its latest summary based on data from all the providers said coverage was 10% and given the lag involved in collating the figures this 10% is very likely to be at a similar point in time to the iDate analysis used by FTTH Council Europe.
Our own tracking had the UK at 9.3% FTTP coverage at the end of September 2019, 10.9% at the end of 2019 and as of last Saturday (18th April) we were showing 13.27%. The task of chasing down the FTTP coverage is a daily job and as of 9am this morning our internal database was showing 13.34% and with what has been found today we expect to hit 13.35% over night when the analysis is ran. We generally lag around 4 to 8 weeks behind what has been built, but a good amount of this lag is because networks are built but not released for the public to order a service, this lag is worth around an additional 0.5 to 0.8 percentage points.
So why is the FTTH Council EU saying 15.1%, well numerous possibilities exist but without access to a chunk of their data its impossible to know exactly. Possibilities are
- Not taking into account the overlapping nature of some of the networks built e.g. 0.46% of UK premises have Openreach FTTP and 1 or more other FTTP providers
- Baseline number of premises for the UK is wrong and with a chunk of the FTTP built being in new properties this could skew figures.
- Inclusion of some metro networks e.g. a POP is present in a business park so businesses can order but does not fit into the Ofcom or our criteria for FTTP premises passed.
- Using old figures e.g. one provider used to suggest a footprint of 500,000 when all the data suggested it was around 400,000 in reality. A correct Ofcom had factored into its last Connected Nations report.
Unfortunately knowing the UK figure seems to be diverging from reality so much does mean that questions may be asked about the other European countries in terms of the absolute figures.
The penetration figure is reliant on the premises passed but the relative positioning is not going to change much. Our own figures based on data from Q1 2020 suggests a penetration of around 4.9% for FTTP in the United Kingdom. Our quarterly tracker of how product choices are changing is due before the end of April.