Broadband News

New build homes coverage update - August 2020

The next ONS postcode set is due, which means it is time to share the latest set of figures from our tracking of what broadband is available to new premises. We last covered this analysis back in June 2020, the change now is that February 2020 and April 2020 postcodes have been added. March 2020 does not appear to figure in the ONS dataset and if missing from the next set we will chase ONS, the number tagged as April 2020 was higher than usual so its possible March was tagged as April.

Trends in UK new build broadband coverage since 2012
Levels of superfast and full fibre coverage in UK new builds since 2012

The chart has the all important full fibre line continuing to rise, but the pace of the previous couple of years is not being matched, suggesting that closing down the final 13% until full fibre is default for new homes is going to be harder work. Due to the time lag involved in whole build process of planning permission, acquiring land, building properties then additional phases over a number of years even once legislation makes including full fibre as standard it will take a year or two for the full effect to take hold.

The keen eye will notice that base line from 2012 is also improving with regards to full fibre, and this is invariably down to Openreach revisiting relatively recent estates and overbuilding the copper network with FTTP. In the race to their 4.5 million premises these sites with new ducting that is known to be good will be some of cheaper to roll-out FTTP too.

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast, USC, USO and Full Fibre Broadband Coverage across the UK, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and English regions for new build premises - figures 24th August 2020
Area% fibre based
VDSL2 or
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
Full Fibre
Openreach FTTP
% Overlap between Openreach and another FTTP operator% Under 2 Mbps download% Below USO
10 Mbps download

UK 2020
36,576 premises
98.5% 97.6% 88.5% 87.3%
10.9% 0.2% 1.1%
UK 2019
191,436 premises
98.1% 97.1% 87.2% 85.6%
10.7% 0.2% 1.1%
UK 2018
216,395 premises
97% 96.1% 78.2% 75.5%
9.9% 0.2% 0.9%
UK 2017 167,492 premises 95.4% 94.3% 59% 51.1%
7.3% 0.2% 1%
East of England 2020
3,158 premises
98.9% 97.8% 82.9% 82.2%
3.1% 0.2% 1%
East of England 2019
17,781 premises
98.6% 97.5% 86% 84.4%
8.9% 0.4% 1%
East Midlands 2020
1,075 premises
95.8% 95.7% 89.7% 89.6%
0% 0% 3.8%
East Midlands 2019
5,926 premises
97.7% 96.8% 88.2% 86.4%
4.7% 0.2% 0.8%
London 2020
8,181 premises
99.6% 99.4% 94.9% 93.8%
36.7% 0% 0.2%
London 2019
32,035 premises
98% 96.6% 89.2% 85.9%
35.4% 0% 0.8%
North East 2020
1,017 premises
94% 94% 80.4% 79.6%
0% 0% 4.5%
North East 2019
7,008 premises
98% 97.1% 81.6% 79.3%
4.8% 0.1% 0.7%
North West 2020
4,707 premises
98.9% 98.1% 88.7% 86.6%
10.9% 0.2% 1.1%
North West 2019
20,627 premises
98.6% 97.9% 87.1% 85.7%
9.1% 0.1% 0.8%
Northern Ireland 2020
644 premises
99.7% 96.4% 91.8% 89%
0% 0.3% 0.5%
Northern Ireland 2019
4,139 premises
98% 96% 89.9% 88.6%
0.4% 0.4% 1.4%
Scotland 2020
2,074 premises
98.1% 96% 92.9% 91.2%
0% 0% 0%
Scotland 2019
17,758 premises
98.2% 97.3% 88.6% 88%
5.6% 0.3% 1.2%
South East 2020
4,518 premises
96.7% 95.8% 90.1% 89.5%
7.2% 0.6% 2.5%
South East 2019
24,258 premises
98.9% 98.1% 89.2% 88.4%
7.9% 0.1% 0.6%
South West 2020
4,281 premises
98.4% 96.2% 81.6% 80%
0% 0.5% 0.5%
South West 2019
22,313 premises
98.3% 97.2% 86.9%



1.7% 0.4% 1.2%
Wales 2020
981 premises
100% 99.3% 86.3% 84.4%
0% 0.5% 0.5%
Wales 2019
4,818 premises
97.4% 96.6% 83% 82.6%
0.4% 0.2% 2.8%
West Midlands 2020
2,632 premises
98.8% 97.9% 83.4% 83%
0.3% 0.3% 1.2%
West Midlands 2019
17,604 premises
97.4% 96.5% 87.1% 85.9%
4.8% 0.2% 1.6%
Yorkshire and Humber 2020
3,299 premises
98.7% 98.3% 88.2% 86.2%
1.8% 0.2% 1%
Yorkshire and Humber 2019
17,169 premises
97.3% 96.2% 84% 82.6%
5.2% 0.4% 1.6%

The big goal is of course 100% full fibre availability for new homes, but the superfast figures show that even for partial fibre services there is work still to be done. In short there still is new homes appearing where the only broadband option other than mobile is ADSL or ADSL2+.

The pandemic might have some impact of the total number of new premises made available during 2020, the figures for 2020 which should represent one third of the year look low compared to recent year, but the annual total from 2012 and 2013 was just 126,818 and 128,071 premises respectively. It is possible that there may be several factors at play and 2020 was destined to be a low year for new premises even without the pandemic.


People need to vote with their wallets, and simply not even entertain the idea of buying a new house if it doesn't have FTTP.

I'm assuming it's the older generations that are remaining ignorant and still buying houses with copper/aluminium cables in remote locations. We'll likely need these to die off before the figures reach 100%, as younger people will simply not accept it.

  • Dave2150
  • 6 months ago

There is no Al in new build homes, Openreach builds copper or fibre only today.

As for a generational thing, I doubt that has a big impact and am not comfortable people using the ignorant label without some actual data to back things up.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

  • sheephouse
  • 6 months ago

It isn't ignorance that prevents 100% coverage, it is cost. If I were to build a new house where I live the cost of providing FTTP would add at least 30% to the cost of the house - and I don't consider where I live to be remote (it just has no back-haul available within miles).

  • sheephouse
  • 6 months ago

@sheephouse So what you are saying is that you want the public purse to subsidise the cost of peoples property. The government needs to bring in ASAP a rule that all planning applications submitted after a certain date (1/09/2020 would be fine by me) will be ineligible forever for public funds to improve broadband. At the moment property developers are making a killing and expecting the tax payer to pick up from shoddy broadband provision. I would note Persimmon made over £1 billion profit and the average selling price was £215,709. Very very few properties require £60k for FTTPoD.

  • jabuzzard
  • 6 months ago

@jabuzzard, no that is not what I am saying. I'm saying it is cost not ignorance that is resulting in some new build properties not having FTTP.
If you force all new build properties to have FTTP then you will have no new build properties in areas where the cost is many tens of thousands of pounds. Only large estates would be cost effective, where the cost can be spread across many properties. Single builds would be effectively banned. Large house builders would be unaffected by such a ban, as they don't build single properties.

  • sheephouse
  • 6 months ago


He mentioned nothing in that post about expecting any subsidy. I hope that what you think the Government should do has zero impact on anything they actually do.
You do know that people build/have build their own homes don't you.

What on earth have Persimmon and their price point got to do with anything at all that should exclude all housing from any future intervention, You believe a homebuilder should foot the bill for bringing FTTP to a rural area that commercial operators don't consider financially viable, but would then have ownership of to profit from. wow seriously.

  • Swac3
  • 6 months ago

I believe that very very few of the 13% of houses that are currently not getting good broadband are in very rural areas. What is really happening is that property developers cheap out on broadband provision to maximise their profits and the tax payer is left to pick up the costs. Want to build a house then pay the full costs of doing so. If that means a house does not get built then so be it. When you can show this is a major problem in rural areas get back to me. In the meantime expecting my taxes to subsidise people building houses is just plain wrong on just about every level imaginable.

  • jabuzzard
  • 6 months ago

@sheephouse & Swac3 I don't believe that any state funds should be used to provide either now or in the future for the provision of broadband of any form to new build properties. If the builder isn't prepared or able to make such provision then the cost needs to be picked up by the purchaser of the property if having purchased the property they then decide they want fixed line broadband.

  • MCM999
  • 6 months ago

@MCM999, I've not suggested that the state should subsidise new build broadband.
@jabuzzard, from the figures above 93.8% of new builds in London have FTTP, but only 80% in the South West. I think that tallies with rural areas being more expensive to install FTTP. It doesn't have to be very rural to be very expensive - it just needs the nearest aggregation node to be a few miles away.

  • sheephouse
  • 6 months ago

It doesn't need to cost much at all as openreach will build FTTP for free on developments of 20 plots or more, and a sliding scale from £2000 for 2 plots.

  • ribble
  • 6 months ago


Surely you're aware that a new build house with a few meters of new copper can be in area where there's existing aluminium? Or are you suggesting BT now run brand new thick insulated copper all the way from the new build houses to the FTTC cabinet?

Not much use with a few meters of copper when there's 1.5KM of aluminium from the new build DP to the FTTC cabinet, is there?

  • Dave2150
  • 6 months ago

In a very small number of homes what you suggest may be the case, e.g. house demolished/converted into two semi detached premises, in a predominantly Al area.

For the vast majority which is larger developments then will be new copper involved. Some large copper developments subsequently see Virgin or someone else appear with a FTTP service.

A new build DP is a new bit of infrastructure so unless located at the same spot as an existing DP will have new cable, and where new cable is put in the ground Openreach is not putting in aluminium today and has not for some years.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 6 months ago

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