UK hits 19% full fibre mark
Our tracking of full fibre availability in the UK has reached 19.01% of UK premises (5,819,565 premises) and while the FTTP build rate is still massively faster than two years ago it has taken 49 days to add this extra percentage point.
The Christmas break has slowed things down by a few days but we had actually expected to hit the 19% mark on 1st or 2nd January 2021. The gap between Christmas and New Year saw a burst of activity that found more FTTP than we had earlier in December. Our full set of statistics tracking the areas has therefore only had a partial update with the regions, unitary authorities and county councils being updated today, the full suite is set to update on the morning of 1st January 2021.
There are now 23 local authorities with FTTP coverage above 50%, these are:
- City of Kingston Upon Hull 99.03%
- Milton Keynes 84.79%
- Belfast 74.94%
- Epson and Ewell District 68.68%
- Antrim and Newtownabbey 67.92%
- Ards and North Down 65.04%
- Exeter District 64.86%
- Amargh, Banbridge and Craigavon 64.54%
- Mid and East Antrim 63.98%
- York 62.71%
- Lisburn and Castlereach 61.58%
- Tameside District 61.28%
- Salford District 60.72%
- Coventry District 59.28%
- Derry and Strabane 57.89%
- City of Bristol 55.19%
- Thanet 54.12%
- Tower Hamlets 53.79%
- City of Westminster 53.42%
- Barking and Dagenham 52.67%
- East Riding of Yorkshire 52.41%
- City of Peterborough 51.62%
- Causeway Coast and Glens 50.06%
The last 12 months has seen 8.26 percentage points added and if that pace continues we are obviously looking at around 27% FTTP coverage on New Years Eve 2021. The 12 months to 31st December 2019 only saw 5.47 percentage points added showing that the talk of increased building pace is not just all political bluster for once.
The big unknown is how much the various networks will overlap each other as they continue to build in the commercially attractive areas, e.g. there are a couple of new parts of Edinburgh where we can see CityFibre/Vodafone Gigafast overlapping with the Openreach FTTP network. The overlapping of commercial roll-outs does create some anger among commentators but in urban areas the property density means the economics remain viable and competing networks will give people an option if one network ends up suffering congestion in terms of latency or throughput at peak times. In rural areas it is likely that only one full fibre network will be economic even with subsidy and these local monopolies are where Ofcom will see the most challenges in terms of encouraging retailers to use the nominally open access networks and potentially forcing the introduction of affordable entry level packages to get people to switch from unreliable ADSL/ADSL2+ networks.