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August update on state of broadband coverage across the UK and regions

August update on state of broadband coverage across the UK and regions

Another month has flown by and that means its time to look at the changes in broadband coverage across the UK and see how much of an impact all the work is having compared to the number of press releases that are issued. The same number of regions are included in the data this month, but we have now included the number of premises in each region and the breakdown for the various speed points too, thus making it easier to get an idea of what sort of change each 0.1% in the overall figure actually means.

thinkbroadband calculation of Superfast, USC, USO and Fibre Broadband Coverage1 across the UK, its nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage – figures 6th August 2017
(change since 7th July 2017) Area % fibre based
VDSL2 or
FTTP or
Cable % superfast
24 Mbps or faster % superfast
30 Mbps or faster % Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster % Openreach FTTP % Under 2 Mbps USC % Under proposed 10 Mbps USO North East 97.7% 96.3% (+0.1) 96% 52.8% (+0.1) 0.06% 0.2% 1.3% 927,552 Premises 905,759 893,634 890,447 877,939 600 2,169 12,094 London 97.2% 96.1% (+0.2) 95.9% 71.1% (+0.1) 1.90% 0.1% 0.8% 4,397,679 Premises 4,272,897 4,224,452 4,215,213 3,124,889 83,368 6,563 36,791 East Midlands 98.2% 95.9% (+0.1) 95.4% 58.7% (+0.1) 0.14% 0.5% 1.9% 1,101,327 Premises 1,081,586 1,055,946 1,051,212 645,955 1,498 5,613 20,570 South East 98.1% 95.7% (+0.1) 95.2% 52.4% (=) 1.22% 0.3% 1.6% 2,154,786 Premises 2,113,165 2,063,073 2,052,302 1,129,449 26,216 7,237 34,850 West Midlands 97.7% 95.4% (+0.1) 95% 64.4% (+0.1) 0.28% 0.4% 1.9% 2,767,345 Premises 2,702,906 2,641,404 2,628,726 1,781,983 7,854 11,345 52,155 North West 97.6% 94.8% (+0.1) 94.3% 48.5% (+0.1) 0.99% 0.7% 2.6% 3,895,746 Premises 3,801,455 3,692,854 3,672,825 1,887,588 38,714 28,239 100,225 England 96.7% 94.1% (+0.2) 93.6% 55.7% (=) 1.76% 0.6% 2.5% 23,891,665 Premises 23,105,672 22,472,665 22,350,644 13,313,043 420,025 135,215 602,189 United Kingdom 96.5% 93.4% (+0.2) 92.8% 52.8% (=) 1.61% 0.8% 3.1% 28,515,090 Premises 27,522,375 26,619,513 26,452,838 15,057,164 458,814 229,100 888,860 Rest Of Scotland 95.5% 92.5% (+0.5) 91.8% 47% (+0.1) 0.12% 1% 4% 2,338,003 Premises 2,231,953 2,161,972 2,147,373 1,098,494 2,833 23,718 92,540 East of England 95.8% 92.3% (+0.3) 91.6% 51.6% (=) 0.59% 0.7% 3.5% 2,602,529 Premises 2,492,069 2,401,162 2,384,473 1,342,575 15,241 19,153 90,202 Wales 95.5% 91.5% (+0.2) 90.5% 32.2% (+0.1) 2.48% (+0.14) 0.9% 4.9% 1,321,385 Premises 1,262,556 1,208,819 1,195,809 426,027 32,715 12,351 64,937 Yorkshire and Humber 93.9% 91.5% (+0.3) 91% 53.1% (+0.1) 5.1% (includes KCom Lightstream) 0.6% 3.9% 2,557,428 Premises 2,401,146 2,339,403 2,327,882 1,357,200 130,305 16,172 100,606 Scotland 94.7% 90.8% (+0.5) 90% 42.7% (+1.9) 0.11% 1.4% 5.3% 2,575,926 Premises 2,440,157 2,338,504 2,318,638 1,100,508 2,848 34,913 137,145 South West 95.6% 90.6% (+0.1) 89.7% 44.6% (+0.1) 3.33% 1.1% 4.4% 3,487,273 Premises 3,334,689 3,160,737 3,127,564 1,553,749 116,229 38,724 154,696 Northern Ireland 98.3% 82.6% (+0.4) 80.9% 30% (=) 0.44% 6.4% 11.6% 726,114 Premises 713,990 599,525 587,747 217,586 3,226 46,621 84,589 Highlands and Islands (HIE) 87.2% 73.4% (+0.8) 71.1% 0.08% (=) 0.08% 4.9% 19.6% 226,458 Premises 197,578 166,175 161,009 173 173 11,168 44,368

A week ago we were quoting 904,000 premises as needing work under the proposed Universal Service Obligation and that has now dropped to 888,860 premises as a result of the roll-outs and this reflects the importance when costing solutions or studying proposals to implement the USO that the impact of the continuing roll-outs of superfast broadband is considered. These figures do not include the contribution that fixed wireless is making to the superfast coverage levels from AirBand in Devon or UK Broadband in Swindon yet, they are on the to-do list to be integrated into the coverage analysis.

Scotland has crossed a milestone this month as it has reached the coveage level of 90.01% for premises (and for those not aware premises comprises homes + businesses) at the 30 Mbps and faster level and it will be interesting to see how long current pace of roll-out can be maintained.

Northern Ireland also appears to have woken up from a relative slumber with more cabinets, infill cabinets and little bits of native GEA-FTTP appearing.

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References

  1. ^ Council, Constituency and postcode broadband availability checker (labs.thinkbroadband.com)
  2. ^ Login (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  3. ^ Register (www.thinkbroadband.com)

CityFibre seeks to raise £185m of funding to build its vision of Gigabit Britain

CityFibre is doing things differently to how full fibre roll-outs are seen by many people, i.e. they operator as the wholesale dark fibre provider with invariably local Internet providers partnering in the towns where their network has been rolled out with local authorities and large businesses often acting as the anchor tennant to ensure that the network does not sit dormant for decades and be just another fibre white elephant. The big news today it is raising ?185 million to invest in expanding its footprint and crucially for the public to commence in 2018 actual fibre to the home roll-outs in five to ten new towns and cities in addition to the metro fibre network that underpins the Gigabit City claims. CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings PLC (“CityFibre” or the “Company”), a designer, builder, owner and operator of fibre optic infrastructure in UK towns and cities, today announces that it intends to raise minimum gross proceeds of ?185 million at 55 pence per share, fully underwritten by Citigroup, finnCap, Liberum and Macquarie (the “Banks”) (the “Firm Placing”), with the intention to raise further proceeds through an accelerated bookbuilding process which will be launched immediately following this announcement (the “ABB Placing”) (together, the “Placing”). In addition, the Company intends to raise further gross proceeds of up to ?15 million through a non-underwritten offer for subscription (the “Offer for Subscription”).

CityFibre on Investment

The metro fibre network currently exists in 42 towns and cities across the UK and the expansion is intended to take this to not less than 50 areas by 2020. The York trial is described as demonstrating strong demand and apparently negotiations are at an advanced stage with retailers to market full fibre services using an expanded CityFibre network. Hopefully this means that as 2018 progresses rather than talking about a rapidly increased number of premises actually passed by FTTH from CityFibre and as with York report on the speeds people are getting (homes passed using the internationally accepted definitions means in York there are 20,000 to 25,000 premises believed to be passed currently.

The recent placing of CityFibre in the centre of the ?400m HM Treasury Ultrafast broadband investment fund is now much clearer since CityFibre appear keen to continue raising capital to continue to take custom anyway from the traditional leased line market leaders but are also seeking to expand more into the consumer arena with partners. The purchase of Entanet for ?29 million may be a surprise for some, but with Entanet as a well established wholesaler that has some 1,500 partners it providers a perfect avenue for dealing with the long tail of smaller providers who often provider local IT services in addition to broadband connectivity to businesses operating in their local area. This should help to increase the number of business customers and home workers/prosumers signing up to the full fibre services.

What is clear for the next few years is that firms who do cable laying are going to be very busy and it may be that access to labour and potentially rising costs if supply is short might actually be what holds back a vision of a full fibre UK more than access to funding.

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References

  1. ^ Login (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  2. ^ Register (www.thinkbroadband.com)

Peak and off peak performance at largest broadband providers in June 2017

Peak and off peak performance at largest broadband providers in June 2017

It is time to take a harder look at what the masses of speed test results that we get from our broadband speed test1 tell us about the largest broadband providers and by looking at this each month of the year over time it is possible to get a sense for which providers get closest to keeping people happy during the busiest times of the day.

Off-Peak Tests Results June 2017
Off-Peak defined as midnight to 5.59pm
Median Average Provider

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
(6 downloads) % difference Upload Speed Quality Latency BT 25.9 Mbps 29.1 Mbps -11% 5.9 Mbps 1.00 41ms EE 11.3 Mbps 12.3 Mbps -8.1% 0.8 Mbps 1.00 49ms Plusnet 19.7 Mbps 22.2 Mbps -11.1% 1.6 Mbps 1.00 48ms Sky 13.6 Mbps 16.4 Mbps -17.1% 3.1 Mbps 1.00 52ms TalkTalk 12.2 Mbps 13.9 Mbps -12.2% 0.9 Mbps 1.00 54ms Virgin Media 40.3 Mbps 61.4 Mbps -34.3% 6.1 Mbps 1.00 44ms

The quality metric stands out a lot this month as all of the big five are identical, or more precisely figure is capped at the value of 1 (i.e. the best value we display). After many months of monitoring this score this is the first time this has happened, and suggests maybe its time for a recalibration and further extra investigative work. The good news is that on the basis of the median scores that the five major providers overall have had a good month, though as always with an average no matter whether its the median or mean there are always those that under perform and over perform.

Peak Tests Results June 2017
Peak time defined as 6pm to 11:59pm
Median Average Provider

tbbx1 Test
(1 download)

httpx6 Test
(6 downloads) % difference Upload Speed Quality Latency BT 25.7 Mbps 27.5 Mbps -6.5% 5.6 Mbps 1.00 43ms EE 11.7 Mbps 13.5 Mbps -14.6% 1.3 Mbps 1.00 50ms Plusnet 19.3 Mbps 23.1 Mbps -16.4% 1.7 Mbps 1.00 48ms Sky 12.1 Mbps 15.6 Mbps -22.4% 2.3 Mbps 1.00 55ms TalkTalk 11.9 Mbps 14.4 Mbps -17.4% 1 Mbps 1.00 56ms Virgin Media 33.7 Mbps 53.2 Mbps -36.6% 5.9 Mbps 1.04 39ms

The main speed test results suggested that Virgin Media had improved and at peak times they are only provider from the big 6 to breach the magic best score of 1.00 on quality, telling us that there is still a sizeable tail of users having problems, but that this is less of an issue than it was in May. In fact looking through our monthly data sets the quality score is back in line with results from 2015.

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References

  1. ^ broadband speed test (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  2. ^ Login (www.thinkbroadband.com)
  3. ^ Register (www.thinkbroadband.com)