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

December is upon us and the pace of the broadband roll-outs from the last few months seems to be continuing and thus we can report that our analysis puts the UK shy of the 95% target by 154,000 premises based on our data from 6th December 2017. It seems unlikely that we will cross the gap between 94.5% and 95% before New Years Eve, but it is entirely possible that the numerous broadband providers will have actually delivered the infrastructure to meet that goal and it is just a case of us verifying that all the public pronouncements about coverage in villages and towns across the UK does bear any relation to reality. In short it takes us a few weeks to tally up all the new coverage, so while for many areas we are often just a few days behind, for some areas it does take longer.

Wales is going to be interesting to watch as there is a LOT of full fibre (FTTP) with messages of going live before 31st December 2017 so we presume for Openreach staff in Wales any Christmas parties have been postponed until January.

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast, USC, USO and Full Fibre Broadband Coverage[1] across the UK, its nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage – figures 6th December 2017
(change since 7th November 2017)
Area

% fibre based
VDSL2 or
FTTP or
Cable

% superfast
24 Mbps or faster

% superfast
30 Mbps or faster

% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster

%
Full Fibre
and
Openreach FTTP

% Under 2 Mbps download

% Under 10 Mbps download

923,329 Premises

4,459,127 Premises

1,108,737 Premises

2,168,670 Premises

2,787,805 Premises

3,916,201 Premises

24,077,970 Premises

28,078,854 Premises

28,827,348 Premises

2,364,864 Premises

2,620,991 Premises

1,383,849 Premises

2,570,898 Premises

2,617,035 Premises

3,522,212 Premises

748,494 Premises

240,641 Premises

North East 98.1% 96.9% (+0.1) 96.7% 53.1% (+0.3)

0.46% (+0.03)

0.11% (+0.03)

0.2% 1.1%
905,911 895,007 893,171 490,005

4,246

1001

1,970 9,933
London 97.6% 96.6% (+0.1) 96.5% 71.5% (+0.1)

5.77% (+0.15)

2.3% (+0.17)

0.1% 0.7%
4,350,805 4,309,452 4,302,739 3,185,835

257,131

102,472

5,931 30,104
East Midlands 98.6% 96.6% (+0.2) 96.4% 58.7% (=)

1.01% (+0.05)

0.25% (+0.06)

0.4% 1.6%
1,093,400 1,071,378 1,068,299 650,347

11,245

2,775

4,982 17,659
South East 98.3% 96.3% (+0.1) 96% 52.5% (=)

2.66% (+0.23)

1.39% (+0.08)

0.3% 1.3%
2,132,430 2,090,688 2,082,920 1,138,683

57,743

30,163

6,483 29,005
West Midlands 98% 96.1% (+0.2) 95.8% 64.6% (=)

1.14% (+0.13)

0.42% (+0.06)

0.4% 1.6%
2,732,120 2,679,126 2,670,634 1,800,332

31,756

11,776

10,351 44,911
North West 98% 95.6% (+0.3) 95.3% 49.0% (+0.4)

1.93% (+0.06)

1.15% (+0.05)

0.7% 2.1%
3,838,265 3,745,742 3,732,269 1,920,127

75,462

45,200

25,748 82,699
England 97.3% 95% (+0.2) 94.7% 56.1% (+0.1)

3.46% (+0.13)

2.05% (+0.11)

0.5% 2.2%
23,433,776 22,878,824 22,795,505 13,516,048

832,520

494,598

122,076 497,354
Great Britain 97% 94.5% (+0.3) 94.1% 53.7% (+0.1)

3.08% (+0.18)

1.84% (+0.12)

0.6% 2.5%
27,287,960 26,594,937 26,491,544 15,091,657

903,256

551,318

167,482 675,802
United Kingdom 97.2% 94.5% (+0.3) 94.1% 53.2% (+0.1)

3.16% (+0.14)

1.94% (+0.13)

0.7% 2.6%
28,025,551 27,231,436 27,120,218 15,325,736

910,144

558,206

207,910 749,241
Rest Of Scotland 96.7% 94% (+0.4) 93.7% 47.4% (-0.1)

0.66% (+0.09)

0.27% (+0.10)

0.9% 3.5%
2,286,171 2,222,767 2,214,667 1,121,855

15,677

6,308

22,441 82,081
East of England 96.5% 93.4% (+0.2) 92.9% 51.7% (=)

1.34% (+0.07)

0.73% (+0.07)

0.7% 3%
2,528,558 2,447,608 2,435,610 1,354,218

35,102

19,068

18,683 78,962
Wales 96.4% 93% (+0.2) 92.4% 32.2% (-0.7)

3.86% (+0.29)

3.61% (+0.30)

0.9% 4%
1,333,642 1,287,614 1,279,160 445,862

53,464

49,984

12,593 55,735
Yorkshire and Humber 95.3% 93.2% (+0.6) 92.9% 54.2% (+0.3)

6.82% (+0.25)

5.89% (+0.25)(includes KCom Lightstream)

0.6% 3.1%
2,449,794 2,396,120 2,388,630 1,393,466

175,363

151,391

15,210 80,553
Scotland 96.3% 92.8% (+0.5) 92.4% 43.2% (=)

0.66% (+0.09)

0.26% (+0.09)

1.3% 4.9%
2,520,542 2,428,499 2,416,879 1,129,747

17,272

6,736

32,793 122,713
South West 96.4% 91.8% (+0.3) 91.2% 44.8% (+0.1)

5.04% (+0.25)

3.59% (+0.18)

0.9% 3.6%
3,402,693 3,243,723 3,221,593 1,583,035

184,472

130,722

32,738 123,528
Northern Ireland 98.5% 85% (+0.5) 84% 31.3% (+0.1)

0.92% (+0.17)

0.92% (+0.17)

5.4% 9.8%
737,591 636,499 628,674 234,079

6,888

6,888

40,448 73,439
Highlands and Islands (HIE) 89.4% 77.6% (+0.6) 76.2% 0.3% (+0.1)

0.25% (+0.06)

0.25% (+0.06)

4.4% 17.4%
215,136 186,798 183,307 592

592

592

10,312 40,345

As the figures show progress is happening, but for those still stuck with services in the right scope of the right hand columns it will obviously feel like nothing has changed of course. Wales has shown good growth in the amount of FTTP available and we believe there is still another 20,000 to 30,000 of premises to go live as the contract in Wales enters its final weeks. We expect lots of you to spot the drop in ultrafast coverage in Wales and this is down to the fact that with the new build premises we have integrated in the last month (notice how the UK wide premises total is over 120,000 higher than a month ago) in Wales almost exclusively these were covered by VDSL2 and in some cases FTTP, in the other parts of the UK we have been finding new build areas where Virgin Media is natively available thus the rise in FTTP coverage has often balanced the percentages out.

England has reached a mini milestone with 95.02% superfast coverage at over 24 Mbps and based on the pace of the roll-outs in Scotland we expect them to have similar coverage levels in 5 or 6 months and if Wales does see another 30,000 premises of full fibre delivered under its contract it is looking at 95% coverage at 24 Mbps and faster too. The public targets in Wales and Scotland are fibre based, which could be taken as the first column and both are exceeding their 96% and 95% targets respectively, but we believe their targets for fibre based include a 15 Mbps threshold and with that criteria Wales is 1% shy (13,838 premises more needed) and Scotland is 0.7% shy (18,319 premises needed). The challenges now are getting those people who have superfast available to upgrade and make use of the services and how low the sub 10 Mbps figure can go before those in that section are abandoned to the fate of the Broadband Universal Service Obligation in whatever form it eventually takes.

The political pressure to make sure the UK is not seen to be lagging behind many other countries in the full fibre league tables does mean that it is almost certain that the bulk of any commercial full fibre roll-outs will be in urban areas (the commercial exception to this is Gigaclear).

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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)

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