More Fantastic Full Fibre is rolling out

The latest report on broadband coverage in the United Kingdom for the second half of 2022 indicates that the deployment of full-fibre (FTTP) internet service provider networks has increased substantially, with coverage now reaching 45.13% of premises. This represents a significant rise from the 37.61% coverage reported in the first half of 2022. Furthermore, the report also shows that 72.66% of premises in the UK can access “gigabit” speeds, which is up from 69.24% in H1 2022.

While the focus remains on enhancing “gigabit” (1000Mbps+ or 1Gbps+) class networks across the country, the majority of this new gigabit connectivity comes from Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based networks, which are offered by various companies.
In addition to the companies mentioned in the report, other rival alternative networks (AltNets) have also contributed to the coverage of FTTP internet service. As of H2 2022, AltNets alone have covered 18.20% of the UK with FTTP, with the highest coverage being in England at 19.29%, and the lowest coverage in Wales at 3.79%.

Although gigabit coverage is growing, the report highlights that it is growing at a slower pace due to overbuilding of HFC networks in urban areas. The report suggests that commercial investment in FTTP is driving most of the progress on gigabit-capable network coverage, with some support from the Government’s various voucher schemes. However, the newly announced £5bn Project Gigabit (F20) program is expected to have a significant impact on gigabit coverage, with its impact expected to begin in late 2023 and rise rapidly from 2024 onwards.

It’s worth noting that people in areas with sub-10Mbps internet speeds will have limited options, such as using the flawed 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO), opting for a satellite solution, or waiting for a fixed line upgrade. People taking the USO are promised speeds of over 10Mbps, although some residents are finding that they live in areas where not even the USO can cover the high upgrade costs.

Each devolved region in the UK has its own policy and targets, which are all taken into consideration in the national broadband coverage report. For example, Northern Ireland has shown significant progress in FTTP coverage and is closing in on 90% coverage, which is far ahead of other regions. The report expects Northern Ireland to be one of the first regions to achieve near-universal coverage of gigabit-capable broadband.

Although the data presented in the report is an estimate and may not reflect the very latest real-world position, it is still one of the best and most up-to-date sources for checking against official claims. It’s worth noting that official figures tend to be slightly higher than the report’s estimates due to differences in data modeling.

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