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Broadband is a general term for any telecoms technology that carries a lot of data (high speed internet connectivity), using a wide range (band) of frequencies, over fixed lines or wireless.
 Categories
network cable snake
  1. Fixed Line Narrowband
  2. Fixed Line Broadband
  3. Wireless Broadband
 Summary - UK Fixed Line Broadband Statistics (Updated July 2020)
Gigabit Broadband Coverage
Superfast Broadband Cover
NOTE: The rapid rise in "gigabit" (1Gbps+) coverage is attributed to Virgin Media's upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 that began in 2019 (due to finish in 2021) and the roll-out of "full fibre" FTTP.

The graphs on this introductory page are regularly updated and should give you some indication as to the status of national broadband performance, access, uptake and availability in the United Kingdom.

At present home internet access is primarily delivered over fixed lines and through a variety of different technologies, which are explained in the above categories. Ofcom (telecoms regulator) splits these services into two camps based on their performance:

Average Download Speeds (Real)

Broadband Speed Definitions (Ofcom)

Decent Broadband
Services that supply actual internet download speeds of at least 10Mbps (1Mbps uploads), which is generally delivered using ADSL technology over existing copper telephone lines.

Superfast Broadband
Services that supply download speeds of at least 30Mbps (Ofcom and EU definition), which are most commonly provided through fibre optic and or coaxial cables in the form of Hybrid Fibre / Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / FTTH) or cable (DOCSIS). It's worth noting that most government (BDUK Phase 1 + 2) supported broadband schemes define superfast as 24Mbps+, while later phases adopt the 30Mbps+ definition.

Ultrafast Broadband
Services that supply headline download speeds of at least 300Mbps (Ofcom's definition), which are most commonly provided through pure fibre optic cables (FTTP) or in the form of advanced hybrid fibre solutions (G.fast, XG.Fast, DOCSIS). NOTE: The EU, BT and most others define the starting point as 100Mbps+.

Gigabit Broadband
Services that can supply headline download speeds of up to or beyond 1Gbps (Gigabits per second) or 1000Mbps+ (Megabits per second) if you prefer. Usually supplied via "full fibre" (FTTP) networks but DOCSIS 3.1 (cable) can also deliver it and so can future 5G mobile connections.

As of July 2020 around 98.5% of the country can access a "decent broadband" (10Mbps+) connection and around 96.4% can recieve a "superfast" connection (30Mbps+), although "gigabit-capable" (1Gbps+) and pure "full fibre" networks are a long way behind.

NOTE: The figure in brackets (%) represents the previous 2019 H2 result (January 2020 data).

Fixed Broadband Network Availability 2020 H1

Area 30Mbps+ 100Mbps+ Full Fibre Gigabit % Under 10Mbps
England 96.9% (96.7%) 64.1% (61.83%) 14.06% (10.54%) 21.95% 1% (2.09%)
UK 96.4% (96.1%) 61.7% (59.30%) 14.81% (11.01%) 22.12% 1.5% (2.49%)
Wales 95.1% (94.9%) 39.9% (38.35%) 14.11% (11.28%) 14.11% 2.5% (3.43%)
Scotland 94.3% (94%) 52.9% (49.89%) 12.04% (7.77%) 20.67% 3.2% (4.38%)
Northern Ireland 89.1% (89%) 58% (49.74%) 47.7% (35.42%) 47.7% 6.9% (6.63%)
NOTE 1: Nearly all of the "ultrafast" (100Mbps+) coverage is coming from Virgin Media's cable network, although Openreach, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, Cityfibre, TrueSpeed and others all have big "full fibre" (FTTP/H) expansion plans. The 330Mbps capable G.fast roll-out to 2.8 million UK premises has had a small impact too.

NOTE 2: It's very important to remember that Government / political targets like 95% reflect a national average, which can of course be better or worse for some regions (e.g. a few may achieve universal coverage, while others could be well below that).

NOTE 3: The 10Mbps USO figure above looks at fixed broadband services but doesn't factor the impact of 4G or 5G based mobile broadband, if that were included then the gap left to fill would be much smaller (example).

We should add that Openreach's (BT) open fixed line telecoms network, which is used by most of the main ISPs except Virgin Media and many smaller alternative network providers, dominates most of country's national infrastructure and reaches nearly 100% of the population (with ADSL, but FTTC isn't far behind). By comparison Virgin Media's closed cable network covers around 55% of the country and is primarily focused on urban areas (expanding to c.60% by the end of 2020).

Meanwhile Satellite services can reach close to 100% of the population but they are costly and quite restrictive. By contrast there are a growing number of fixed wireless networks (FWA) but these are predominantly niche and only cover specific areas. Finally, 4G based Mobile Broadband services are available to most people and is reasonably affordable (outdoor geographic coverage is at 66% from all four mobile operators or 91% from at least one operator).

Total Broadband vs Superfast Broadband Lines
Fixed Broadband Technology by Market Share (Customers)
Data Sources (Graphs and Statistics):
* Market Share by Technology (Ofcom Data Tables Q4-2019)
* Broadband Coverage (TBB H1 2020 Data)

* Superfast Broadband Coverage (TBB H1 2020 Data)
* Superfast Broadband Lines (Ofcom Data Tables Q4-2019)
* Total Broadband Lines (Ofcom Data Tables Q4-2019)
* Fixed Line Broadband Speeds (Ofcom 2020 Speeds Report)

Useful Articles:
* The UK Best Broadband ISPs for 2020
* Broadband Buyers Guide
* UK ADSL Broadband Internet Connection Tips and Tweaks
* Broadband Solutions for Remote and Rural UK Communities
* The Definition of UK Superfast Next Generation Broadband
 Latest UK ISP News
 Cheapest Superfast Broadband ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Onestream £22.49 (*29.99)
    Avg. Speed 45Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*35.98)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Reward Card
  • Vodafone £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | Compare More ISPs
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Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £22.00
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Onestream £22.49 (*29.99)
    Avg. Speed 45Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • xln telecom £22.74 (*47.94)
    Avg. Speed 66Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*35.98)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £50 Reward Card
  • Vodafone £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
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The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2768)
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  4. Building Digital UK (1740)
  5. Politics (1662)
  6. Openreach (1619)
  7. Business (1429)
  8. FTTH (1340)
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  10. Mobile Broadband (1221)
  11. Fibre Optic (1062)
  12. 4G (1052)
  13. Wireless Internet (1020)
  14. Ofcom Regulation (1014)
  15. Virgin Media (1004)
  16. EE (696)
  17. Sky Broadband (668)
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