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UK Map Shows Consumer Superfast Broadband Uptake Hits 20%

Friday, Jul 5th, 2013 (9:09 am) - Score 4,366

The latest map from Point Topic has revealed that uptake of superfast broadband (30Mbps+) based internet connections in the United Kingdom has now reached 20% (Q1-2013), which is largely thanks to Virgin Media’s effort to double its customers speeds and thus lift several million consumers into the same area of performance.

The analyst notes that total superfast subscriptions in the UK passed 4 million in April 2013, although Virgin Media haven’t been doing all the work. BT’s range of fibre optic based FTTC (up to 80Mbps) and FTTP (330Mbps) technologies have also been growing at a good pace, including through rival ISPs like TalkTalk and Sky Broadband.

Lest we not forgot the small but no less important contributions from altnet ISPs like Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, CityFibre, B4RN, KC and others that have also helped to push the figures higher. Indeed we expect the next Q2-2013 update to show an even more significant improvement as Virgin Media nears the end of its double speed upgrade (though the upload speed boost may take a little longer).

Oliver Johnson, Chief Executive at Point Topic, said:

Virgin Media has had the most bandwidth in the market for the longest of the major ISPs. They have seen high end services, over 30 megabits a second, go from ten percent of their subscriber base to almost sixty percent in the last two years.

With Virgin Media, KCom, Digital Region and other smaller players like Hyperoptic there’s more infrastructure competition than ever before but it’s true that there will be significant sections of the country who will not have any chance of superfast for years yet.

Superfast will be the engine for growth for the broadband future of Britain. The higher costs will deter some but overall there are enough drivers, the most important by far being television, for thirty megabits and above to be the norm in most households in the UK in the next two or three years.”

On the other hand it’s important to stress that Point Topic’s data only reflects headline speeds and not actual real-world performance, which is of course a very different matter and is extremely hard to map with any accuracy.

Similarly nearly all of this effort stems from commercial investment, while the government’s state aid support Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project has only just got underway and it’s starting from a very slow crawl.

The following map helps to visualize the situation (green areas = better superfast broadband take-up / red areas = poor take-up) and it will of course surprise nobody that the urban areas are the first to benefit. The exception is Northern Ireland where superfast broadband services are available to almost everybody.

superfast broadband uptake map q1 2013
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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