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2 Million UK Premises Can Now Access Full Fibre Broadband ISP Lines

Thursday, April 4th, 2019 (11:35 am) - Score 2,659
fibre optic cable strands coloured

A new batch of independent data has revealed that “full fibre” (FTTP) style ultrafast broadband ISP networks are now available to 2,047,954 premises and Openreach (BT)’s infrastructure accounts for half of those (1,003,094 premises). Meanwhile the national roll-out from all operators is continuing to ramp-up.

The data from Thinkbroadband tends a trail a little behind what operators are actually reporting and thus the official figures are usually a bit higher than those above, although this gives us a good indication of how much progress has been made. Similarly Ofcom recently reported that Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) style lines now cover 6% of UK premises, which is up from 3% a year ago (here) and roughly agrees with TBBs more cautious data.

NOTE: TBBs data puts UK FTTP coverage at 6.83%, which is several months more recent that Ofcom’s last update.

By comparison the FTTH Council Europe recently claimed that the UK had delivered a total of 2,817,000 homes passed with FTTP/H/B (here), although this total seems to be an overly optimistic prediction and we suspect they may have included semi-complete builds that are not yet live with a service (some aspects of a build can finish c.12 months before the service itself goes live).

After Openreach the two biggest full fibre operators, using official figures rather than modelled data, tend to be Hyperoptic (well over 500,000 premises) and Virgin Media (no official totals for prior years but in the last year alone Virgin did around 290,000 via FTTP).

Major deployments by Cityfibre, Gigaclear, Community Fibre, B4RN and many other alternative network (AltNet) providers are also in progress (Summary of UK Full Fibre Plans) but a lot of those have not released any recent “premises passed” figures.

The Government has of course set an aspiration for “nationwide” availability of full fibre networks to be achieved by 2033 (here), although this would require the market to be adding around 2 million premises (not overbuild) to UK coverage every year for the next decade or more. Deployments are clearly ramping up but we’re currently nowhere near this.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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29 Responses
  1. Avatar AnotherTim

    Do you have any insight into how many of those with FTTP now available have no other superfast options (i.e. not overbuilds)? My feeling is that most will already have superfast options (FTTC/Virgin), apart from some Gigaclear rural customers, and some Hyperoptic buildings that were EO lines.

    • Avatar Joe

      The OR bduk fttp will fall into that both rural and EO but numbers are hard.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      thinkbroadband does have a figure for premises with Openreach FTTP available but no VDSL2 or cable or other FTTP and its 538,000

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      Thanks Andrew – so is it correct to read that as approx 50% overbuild of existing superfast availability by OR? That is lower than I expected, and good news for anyone still waiting for decent broadband.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      Remember there is infill fttp built in areas where vdsl2 is available but speeds are below superfast

  2. Avatar Granola

    If it “ramps up” at 3% a year and it is now at 6% coverage, in another 30 years………….. I’ll be dead or nearly a hundred years old with a decent connection, but by then I won’t know what to have for breakfast, let alone how to surf.

    • Avatar HarmzN

      Well, you’re interpretation is a bit weak. It didn’t say they added 3% coverage last year, 3% the year before, and before that there was 0 FTTP. It says in the whole of history, all the way up to last year, they achieved 3%, and within the last 12months they’ve doubled it.

      “Ramp up” defines the acceleration. I’m, not saying it’s going to double every year, but they’re are still ramping up, and the amount of coverage they can add in 12months is yet to hit it’s peak.

      Finally: Surely it will be Gronola for breakfast.

    • Avatar alan

      I’m, not saying it’s going to double every year, but they’re are still ramping up, and the amount of coverage they can add in 12months is yet to hit it’s peak.

      LOL Based on the story and ” Openreach (BT)’s infrastructure accounts for half of those (1,003,094 premises).”

      Then they need to get a shift on and start delivering 2 Million per years to reach the 3 Million by March 2020 “aim”.

      Figures thus far, even the latest quarter ones are not even close to them anywhere near or on track to do this.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      Alan the three million target is end of 2020 so they have until 31st March 2021, since firms talk in terms of financial years since the work to hit target is accounted based on the financial calendar.

      Seem to recall pointing this out to you before.

    • Avatar alan

      Forgive my ignorance.
      2021 March financial results and details within them will cover what quarter of what year?
      I thought it was up to the the end of 2020, is it not?
      Jan-march 2021 will not be in those March 2021 results will they?

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      It is like this – firms run on the financial calendar which starts in april, so when they say by end of 2020 then mean 31st March 2021 so would be part of the 20/21 Q4 figures.

      Your own posts have you contradicting yourself too…

      In one you say end of 2020 and another March 2020 which are two very different dates

    • Avatar alan

      Whether or not BT reach the goal of 3 Million by the end of 2020 should be known well before any financial figures in 2021. Just as you reported in January on what the figures were up till end December 2018.
      https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8303-latest-bt-group-results-show-increasing-pace-of-fttp-roll-out

      Likewise BT should also release figures before then just as they did previously…
      https://www.btplc.com/News/#/pressreleases/trading-update-for-the-nine-months-to-31-december-2018-2830581

      My post mentioning 1 year and March 2020 and the opening paragraph of that post you are referring to is quoting another user who believed it would be 12 months before they meet full pace.

      If all along the goal was to do 3 Million by End of March 2021 then they should had just said March 2021 in the first place.

      I fail to see why they would state end of 2020 then end of 2020/Q4/Q1 financial 2021, as that just confuses matters. If it was always End of March 2021 then i dunno why you initially reported end of 2020.

      Or rather actually i do because like any date and BT aim it constantly changes. First it was going to be 3 Million BY 2020 not END of 2020 and now its March 2021 eh.

      https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/7937-3-million-openreach-full-fibre-premises-planned-by-2020

      Has the 10 Million goal shifted? Or are they going to reach the 3 Million goal now by “March 2021” now and then go from 3 Million to 10 Million premises in another 4 months or as Mr Selley puts it “10 million FTTP footprint by the mid-2020’s “.

      I await eagerly the next shifted goal post and maps of more premises not even built yet to puff up their goals.

    • Avatar alan

      Edit that “4 months” should obviously be “48 Months before im picked up on another typo. Rather than addressing the matter of Openreach shifting goals constantly.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      Nothing has changed deadline wise, and fully expect Openreach to keep announcing its progress, which strangely they did today i.e. 1.2 million

      Also if current pace continues they may even manage to reach three million in the calendar year 2020

    • Avatar alan

      Nothing has changed, really? did you miss the bit in your very own news item and website like that says “3-million-openreach-full-fibre-premises-planned-by-2020”
      Then it was end of 2020, then it became end of “financial” 2020.

      I always though if you said you were going to do something BY a certain date that means you would do it before that date. Or if we go by Mr Selleys ORIGINAL claim that means they have a little over 8 months left to get to the 3 million. (after that it will be 2020 and reaching it after that would not be BY it).

      Regardless if its now 3 Million passed and that is announced come March 2021 then that gives them 48 months to reach 10 Million (or as Mr Selley says “10 million FTTP footprint by the mid-2020’s”)….

      Or by my maths from March 2021 to March 2025 (IE the mid 2020s) that means they will then need to be reaching 1.75 Million Per year.

      Or to break it down 1.75 Million x 4 years {period of March 2021 to March 2025) = 7 Million + 3 Million (which should be done and reached by March 2021) = the 10 Million figure for the mid 2020s)

      Good luck to them on that one…. Wheel him out AGAIn to change the goal posts AGAIN around 2022/23 NO DOUBT AT ALL. Or maybe they can find enough new NON BUILT housing developments to claim to have reached their FTTP claims by then.

      Speaking of which Abbey homes still say summer this year before that development i told you about is complete.

      PS…
      There is another on your map this time further in to the west of the country by the same company abbey homes which is not yet complete where Openreach are claiming FTTP is available. Id email you again but as you are happy to leave postcodes for areas that are not even fully built on your mapping it seems pointless and that you are happy to inflate their figures.

  3. Avatar Granola

    Oh I do like that. Hats off to you.

    (I’ll just be glad to be eating something so solid by then).

    So if it was 0% a few years back and flatlined at 0% and has now increased at 3% a year is that not ramping up ?

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      I think the rate of increase is increasing, so I expect there will be a good bit more than 3% added this year, and I expect the rate will increase for the next yer or two.
      However, once we get to the situation where all the most profitable cities have been FTTP’d, I expect the rate of increase to drop again – probably to the level we have from the BDUK schemes if not lower.
      The unprofitable areas that weren’t FTTC’d won’t be profitable for FTTP either, so will be missed out by commercial development.

    • Avatar Joe

      Hard to be sure on that one. I can see the rate dropping back after 50%+ or so that looks economic atm. However by the time we get to that point the pool of trained manpower for deployments, the equipment prices and methodology will keep reducing the bar for where economic is – even before we consider the likelihood of more gov intervention.

      Add that switching off copper has bigger savings and the incentive to do the last x% on an exchange almost regardless of cost is quite strong.

  4. Avatar Brian

    HYPEROPTIC will never include social housing here in Liverpool, unlike other cities in the UK ?

  5. Avatar Tony

    What about the Exchange Only connected properties.
    Many of these properties nationwide and no plans to upgrade lines or even connect to fibre enabled cabinet.

    • Avatar Joe

      Most of the original EO lines have already been delt with. Those that remain will get scooped up by USO where they fall below.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      As I said over on thinkbroadband in the FibreFirst areas some of the exchange only is getting access to FTTP too

      So the many is diminishing especially when you add the VDSL2 cabinets appearing in other areas

    • Avatar Joe

      Hard to believe that urban fttp etc won’t scoop all EO lines up eventually given the vast array of suppliers now deploying in all segments of the market from the top to council flats.

    • Avatar alan

      How anyone would even know what is happening to exchange only lines, let alone which have now got FTTP unless their is some database of those exchange only lines and a further database of which exchange only lines have been converted to FTTP i would like to know. Some exchange only lines even BT threself seem unaware of.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      Alan\

      Because people like me are tracking what is changing compared to the existing infrastructure across the UK.

    • Avatar alan

      Unless you have a list of every exchange line in the UK then i do not see how you would know that “the many is diminishing” when it comes to them. Even if you could demonstrate that, you would not know if the “many” are being replaced with FTTP or if the “many” have been connected up to a cabinet and then FTTC enabled.

      BT even freely admit they do not know the exact number of exchange only lines. Getting peoples hopes up that their exchange only line may get FTTP when there is no evidence (the person did not even say where they lived) is more than optimistic.

      Its impossible to say if the person concerned and their line will get upgraded at all or if it will get FTTC or FTTP. Im all for being positive but spreading potential false hope with no evidence is a bit sloppy especially from someone who should know better.

  6. Avatar Simon Hayter

    What they fail to mention is most of these installs are a new house builds often done in the hundreds at one time, which they include as their 6% target but its actually much lower because they are using housing records of a previous year, so therefore that 6% soon becomes much lower.

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      The figure for new builds using FTTP via Openreach since Jan 2016 is around 160,000 premises . So don’t believe that fits into the definition of most.

      As for the housing records, no idea what you are talking about.

    • Avatar alan

      ^^^ Does that include the premises listed for estates that are not even fully built yet LOL

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