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Full Fibre Broadband Coverage of UK New Build Homes Hits 77.8%

Monday, July 22nd, 2019 (12:48 pm) - Score 952
house building uk broadband

A new analysis of broadband coverage in the UK has indicated that 77.8% of new build homes constructed across the whole of 2019 so far were connected to a “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband ISP network (up from 70.5% in 2018), which rises to 94% for “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage (up from 93% last year).

The situation, as highlighted by the latest independent data from Thinkbroadband (examination of new build postcodes), is clearly improving but there remains a natural time lag between recent policy / legislative changes and their implementation, which is one of several reasons why we’re not yet at 100% coverage of new builds with full fibre.

So far most of the major home builders (e.g. Home Builders Federation) have already entered into partnerships with operators (BT and Virgin Media etc.) to better facilitate the roll-out of full fibre and slower hybrid fibre (FTTC / HFC DOCSIS) based broadband technologies. At the same time Openreach recently made it cheaper to deploy their FTTP network into some of the smallest developments (here).

Meanwhile the UK government have long been advising councils to ensure that they factor at least superfast broadband into local planning approvals for new build developments. However such things often take years to have an impact, which is because planning permission tends to be granted a long time before the work itself actually begins and then the build phase can take years.

On top of that some property developers still say that deploying fibre broadband services can in some areas be prohibitively expensive (e.g. rural locations). Not that this has prevented many of those same companies from raking in big annual profits. Nevertheless more and more new homes are arriving with superfast and / or full fibre availability as standard.

New Build Broadband Cover by Speed and Technology (H1 2019 Data)

 

New Premises % Superfast 30Mbps+ % Ultrafast 100Mbps+ % Full Fibre (FTTP) % Under 10Mbps USO
UK 2019 (43,889) 94% 79.1% 77.8% 4.9%
UK 2018 (181,118) 93% 72.8% 70.5% 6.2%
UK 2017 (157,343) 91% 50.1% 43.7% 8.1%
UK 2016 (178,754) 90% 42.4% 33.3% 9%

NOTE 1: The ultrafast figure above predominantly reflects coverage by FTTP/H, HFC DOCSIS (Cable) and possibly some G.fast based networks; mostly delivered via Openreach (BT) and Virgin Media. Meanwhile Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, GTC / OFNL and a few other altnets will also have an impact.

NOTE 2: Some small / individual developments (e.g. personal single house projects) or property conversions may be missed by this data.

NOTE 3: The figures may change by the next update as related data is frequently being revised / updated.

We should point out that last year’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) proposed a couple of big changes in this area, not least of which was a plan to mandate Gigabit capable broadband connections for new build homes and making it easier for network operators to access buildings where landlords fail to respond (details in our Budget 2018 news).

Sadly we’re still waiting for the related consultations on the aforementioned policy proposals to reach an outcome. The focus on Brexit (inc. all the related political upheaval) and the difficulty of introducing such measures into new builds and existing buildings via legislation seems likely to be impeding progress.

In time the problems highlighted in this article should resolve themselves but for now a gap will continue to exist and that may be more noticeable in remote rural areas. In the meantime if you’re buying a new build home then make sure to get what you expect to receive for broadband confirmed in writing BEFORE parting with your savings (sales people have often mislead purchasers).

NOTE: A 2016 directive from the EU (details), which has also been adopted into UK law, means that all newly constructed buildings (i.e. those that gained permission after the 31st December 2016) should be “equipped with a high-speed-ready in-building physical infrastructure, up to the network termination points.” But this still leaves it up to the developers and ISPs to decide whether or not to deploy an actual working service.

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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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8 Responses
  1. Avatar AnotherTim

    Is the increase in fibre in new builds down to fewer houses being built in areas without superfast options? i.e. are such areas increasingly going to suffer from fewer new homes as well as bad broadband?

    • Avatar Andrew Ferguson

      No.

      If your idea was the case then the full fibre which dominates would only be happening in locations where existing full fibre was widely available… this is not the case. In fact it is often the opposite i.e. the new build FTTP can be the first bit of FTTP in an area.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      That’s good to hear. Actually checking my area (on your map), I see that the nearest FTTP to me is indeed a new estate in Lydney (and that is OR FTTP, but we are in a Gigaclear area with no Gigaclear FTTP within 20 miles…).
      Does FTTP ever spread out from new builds?

    • Avatar Gary

      I posed the same question recently and the answer was as expected, probably not, unless the new build estate actually requires a new AG point, Otherwise it’ll just be a fibre bundle for that estate running back to the closest point.

      The Idea that connecting properties further out brings fibre closer to the out of reach, while true in a physical sense, it doesn’t necessarily improve the chances/ cost of fttp for outlying properties.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      A few years ago I tried to get a better broadband connection, and a BT Business salesman spent quite a bit of effort looking into all options, inlcuding FFTPoD, leased lines, etc. At that time I was told that the nearest agg node was 11 miles away (despite the plans showing one yards from my house – which apparently was planned but never built). I have a suspicion that the new build 5 miles away from me probably hasn’t added a new agg node, and even if it has it will still be at least 5 miles away.

  2. Avatar Roger_Gooner

    “Meanwhile the UK government have long been advising councils to ensure that they factor at least superfast broadband into local planning approvals for new build developments. However such things often take years to have an impact, which is because planning permission tends to be granted a long time before the work itself actually begins and then the build phase can take years.”

    This is land banking by developers, has been going on for years. North-west England and London have been the worst with only 50% of new homes being built where planning permission had been obtained between 2012 and 2017.

  3. Avatar Bob

    I would wager that the alt nets – especially ONFL and Hyperoptic would actually boost the FTTP figure quite a bit.

    I don’t know about the rest of the country but in the East of England Bellway and Countryside employ Hyperoptic in basically all of their developments and other developers such as Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon have had heavy OFNL presence.

    It is actually rare to find a OR FTTP deployment around here for new build.

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