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Summary of UK FTTP Broadband Build Progress by ISPs UPDATE273

Thursday, Apr 30th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 123,017
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A couple of years ago we published a ‘Summary of FTTP Rollout Plans‘ and since then many more alternative network (altnet) ISPs have entered the UK market. As such we felt as it might be useful to produce a more comprehensive update on current progress and providers for 2020 and beyond (we’ll try to keep this up-to-date).

The reason for all this focus on optical fibre networks is because they can carry a ridiculous amount of data down even a single thread of fibre (multi-Gigabit and possibly even Terabits in the distant future), which should mean that there’s plenty of capacity available for when we need it. Suffice to say that fibre optic cables are about as close to future-proof as you can get today.

NOTE: This article was posted in 2020, but is being continuously updated and on into 2024.

Prior to 2019 the Government was busy incentivising providers to achieve 10 million premises passed with Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / FTTH) style “full fibre” networks by the end of 2022, then 15 million by 2025 (here) and they held an aspiration to “deliver a nationwide full-fibre to the premises network” by 2033.

But in late 2019 the UK had a change of Prime Minister and Boris Johnson, after moving the goal posts around a few times, has since committed £5bn to help those in the hardest to reach final 20% of UK premises (mostly rural) to gain access to 1Gbps speeds (Project Gigabit) via a technologically neutral approach (FTTP, HFC and Fixed Wireless / 5G etc.). But the first contracts for this won’t be signed until mid-2022 or later.

The Government now aims to hit a minimum of 85% gigabit capable coverage by 2025 and then “nationwide” coverage by 2030 (here). On top of that they’re supporting a £1bn industry-led plan to grow geographic 4G mobile coverage to 95% by the end of 2025 (here), which may also boost rural 5G.

However, due to all of the above, nobody is quite sure how long it will take to achieve universal coverage of “full fibre” or even if that will ever be delivered, although internally the Government still seem to be very much focusing upon FTTP as the preferred solution. Meanwhile, the feverish pace of “full fibre” build is continuing to ramp-up.

A Quick Full Fibre Market Overview

According to Ofcom, some 53% of UK homes and businesses had access to a “full fibre” network in July 2023 (here), which is up from 45% in Jan 2023. The majority of that has been delivered by Openreach (BT) as part of their £15bn aim to cover 25 million by the end of 2026 (here), which is set to reach up to 30 million by 2030.

On top of that, Virgin Media (VMO2) are now extending their network with FTTP rather than Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) and they hold an ambition, via the nexfibre Joint Venture, to build FTTP to another c.5-7 million UK premises by 2027 (here and here), while at the same time also upgrading VMO2’s 14.3m HFC lines to FTTP by 2028 (here).

After Virgin, we have CityFibre, which already covers 3.6 million UK homes and aims to reach up to 8 million by 2025 or later (here and here). Then there’s Hyperoptic, which has around 1.4 million urban premises covered (FTTB / FTTP) and they aim to reach 2 million homes by sometime in 2024 – across parts of 57 towns and cities.

Finally, the mostly London focused CommunityFibre has covered 1.3 million premises and targets 2.2m. Local rival G.Network are following on c.400,000 premises and there’s also a mass of smaller full fibre altnet builders, with some of those expecting to achieve similar levels of coverage to the ones listed above. We’ve summarised each, including as much as we could find about their plans and progress, below (starting on page 2).

NOTE: Some ISPs have a flaky definition of “premises passed“. Ideally providers should only be including premises that are actually Ready for Service (able to take orders), but some ISPs include properties where the physical build is complete, but you can’t yet order it (this is important because non-live premises may take weeks or even months to become active).

Summary of Full Fibre Network Builders (Updated: May 2024)

The following list is in a simplified alphabetical order by operator name, rather than an order by scale. Remember that it’s not uncommon for newer entrants, especially smaller players, to produce over-optimistic build forecasts and thus some forward plans below may not come to pass.

Flick over to page 2 to see the full list..

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
16 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Philip Cheeseman says:

    Thank you for generating the stats. I wish there was someway of encouraging an altnet into your area. I’ve tried to sign up as interested to all the local ones but we are either too urban, too far away or not Southampton… We’re ripe for expansion into with over 15000 people in the small collection of towns I live in and zero fibre (some gfast). Keep feeling I will just need to wait for openreach or virginmedia…

    1. Avatar photo Ben says:

      We are in a similar position. I live in Haywards Heath, a relatively wealthy commuter town. No g.fast or FTTP, not even Virgin Media. Interestingly a neighbouring village (Lindfield) has Openreach FTTP, so perhaps we’re on their radar? Hmm…

    2. Avatar photo Ryan says:

      I am the same town of 35,000 people – no virgin, no altnet no G.fast so max of 76.

      I live 3000m from the box so max of 25-30.

      If an altnet came in with FTTP or even Virgin they would totally clear up, from a business sense I think the smaller towns with no alternative would be the best places to get customers rather than go into a big city which already has Virgin/FTTP/G fast but what do I know.

      Bring on 5G and that is the only chance we have of faster internet.

  2. Avatar photo joe says:

    Some effort Mark 🙂

  3. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

    @MJ

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

    Some of the lack of emitted information is surprising.

    Posting “we don’t know what you are doing” is also very important for investors and potential investors to understand that Comms are important in a Comms business!!

    Great work

  4. Avatar photo N says:

    I’m somewhat torn on all this news about full fibre, on the one hand I’m happy that we’re advancing, however I’m annoyed at the focus on prioritizing urban areas bringing gigabit connections and boosting their already quick speeds when there are still many homes that don’t even have access to FTTC, at my old house which I moved from not to long ago still uses old copper cables, the absolute fastest speed available there is 3mbps, in 2020 that isn’t acceptable, people who live rural are being left behind, and I fear that they will always be left behind as it’s not seen as profitable to extend reach to those places, this pandemic has proven that internet is a utility not a luxury, yet rural residents pay through the nose for a lackluster service.

    1. Avatar photo Dave says:

      I feel your pain, for years we were at the bottom of the pile, we originally had TPON which took at least 2 or more years before we could even get ADSL (copper overlay), then the next almost decade we spent stuck on ADSL surrounded by Virgin, FTTP, FTTC (even half the estate was FTTC, but nothing for us), then summer last year Cityfibre announced their plans for our town and they were starting in our area, then in late Feb this year I spotted Openreach doing things at the entrance to our estate, 3rd April and I have FTTP live and im just waiting for cityfibre to make available to order (all streetworks have been done). So there is hope we have gone from bottom 2% in country straight to the top.

  5. Avatar photo chris conder says:

    Nice one Mark, good to see so many altnets going where the big boys fear to tread. It is much needed competition which will deliver a digital britain.

  6. Avatar photo Mungo says:

    I live in Dewsbury and apparently West Yorkshire is meant to be rolling out full fibre. My estate was built in 2018 but still has ADSL line only. I’ve been enquiring and trying to chase up and sign up for full fibre since moving here but still nothing. More annoyingly there’s a Virgin Media open stall in the middle of the town centre always trying to peddle their services to you, but only the east side of Dewsbury has cable / fibre already, and the west side is still stuck with copper wired ADSL! I gave them my postcode 2 years ago and still nothing. Clowns.

  7. Avatar photo Enric P says:

    Many thanks Mark,

    A very interesting and concise article with key figures.

  8. Avatar photo t0m5k1 says:

    I just pissed at the whole shambles.
    4 Cabinets in Basingstoke ready for FTTP yet I get a constant stream of spam through my email box and front door.

    All they ever do is make sure the shitty centers are connected and move on then leave the surrounding areas for commercial funding or they schedule a small expansion 10 on.

    Pathetic Tory money backed infrastructure upgrades.
    Get them out of office ASAP

  9. Avatar photo Roger Zinar says:

    I wish there was a website where I can be told, based on my postcode, when my street/building is scheduled to be upgraded with fibre optic cables.
    Currently only virgin provides fast internet in my neighbourhood of London, and they’ve been behaving like a greedy monopoly.
    Am dying to get my building upgraded so that I can ditch virgin and enjoy better, healthier competition between suppliers.

  10. Avatar photo Mirko says:

    Requesting information since 2017 when will be fibre available in SW8, but no response. Very annoying that in a supposedly developed country is such behind. Seriously in the last little village in Hungary fibre is available.

    1. Avatar photo Meadmodj says:

      Yes some European countries are ahead of us and have more impressive targets but they are not there just yet and all countries are at different stages of the same journey. Hungary urban and rural VHCN coverage corresponds to the FTTP footprint of 43% and 29% respectively. However HU has a high 100Mbps+ coverage of 82% due mainly to cable.

      Hopefully the UK providers will be given the confidence to proceed at an increased pace.

  11. Avatar photo JAMES BODY says:

    Good work Mark

    Any chance of getting this data in tabular/spreadsheet format (Google Sheets?)

    Is Wessex Internet absent from your listings?

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      No Wessex isn’t absent, it looks like a beta software test I tried yesterday just wrecked our automated linking system for older articles. I’ve now re-introduced the old system and all is working again.

      I may do this as a spreadsheet but probably not for public consumption as it’s then easier for others to copy and take credit for my work in putting it together.

Comments are closed

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