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H1 2020 – Full Fibre Broadband Covers 87% of New Build Homes

Monday, August 24th, 2020 (1:37 pm) - Score 796
house building uk broadband

The latest independent H1 2020 study of broadband coverage among UK new build homes has indicated that 87.3% of houses constructed this year were connected to a “full fibre” (FTTP) broadband ISP network (up from 83% in H2 2019), which rises to 97.6% for 30Mbps+ “superfast broadband” services (up from 96%).

The situation, as highlighted by the latest independent model from Thinkbroadband (examination of new build postcodes), is clearly improving but we’d always recommend that those purchasing a new build home get the property developer to confirm, in writing, what kind of broadband connectivity you can expect to receive before handing over any money.

Most of the major home builders (e.g. Home Builders Federation) have already entered into partnerships with operators (Openreach, Virgin Media and various smaller alternative networks etc.) to better facilitate the roll-out of fibre based broadband technologies. Openreach has also made it even 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 superfast broadband into local planning approvals for new build developments, although such things often take years to have an impact (i.e. planning permission tends to be granted a long time before the work itself actually begins). However, COVID-19 may yet have an impact on 2020, once the full data is known.

On top of that some property developers still say that deploying fibre broadband services can, in some areas, be prohibitively expensive (e.g. remote rural locations), although this hasn’t stopped many of those same companies from raking in big annual profits. Nevertheless, more and more new homes are arriving with superfast and full fibre availability as standard. The progress below is pretty clear.

New Build Broadband Cover by Speed and Technology (H1 2020 Data)

New Premises % Superfast 30Mbps+ % Ultrafast 100Mbps+ % Full Fibre (FTTP) % Under 10Mbps USO
UK 2020 (36,576) 97.6 88.5 87.3 1.1
UK 2019 (191,436) 97.1 87.2 85.6 1.1
UK 2018 (216,395) 96.1 78.2 75.5 0.9
UK 2017 (167,492) 94.3 59 51.1 1

NOTE 1: The ultrafast figure above predominantly reflects coverage by FTTP, HFC DOCSIS (Cable) and some G.fast based networks; mostly delivered via Openreach (BT) and Virgin Media. Meanwhile Hyperoptic, CommunityFibre, 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 historic figures may change by the next update as related data is frequently being revised / updated.

NOTE 4: The availability of postcode data tends to lag deployments, which is why we currently only get a partial view of the current year. As such this is better for looking back at prior years, until the 2020 data is complete.

We should point out that the 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). Progress is slowly being made to introduce these changes (here).

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 rural areas.

NOTE: A 2016 directive from the EU (details), which has already 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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