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Point Topic Predict 98% UK Gigabit Broadband Coverage by 2030

Friday, December 4th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 1,752
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The latest Point Topic forecast of fixed gigabit broadband ISP network coverage for the United Kingdom, which considers both the future impact of “full fibre” (FTTP/B) and Cable (DOCSIS) networks, has predicted that they will reach 87.60% of premises by the end of 2025 and then 98.36% by 2030.

Last week saw the Government move to water-down their £5bn Gigabit Broadband (F20) programme, which previously aimed to ensure that “every home” could access a 1Gbps capable connection by the end of 2025. But it now expects a “minimum” of 85% coverage by that date (i.e. adjusting the original unrealistic time-scale back toward reality) and to then “get as close to 100% as possible” thereafter.

NOTE: Today c.34% of the UK (up from 10% last year) can already access a 1000Mbps+ broadband service via FTTP and Cable networks (here).

As such the new forecast, which is on aggregate once all the footprints have been overlaid, helps to put the Government’s recent change of target into some useful context. Admittedly, there are still a lot of unknowns, such as precisely how much overbuild will occur between rival networks and whether or not various network operators will even be able to achieve some of their most optimistic targets, which may impact the eventual coverage.

The table below provides a useful summary for the 2025 and 2030 forecasts, which for context also shows what kind of remaining coverage will still exist via slower broadband technologies (e.g. FTTC, DSL [ADSL] and G.fast) – reflecting the areas not covered by gigabit networks. We also get to see how many areas may only be served by just cable or just FTTP (i.e. excluding the areas where cable and FTTP are mutually present – overbuilt).

gigabit coverage uk 2030 point topic forecast

Point Topic notes that 100% coverage by the end of 2025 was “never a realistic goal” and we’ve long agreed with that. But there’s also a word of caution for those who still aren’t covered by 2030: “We do not expect a fixed gigabit supply available to 100% of homes and businesses until 2030 at the earliest. In our opinion it is very unlikely to happen at all given the costs of deployment in certain situations and the evolution of alternatives.”

On that point the Government has already warned (here) that it considers the “final 1%” of premises “could be prohibitively expensive to reach” via even their gigabit programme, but hopefully by then the new generation of LEO satellite broadband networks will have arrived to help fix the gap (assuming they have enough capacity to do it properly).

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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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9 Responses
  1. Avatar André says:

    I suspect the likes of Starlink will make the “last 1%” problem fairly easy to solve. Sounds like the first trials on a limited constellation are pretty impressive.

    1. Avatar Optimist says:

      The deployment of broadband vis LEO satellites will result in those ISPs not providing a decent user experience losing their customers in droves.

    2. Avatar A_Builder says:

      If their service is rubbish they deserve to.

      All that said, a stable FTTP connection is going to be better than LEO both interns of throughout, stability and deorndability.

      All that said if it was a choice between LEO and wet string (AKA ADSL) then I know what I would do.

    3. Avatar Marek says:

      Maybe wait for Starlink to be at least operational in USA? On other hand I very doubt there will be 98 percent coverage in UK even after 2030. Each later percentage will be harder to attain due to working in more rural, sparserly populated areas, each address being more expensive, taking more time.

    4. Avatar James Band says:

      @Marek

      If those rural properties have a phone line and electricity already, surely those properties can have Full Fibre delivered to them also?

      The number of extremely middle of nowhere, off the grid, properties in the UK would not be in the thousands and could surely be covered with some type of subsidy for satellite or mobile broadband if necessary.

      Make it mandatory that the CEO of Openreach and all MPs get a public caning if 99.9% of the UK doesn’t have FTTP by 2025, and it will be done in less than 2 weeks.

    5. Avatar Marek says:

      Not every rural property have phone line and running electricity is different then running fiber. Maybe try convincing people to treat broadband like utility but that would also jack up prices, to cover for on other hand water and eletricity companies don’t really competitors do they? Unlike cellphones, tv or broadband, you may have local monopolies or lack of service but there isn’t one company that is providing service by default which you must use.
      Look outside UK, is that really different? Many countries have higher penetrations but overall siutation is familiar, lower penetration for rural areas and overall they don’t even get close to those 98 percent number.

  2. Avatar Gary says:

    98% of the UK, much less for Scotland same old story. That only 2% left is likely to be the same 2% that sit at the bottom of the connectivity ladder right now too.

    Another 10 years on 4g for me, just glad there is that option in my area.

    1. Avatar Ropeman16 says:

      4G is constrained by capacity. If all that final 2% are sent down that route, then capacity will suffer massively. Surely a full Fibre network is the best solution required now. Not only in this time of pandemic, when ‘stay at home’ is the various government’s message, but with the added gains from new startups from Brexit.

  3. Avatar chris conder says:

    Bring on the Altnets. They go where telcos fear to tread.

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