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Ofcom Spring 2022 Study – Gigabit Broadband Covers 66 Percent of UK

Friday, May 20th, 2022 (9:54 am) - Score 1,632
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Ofcom’s latest Spring 2022 report into fixed broadband and mobile coverage has revealed that “full fibre” (FTTP) now reaches 33% of the UK (up from 28% in Sept 2021), while 19.3 million homes (66%) are within reach of a gigabit-capable network (up from 47%). Geographic 5G coverage has also improved.

The regulator’s latest report is based on coverage and service availability information that has been received from both fixed line UK ISPs and mobile network operators as of January 2022, which is thus four months more recent than the September 2021 data in their last annual Connected Nations 2021 report.

NOTE: The Government’s original definition of “superfast broadband” is 24Mbps+, which is close to 97-98% coverage.

Since September last year, the UK coverage of fixed “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) networks has remained largely unchanged on 96%, while some 9.6 million (33%) homes can now order a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service via various networks (up from 8.2 million or 28% at the last update).

Ofcom also reports that gigabit-capable (1Gbps+) services are now available to 66% of UK premises (up from 47%), which is higher than the FTTP figure because most of the recent growth in gigabit connectivity has flowed from Virgin Media’s recently completed upgrade to their existing Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) lines with DOCSIS 3.1 technology. A lot of overbuild between HFC and FTTP is also taking place in dense urban areas.

All of this work should help to support the UK Government’s new £5bn Project Gigabit programme, which aims to further improve the picture for gigabit speed connectivity by using state aid to target connectivity improvements toward the final 20% of hardest to reach premises (i.e. helping to extend gigabit coverage to at least 85% of UK premises by the end of 2025 and then “nationwide” by 2030).

The improvements in fixed line coverage also mean that the number of premises which cannot get a “decent broadband” (10Mbps+) service is currently 506,000 (around 1% of the UK), which shrinks to just 99,500 premises if you include delivery via fixed wireless and 4G broadband services.

Just to remind readers, a download speed of at least 10Mbps and an upload of 1Mbps represents the core specification for the UK Government’s new broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO), which began in March 2020 and also allows for the use of both fixed line and wireless solutions.

Speaking of wireless services, 4G mobile networks have seen geographic coverage across all network operators (EE, Three UK, O2 and Vodafone) hold fairly steady on a range of 79-86%. The new £1bn Shared Rural Network (SRN) agreement will eventually start to change that, but it’s a very slow burn.

Finally, on 5G coverage, Ofcom states that some 4762% of UK premises can now get outdoor coverage by at least one operator, but this collapses to just 4-12% when looking at outdoor coverage by all operators combined. Suffice to say, there’s still a long way to go.

Spring 2022 Coverage Data by Region

The following table summarises the latest mobile and fixed broadband coverage figures for Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland individually, although you can get a bit more detail by downloading the full Spring 2022 Update (PDF).

ofcom_spring_2022_uk_broadband_and_mobile_coverage

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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.
Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. Mark says:

    Surely the mobile coverage figures are just computer predictions? Plenty of areas without 4G from any network, but then again they set the threshold so poorly that you can’t use or recieve with the reception dbm figures they use.

  2. Phil says:

    Ofcom are useless and unreliable data

  3. Barney says:

    Does “Access to Gigabit Capable Services” also refer to properties which can be supplied with FTTP on Demand? Wouldn’t surprise me if they put this in the mix as well.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Not unless it’s actually been built first.

  4. HR2Res says:

    With due deference to UB40:

    I am the 0.2%
    A number on no list
    I am the 0.2%
    Even though I don’t exist
    Nobody knows me
    Even though I’m always there
    A statistic, a reminder
    That BT/OR doesn’t care

    1. Nagaski says:

      BT/OR aren’t the only provider
      There are plebty of alt nets
      Who could become your supplier
      There are plenty of alt nets
      Getting government grants
      It’s not one company’s fault
      You chose to live
      Where broadband is pants.

    2. HR2Res says:

      @Nagasaki. The argument about moving is at best simplistic. It doesn’t take account of a myriad of other factors, not least amongst which is that I’ve lived in the same property now for close to 30 years, pre-dating much of the internet and mobile phone explosion in the UK. So, after that length of time I’m heavily invested in the property and in the local community. Also, among a property buyer’s first questions nowadays is about the existing broadband, and if they cannot get a decent speed then they lose much of their interest in a property. So a sale, and hence a move, in an area that can take a house a year or longer to complete in good times is not easy.

      The “you should move” argument is worse than simplistic, being more correctly trite and specious, as moving doesn’t solve the problem, it just moves the problem around to different people. The problem still exists.

      Anyway, I’m not asking for gigabit-capable broadband, nor even ultrafast, nor even top end superfast. The USO would be fine for me. And if you’d cared to look at what the 0.2% referred to you would have known that. And that is within the remit of BT (or KCOM in Hull), not any altnet. And as it happens, one altnet, with public subsidy, contracted to fttp my area and then found it couldn’t do it, pulling out with the contract incomplete after 3 or 4 years. So please, spare me your sophistry.

    3. HR2Res says:

      Sorry to labour the point (you are not the only visitor to this site that suggests the nonsensical idea to move to get better broadband), but another thing, or two.

      There is a substantial financial cost involved in moving home. Removal costs, solicitors fees, etc. comes to just under about £10k in the UK currently. Then adding in stamp duty on the purchase of an equivalent property to what I’m in currently would add maybe around another £25k to that. So, say around a £35k spend to get the USO (or better)! Then there’s likely redecorating costs in the new property to factor in. No thank-you. I’m not made of money.

      So, the whole suggestion to move home just to get improved broadband just to USO level is a complete nonsense. Of course, if one “had” to move home for some cogent, real reason, perhaps allied to a change of job/circumstances, then it would obviously be near the top of one’s wish list when assessing new properties, just as it would be to a would-be buyer of my property… Oops! Been there already in the previous comment.

    4. Nagaski says:

      Nice word salad. Where did I say you should move?

    5. HR2Res says:

      Your very own verse contains the heaviest of implications on that score.

  5. ELM says:

    Is an Openreach FTTP connection considered to be gigabit, considering the maximum speed one can receive is 900Mbps?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      The maximum is actually 1000Mbps, but the advertising rules require ISPs to only promote a download speed as a median that is measured at peak time. As a result, the 900Mbps+ figure is fairly common, but with the right setup at home you could in theory get 1000Mbps. But there are other things to consider too..

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2020/12/why-buying-gigabit-broadband-doesnt-always-deliver-1gbps.html

    2. Benny Hill says:

      The Openreach product ‘syncs’ at 1000 Mbps, so yes technically its a Gigabit connection. The reason why no-one ever gets Gigabit speeds on OR in real world is because of overheads. I bit like why no-one ever sees 80 Mbps throughput on a full sync 80/20 FTTC service.

    3. Andrew Ferguson says:

      The optical part syncs at 2.4 Gbps ie gpon standard

  6. Disgruntled from Dankshire says:

    Is there data down to the upper/lower administrative levels?

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