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Ofcom Autumn 2022 Study – UK Gigabit Broadband Hits 68% Cover

Friday, Oct 7th, 2022 (10:30 am) - Score 2,376
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Ofcom’s autumn 2022 report into fixed broadband and mobile coverage has found that “full fibre” (FTTP) now reaches 37% of the UK, while 20.2 million homes (68%) are within reach of a gigabit-capable network and 48-64% of premises can now get outdoor 5G coverage by at least one operator.

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 May 2022, which is thus several months more recent than the January 2022 data in their last spring 2022 update (here).

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

Since January 2022, the UK coverage of fixed “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) networks has remained largely unchanged on 96%, while some 11 million homes (37%) can now order a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service via various networks (up from 9.6 million or 33% at the last update).

Ofcom also reports that gigabit-capable (1Gbps+) services are now available to 68% of UK premises (up from 66%), which is higher than the FTTP figure because most of the recent growth in gigabit connectivity has flowed from Virgin Media’s 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 513,000 (around 1% of the UK), which shrinks to just 83,000 premises if you include delivery via fixed wireless and 4G broadband services. The 513k figure is actually an increase from Ofcom’s last report, when it was 506k, which is more related to the regulator’s data modelling.

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) increase slightly to a range of 79-87% (up from 79-86%). The new £1bn Shared Rural Network (SRN) agreement will eventually start to change that, but it’s a slow burn.

Finally, on 5G coverage, Ofcom states that some 48-64% of UK premises can now get outdoor coverage by at least one operator (up from 4762%), but this collapses to just 5-12% when looking at outdoor coverage by all operators combined (up slightly from 4-12%). Suffice to say, there’s still a long way to go.

Autumn 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 Autumn 2022 Update (PDF).

ofcom_autumn_2022_uk_broadband_and_mobile_coverage

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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
14 Responses
  1. Avatar photo James says:

    How close to the fibre cable do you need to be “within reach” to count as the 68%?

    1. Avatar photo Andrew Ferguson says:

      68% is the Gigabit figure, so you have either Virgin Media DOCSIS 3.1 or FTTP as an option.

      To be classed as FTTP passed it means available to order today at standard pricing with install in 2-3 weeks. So excludes fibre on demand and other voucher schemes. Though if someone uses a voucher or pays for FoD once connected they will count.

      The Ofcom checker should let you see what they say for your address and if wrong then take it up with them, don’t just complain online.

    2. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      The figure will be the percentage of premises that are able to place an order for a gigabit-tier broadband service.

  2. Avatar photo LincolnshireLeftOut says:

    Good question as I too was wondering this.

    I do feel though it may be a fair distance to keep the percentage as high as possible.

    There are properties less than 1 mile from us that have FTTP via Openreach but they won’t entertain us. We can’t even apply to use the Gigabit voucher scheme as no ISPs are accepting them for our area.

    1. Avatar photo Andrew Ferguson says:

      Should not be counted at all. Generally it means the fibre manifold is on the pole where your drop wire comes from and that manifold is connected to the headend exchange and has light on it.

    2. Avatar photo GNewton says:

      I know of an altnet where fibre is all the way up to the fibre manifold on the pole, and connected to the to the exchange, yet potential customers still won’t be able to order a fibre service for another year or two.

      Hence the Ofcom study should be taken with a grain of salt.

    3. Avatar photo Andrew Ferguson says:

      If the thinkbroadband checker says yes and provider says no then I want to know.

      If a provider has given incorrect data to Ofcom they can be fined.

  3. Avatar photo Jimbo says:

    I think their consultants on the results of survey gigabit broadband are paid to achieve fictional results.

    Here in CV13 top speed is 30M down and 5M up

    They said gigabit broadband won’t be hear until 2026!!!

    1. Avatar photo Andrew Ferguson says:

      CV13 is a large area covering around 5,000 premises.

      So for example
      CV13 0DL thinkbroadband estimate 7 Mbps from VDSL2, BT suggest 12 to 19 Mbps Ofcom say 22 Mbps down/1 Mbps up. Ofcom figure is high as they publish using the VDSL2 top range figure.

      CV13 0QR was an old eo line, but now has Openreach FTTP so Gigabit capable.

      So what does https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/en-gb/broadband-coverage say for your actual address?

  4. Avatar photo Mark says:

    The “Not Spots” for mobile don’t seemed to have changed. A claim that England has 99%-100% Outdoor 4G coverage of Premises, that’s a joke!

  5. Avatar photo Fred says:

    Friendly reminder that Virgin Media is still insisting that gig1 is available across their entire network. It isn’t.

  6. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Well, I would like to know were they these figures from, I only just about get 4g still, my home broadband sucks im if I get up to 15mbs, yet virgin and other broadband company’s have gone completely around us and not even given a thought for my street or area, well done to the top toffees that don’t think things through

  7. Avatar photo Ben says:

    I have recently upgraded my virgin package to the 1GB fiber and to be honest I haven’t really noticed much difference, this is because most devices at the moment are not compatible with this kind of speed you need a device that supports WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E to take full advantage of the speed so it’s kind of pointless to have at the moment.

  8. Avatar photo Sam P says:

    I’m impressed

Comments are closed

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