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2022 H2 – UK Full Fibre Broadband Cover Rockets to 45 Percent

Wednesday, Jan 4th, 2023 (8:56 am) - Score 5,712
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland map outline.

The latest independent biannual summary of UK broadband coverage for H2 2022 has estimated that “full fibre” (FTTP) ISP network rollouts have surged to reach 45.13% of premises (up from 37.61% in H1 2022) and 72.66% are within reach of “gigabit” speeds (up from 69.24%). Read on for details of England, Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland.

The national focus right now is still on enhancing “gigabit” (1000Mbps+ or 1Gbps+) class networks. At present virtually all of this new gigabit connectivity is coming from Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based networks via Openreach (BT), Virgin Media, KCOM, Hyperoptic, CityFibre, CommunityFibre, G.Network, Netomnia, Gigaclear and many others (Summary of Full Fibre Builds).

NOTE: Excluding coverage by Openreach, KCOM and Virgin Media, rival alternative networks (AltNets) alone were found to have covered 18.20% of the UK with FTTP by H2 2022 (19.29% in England, 3.79% in Wales, 16.74% in Scotland and 15.74% in N.I)

At this point, some people may wonder why gigabit coverage is so much higher than full fibre. The reason for that is because the 14.3 million premises covered by Virgin Media’s older Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) network were upgraded to DOCSIS 3.1 technology between 2019 and the end of 2021. But overall gigabit coverage is now growing at a slower pace because a lot of urban focused FTTP builds are simply overbuilding HFC.

Most of the progress on gigabit-capable network coverage is currently due to commercial investment in FTTP, often with only a little support from the Government’s various voucher schemes. But we expect the new £5bn Project Gigabit (F20) programme to start having a small impact on this from later in 2023, before rising faster through 2024 and onwards.

Meanwhile, those still stuck in sub-10Mbps areas will, for the time being, be left with little option but to either try harnessing the flawed 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO), opt for a satellite solution (Starlink is good, if you can afford it) or wait for a fixed line upgrade. People taking the USO are being promised speeds of over 10Mbps (often via 4G rather than fibre), but some of those are already finding that they live in areas where not even the USO can cover the colossal upgrade costs (here and here). The government are still examining support options for such remote premises.

Listed below is the latest independent modelling from Thinkbroadband to January 2023 (H2 – 2022). We should point out that the figure for ‘Under 10Mbps‘ doesn’t reflect 4G mobile coverage, which plays a part in the official USO but isn’t included in TBB’s mapping work. Sadly, it’s incredibly difficult to do an accurate model for mobile coverage.

NOTE: The figures in brackets (%) represent the previous H1 – 2022 result to Jul 2022.

Fixed Broadband Network Availability H2 – 2022

Area 30Mbps+ Full Fibre Gigabit % Under 10Mbps
England 97.78% (97.6%) 44.21% (36.50%) 73.63% (70.28%) 0.71% (0.7%)
UK 97.40% (97.2%) 45.13% (37.61%) 72.66% (69.24%)
1.02% (1.1%)
Wales 96.61% (96.3%) 41.54% (35.16%) 57.07% (52.4%) 1.75% (1.9%)
Scotland 95.28% (95%) 41.75% (34.42%) 66.80% (63.42%) 2.66% (2.8%)
N.Ireland 94.37% (92.6%) 88.31% (84.88%) 89.19% (85.98%) 3.65% (4.9%)

NOTE 1: Nearly all of the gigabit coverage is coming from Virgin Media’s existing HFC cable network, although Openreach, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, Cityfibre and others all have big “full fibre” (FTTP) expansion plans. But there’s a lot of overbuild between HFC and FTTP, so future progress post-2021 will be slower now that VM has completed their upgrade.

NOTE 2: It’s very important to remember that Government / political coverage targets, like 85% for gigabit by 2025, reflect a national average, which can of course be better or worse for some areas (e.g. a few may achieve higher coverage, while others could be well below that).

Take note that each devolved region (Scotland, Wales etc.) has its own policy and targets, which all feed into the central UK figure. For example, while Northern Ireland may be behind on superfast speeds and good coverage for the USO, their full fibre coverage is MILES ahead of other regions and closing on 90%, and we suspect they’ll also be one of the first to achieve near universal coverage of gigabit-capable broadband.

As stated earlier, this data is an estimate and should be taken with a pinch of salt, not least because it won’t always reflect the very latest real-world position. But it’s still one of the best and most up-to-date gauges that we have for checking against official claims (official figures tend to be a tiny bit higher than TBB’s due to differences in data modelling etc.).

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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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19 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    10Mb/s Universal Service Obligation, as if that is any good to most people in this day and age, with more people wanting to stream, 10Mb/s is not going to cut it. I chat to someone on discord who is on ADSL at around 8Mb/s, and it causes problems with just discord sometimes. So where is the Universal Service Obligation to them? They are virtually next to the exchange, so for some reason no FTTC, but there is a bit of hope they heard that fibre will be available this year.

    While I like competition, the over building in some places is over the top, where some places have to struggle on really slow connections, others have a choice of 3 or more fibre connections. I would blame Openreach as they seem to come in as soon as they see other providers make a move, like here as soon as Zzoomm got going, openreach was here, but I expect other companies are the same.

    1. Avatar photo Sam P says:

      Overbuilding lol

    2. Avatar photo Mark says:

      We literally only had Virgin for fast broadband here 18 months ago. Cityfibre started building early last year and Openreach were here within a few weeks. Openreach went live last January and Cityfibre in February so our estate in Plymouth went from just Virgin to choice of 3 almost overnight.

    3. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      A lot of this “overbuilding” is just a case of a provider using PIA to deliver FTTP, the costs to do this are very low. If Openreach didn’t overbuild FTTP in an area where they already had a proven duct network in place then it’s not like they’d be rolling out to some rural hamlet instead.

  2. Avatar photo GNewton says:

    This truly shows how backwards this country still is, with over half of premises still without full fibre broadband. And the lack of proper rollout plans from Openreach and many of the altnets doesn’t make it any easier for end users to plan for for future upgrade needs.

    1. Avatar photo Aled says:

      I don’t know, it kinda makes sense that when faced with a) spend lots of money chasing a mildly profitable captive market, or b) spend less money upgrading everyone in a competitive market

      I can see why Openreach have an eye on both categories.

      I assume they have two or more teams, one set upgrading the duct/pylon infrastructure, the other hoovering up the easy FTTP installs. Am looking forward to the day I get 300+ FTTP from anyone

    2. Avatar photo Sonic says:

      Exactly that. Also, rolling out full fibre to the remaining 55% will take us well into the next decade. “Project Gigabit” utterly useless as expected from this government of soundbytes.

      Also, I don’t understand why VM keeps getting included in these “gigabit” figures when their product is a) not delivered using full fibre technology b) significantly inferior when it comes to upload speeds and c) you cannot switch to another ISP using their network.

    3. Avatar photo turribeach says:

      I got no problem in VM getting included in these “gigabit” figures. They certainly can provide the speeds and gigabit download is what most people want. If it wasn’t by VM I wouldn’t have anything else. I would ditch them as soon as I get Community Fibre installed but still they are very good as a bridge to allow people to have decent speeds while fibre is being installed.

    4. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      @Sonic: “I don’t understand why VM keeps getting included in these “gigabit” figures when their product is a) not delivered using full fibre technology b) significantly inferior when it comes to upload speeds and c) you cannot switch to another ISP using their network.”
      Who says that gigabit speeds have to be delivered over fibre? Virgin Media’s customers on Gig1 can expect 1.13Gbps coming into their hub and almost as much coming out of the hub 5’s 2.5Gbps port to a device which can support this speed. Furthermore if VM had stuck to their original plan to keep upgrading their network and move to DOCSIS 4.0, then download speeds of up to 10Gbps would have been possible.

  3. Avatar photo Anthony says:

    On the linked to story in this article. I seen something that annoyed me immensely

    “Meanwhile another Openreach build to connect just 5 remote rural homes around Morton Farm (here), just south of Tayport in Fife (Scotland), was quoted around £23,000”

    I was quoted that exact amount from Openreach for FTTP-On Demand. I live 100m from my Openreach FTTP point. Two straight lines 50m down one road, 50m down the other. All inside an estate, so no major roads. And they wanted £23,000 to install it. I think its clear Openreach are ripping FTTPod people off.

    1. Avatar photo Bob says:

      VM is capable of delivering speeds almost as fast as full Fibre. Many Altnets restrict you to their service so it is reasonable to include VM

  4. Avatar photo Moss says:

    “45 percent” is no near enough, they should be pushing for at least 70-80 percent coverage across UK & Northern Ireland.

    1. Avatar photo Moss says:

      where*

    2. Avatar photo K says:

      Moss

      Just to pull you up – Northern Ireland is part of the UK lol! (you said UK & N.Ireland)

  5. Avatar photo Jerry says:

    The reason for the developing of the deploying of fiber in U.K from 2021? the competition from China!

  6. Avatar photo Dale says:

    They are too slow with this stuff, the rollouts are failures and leave millions on hols for years. By the time it’s done a new roll out will be needed to catch up to whatever the newer tech is. The state of UK broadband infrastructure is just stupid, all sides are dragging their feet and take a decade to get half a job done.

    1. Avatar photo Dylan says:

      100% agree, the UK is painfully slow on the transformation to better infrastructure.

  7. Avatar photo Kit says:

    I have little hope that I will be in any of the builds to reach 85% coverage by 2025 when I’m seemingly in the 2.4% that don’t even get 30mbps yet.
    Openreach quoted a community fibre build cost of nearly £40,000. And even after all the vouchers it was unattainable.
    Could be worse. Could be on sub 10mbps and quoted £100k+.

  8. Avatar photo Dylan says:

    It sure would be nice to have some of that gigabit where I am. Leicestershire doesn’t seem to be getting much, if anything.

Comments are closed

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