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Gigabit Broadband Coverage Reaches 80 Percent of UK Homes

Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2023 (10:43 am) - Score 3,760
Internet Download High Speed Concept Illustration. 1 Gbps in Focus. Global Broadband Networks Speed 3D.

The latest independent data has revealed that a shade over 80% of “homes” across the United Kingdom can now access a gigabit-capable broadband ISP connection (1000Mbps+), which is up from just over 72% at the end of last year. The figure drops to 60% when only looking at Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology (up from 45%).

As usual, it’s necessary to point out that the figure for “gigabit-capable broadband” coverage is currently much higher than full fibre (FTTP) because it includes both the impact from FTTP builds and Virgin Media’s Hybrid Fibre Coax (cable / DOCSIS 3.1) networks. Both of which can deliver gigabit download speeds, and there’s a lot of overbuild between these two in urban areas.

NOTE: The coverage figures reflect the latest independent data on gigabit coverage from Thinkbroadband this week, which break down as Scotland (73.57%), Northern Ireland (94.28%), Wales (66.99%) and England (80.99%).

The vast majority of this rapid network expansion is currently still being dominated by commercial deployments from a large number of network operators, such as Openreach (BT), Virgin Media (O2 + Nexfibre), CityFibre, Netomnia, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and many.. more (Summary of UK Full Fibre Builds).

The news also bodes well for the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit broadband rollout scheme, which aims to extend 1Gbps download speeds to at least 85% of UK premises by the end of 2025, before hopefully achieving “nationwide” coverage (c. 99%) by around 2030 (here) – this project focuses upon the final 20% of hardest to reach premises (i.e. commercial builds are widely expected to handle the first 80%+).

Ofcom’s separate modelling currently predicts that UK gigabit broadband coverage will reach around 84% by May 2024, then 91% by May 2025 and 94% by May 2026 (here).

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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
18 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Obi says:

    Great news, feels like the 85% availability is within sight. I think what will be interesting to see is the state of the industry in 2025, so many variables at play. If it’s in a bad state, I’d worry the £5bn may not go far enough.

    Wonder if there’s been any progress on the Superfast figure also.

  2. Avatar photo Sam says:

    Hopefully by 2026 I will have it.

    1. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      Same here. CF keep saying they are rolling out. Not sure how Virgin have never been able to do it.

    2. Avatar photo Anon says:

      In any area VM have always had the technical ability to extend the network, but if it costs over about £700 per individual property it’s not viable for them. Specifics vary between cost per property passed for area schemes, versus a budget for new connection costs on existing network, but if the budget isn’t enough they’ll never connect.

  3. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

    It looks like thanks to Nexfibre I should finally be one of the stats in Feb/April next year. Lots of noise from Giganet and Trooli locally but Giganet are well behind schedule (was told October last year originally – no date now!) and Trooli just skipped the vaguely difficult streets and moved on. Nexfibre/VM on the other hand did the whole estate in about 3 weeks and look to complete the entire town in ~3 months.

    Its going to be an interesting year or two coming. I just can’t see the altnets competing giving the speed the big players can move when they feel like it. Hopefully there is less overbuild and more filling of gaps to come.

    1. Avatar photo Sonic says:

      Are there any ISPs apart from Virgin Media that are able to supply services on Nexfibre’s network? If it’s VM, are you stuck with their existing plans/pricing or do they have a different set of plans available?

    2. Avatar photo Sonic says:

      We might get lucky and get Giganet in the coming months as they are rolling out in our area (south Winchester). But given my luck…

    3. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      It’s early days for nexfibre’s network, but when it starts to get to the target of 5m premises passed by 2026 some ISPs will no doubt get signed up. In the meantime customers on this network can get up to Gig1 (no TV or landline yet) with VM.

  4. Avatar photo Kalamatee says:

    I’m sure it’s great for all the people living in cities.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Pretty good for the folks living in market towns and villages either served commercially or subsidised by the taxpayer, too.

      There are plenty of folks in cities with no full fibre. Sonic in these very comments is in one and has been pretty vocal.

    2. Avatar photo Testy McTestface says:

      From what I’m told, about 10-15% of properties in cities are “too difficult” to deploy to, also. We’re one of them. The rollout is considered “done” by simply making those properties “out of scope”.

      There is also no plan to revisit them.

      “Too difficult” in effect means “too expensive”, and I very much doubt the govt funding will be enough to tip the balance. BTOR have already told me they don’t expect to ever connect us up, unless the govt pays the full price for our street (or I do).

    3. Avatar photo Matt says:

      I live in a block of flats in central London that had a Hyperoptic fibre install blocked by the residents association in 2018. As of today we are still on VDSL contending with a full green cab.

      Our area has full virgin media coverage, but their cabling was not installed when the block was constructed. I do wonder if our properties show as having gigabit coverage in the statistics due to Virgin, despite getting 70mbit VDSL at best.

  5. Avatar photo Julie Dervey says:

    The trouble is that too many of these new code operators are busily installing additional telegraph poles in areas where there is already excellent broadband infrastructure. They are doing this with the sole aim of developing their own business assets as opposed to ensuring that rural areas are enabled to access reliable, reasonably priced broadband!
    Is this really what was intended by the amended legislation? Whose money is being spent on these unwanted, unnecessary new networks? Will the government remove these unwanted new poles and masts?

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Not really. Only KCom areas and, outside of them, a single company come to mind: IX Wireless.

      What do you folks in your East Ridings-centred campaign actually know about the KCom passive infrastructure products beyond that they, in some form, exist?

      Prices? Terms? How to place orders? Lead times? Availability of network maps? Operational concerns? I know bits and it’s, either by design or because they make it up as they go along, not usable. The stuff I’ve heard sounds more like an extortion racket than a viable product.

      Might it not be worth finding that out before you make accusations like the above? You’re almost certainly thinking of MS3 as the primary culprit and are obviously wrong as MS3 make extensive use of the incumbent’s infrastructure everywhere besides your patch where KCom are the incumbent.

      I can show you the Openreach price list for access to their infrastructure. It’s on their website. The terms and conditions are regulated by Ofcom, and there are millions of premises passed with those products.

      It not seem like something of a coincidence that in the East Ridings you cannot find any of those things and that that proportion of homes covered by those products goes down to essentially zero as it’s at most very, very small scale trials?

      Maybe sort your own patch before trying to change things that are largely okay nationwide? Neither Openreach or KCom need your help.

      KCom definitely not: it not seem odd to you that there’s no cable in your area either? It’s all over the rest of Yorkshire. Go into the areas where KCom were the monopoly and gone.

      None of my business really what goes on there, however while you seek to change the rules nationwide while burying your heads in the sand you make it the business of everyone else and undermine your own case with it.

  6. Avatar photo D_S says:

    Virgin Media should not qualify as a gigabit broadband provider in these stats or in government measurements. The network quality, latency and availability is abysmal.

    I’d like to see the full-fibre stats

  7. Avatar photo Rik says:

    My town, Skelmersdale, will probably be one of the last places to get any meaningful FTTP roll out.

    Despite a population of around 40k, the geography of the area doesn’t lend itself to cheap roll outs as each housing area is separated by lots of greenery and open areas.

    Openreach have only gone for the new estates.

    Be Fibre have announced a roll out using duct sharing with Openreach. The problem there is the lines in most of the town aren’t in ducts they were just buried in the ground and flagged over.

    Cityfibre had plans but they have since gone quiet on the matter.

  8. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

    BeFibre connected its first customer in Skelmersdale in July.

  9. Avatar photo Boi says:

    15% jump in FTTP availability in 1 year is not bad. My area only had VM, now we also have OpenReach and an Altnet all offering gigabit, it’s definitely happening.

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