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Government Confirms Gigabit Broadband Covers 80 Percent of UK

Monday, Jan 15th, 2024 (9:50 am) - Score 4,040

The Government has today confirmed that 80% of the United Kingdom now has access to a gigabit-capable broadband ISP network, which marks good progress on their way to achieving at least 85% coverage by 2025, and then “nationwide” (c.99%) coverage by 2030. But most of the progress so far has been fuelled by commercial builds.

The news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise because we reported something similar last month (here), albeit focused on 80% of “homes” having access, rather than all premises. Nevertheless, the vast majority of this rapid network expansion is 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).

NOTE: Commercial builds by gigabit network operators are widely expected to handle the first 80%+ of UK premises.

The progress also bodes well for the Government’s £5bn Project Gigabit broadband rollout scheme, which aims to extend 1Gbps download speeds (200Mbps+ uploads) 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 (5-6 million premises exist within that final 20%, but they won’t all need help from public funding).

According to the most recent Project Gigabit progress update (here), the government’s scheme is currently running live contracts and procurements worth over £2bn in state aid to help extend coverage to an extra 1.1 million hard to reach premises. But this is still increasingly and so does not represent a final tally (about £0.5bn and 330,000 premises were added to that total last year alone).

Across all publicly funded programmes (not only Project Gigabit), more than 929,000 hard-to-reach premises have already got access to gigabit broadband as a result of government support. Ofcom’s own 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).

Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan MP, said:

“This is another giant leap forward in our mission to bring gigabit connectivity to every part of the UK, with 80% of the country now able to benefit from lightning-fast broadband.

Access to gigabit speeds does not just mean being able to seamlessly stream films, TV shows, and shop online all at once. It means better productivity for businesses and new opportunities for local communities with digital infrastructure which will help power our economy, create jobs and improve lives for decades to come.”

Finally, the government’s announcement notes that there is now a market of over 100 providers (alternative networks and major providers) “investing more than £40 billion to roll out gigabit-capable broadband across the UK”. However, it should be said that figures like £40bn are often more reflective of tentative commitments and, much as we’ve seen during 2023, some of those commitments are at risk of falling short due to rising build costs and other pressures.

In particular, we’ve seen a good number of operators recently announcing job cuts, as well as build pauses and slowdowns. As a result, progress in 2024 may be a bit slower than prior forecasts envisaged, although Project Gigabit’s first 85% target still looks achievable. But getting to c.99% is a much tougher job.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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21 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Yamosu says:

    I’ll always take these figures with a great deal of scepticism. I’ve worked in the industry for a number of years now and have come across many instances where service should be available but isn’t. I know of someone who can get FTTP via Openreach but only if they cough up thousands of pounds in excess construction charges to cover a distance of 100 yards.

    Even at home, our post code shows as having VM access but the reality is our block of flats and the one opposite were never cabled up, nor did an altnet bother when they finally got wayleave agreements signed. I fear there are much more cases like this than the government and providers would like to admit.

    Currently our only hope for gigabit broadband lies with another Altnet but that’s assuming our landlord will grant them permission.

    1. Avatar photo The facts says:

      What are you looking at that tells you the postcode has coverage? You need to look for the actual property with an ISP.

    2. Avatar photo Andrew Ferguson says:

      Feel free to scream into the void, or you can do something about your injustice and tell me the postcode and will review all the data held – andrew@thinkbroadband.com is the email

    3. Avatar photo Yamosu says:

      This is not my first rodeo. I won’t go into detail here, but it’s suffice to say TBB’s data for my post code is erroneous. Whilst there may be a good number of properties that can get VM or Hyperoptic, mine is not one of them.

      @Andrew I’ll pop some more information your way in a bit but this is a prime example of properties passed and/or post codes covered is not always reliable.

    4. Avatar photo Andrew Ferguson says:

      In this case majority in postcode can get Hyperotic, so at the postcode level correct, so an example of address being better. There are postcodes we don’t count as the minority can get FTTP which once working with larger areas should balance out.

      Analysis at address level is a lot more costly in terms of money and time, we are improving address level data but it is a slow process, this throws lots of errors too as some providers show addresses multiple times, or claim coverage when it is not available.

      GIve me a team of 20 to 30 people and ability to visit and check infrastructure we could generate something a lot better but no-one wants to spend. that sort of money and time.

    5. Avatar photo Craig Wright says:

      absolute lies. my area isnt covered either. id expect my town in between 2 citys (birmingham and worcester) would be covered if its at 80%.

      ive tried my postcode and its not covered. i did see them fitting the lines but think they just refused to wire them to our flats

    6. Avatar photo Andrew Ferguson says:

      Lies from who? You say the postcode is not covered, then suggests you are in the 1 in 5 not covered.

    7. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      Andrew’s always been a government mouthpiece…..some things don’t change.

  2. Avatar photo Andrew says:

    So my block of flats i live in well the opposite side all the neighbors on that side can get gigabit fibre but our side cant get it and apparently according to city fibre they cant do it because of a section 58 but how can that be when they already did the work on the road outside and my neighbors can get it

    1. Avatar photo Andrew Fergusonb says:

      Without knowing the full details, work in roads usually is done under Code Powers, but flats are privately owned e.g. Landlord and providers need their permission WayLeave to work on the actual building

    2. Avatar photo Andrew says:

      Well my neighbors in the same block can get it so if they have a way leave permission so should i

  3. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

    April 1st came early obviously. What a crock of BS if ever I heard one! Well if they say its true it obviously must be…..eh…

    1. Avatar photo 125us says:

      Where is your counter evidence? It’s easy to just be a naysayer. It rather diminishes the efforts countless thousands of people have made over the last decade, from technicians to investors. It’s insulting, frankly.

    2. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      Using my eyes…….smelling the coffee beans. Not falling for government propaganda.

  4. Avatar photo Oldman says:

    Yes my village has fibre but not connected to the original properties before installation but to the new build housing scheme. BT can’t be bothered actually supplying FTTP to us , still operating with copper. Speeds if lucky 25. A joke considering what I am paying as a Pensioner just to keep in touch with the outside world. As for mobile 1 gb data usage as all I can afford and need to stay home just to keep within limits to avoid extra charges.BT just doesn’t care about the little man needing a link to the world.

  5. Avatar photo Simon Pritchard says:

    It’s a shame its financially out of reach for most people at 50 or 60 pounds.

    1. Avatar photo robson_ says:

      More like £20 – £35 for hundreds of mbps, or c. £40 for 900mbps. Actually a lot of folk still pay £45-£60 for their copper based services, as often are not aware better prices are available. If you factor cashabck deals etc – can be even cheaper. I am paying c. £16.90 pro rata over 18 months for 100mbps service (and it would be c. £20 if i went for 300mbps) but didnt see the need at the time…

  6. Avatar photo Chris says:

    The amount times I’ve complained to our local MP, here in Cornwall ( pl14 to be exact ) – it’s shocking. The village we recide in ( half of it has access to 80mbs the other half , their ( our line is capped at 22mb ) – which they think is acceptable , its terrible for a small family.

  7. Avatar photo Damian Dixon says:

    Well that means I’ll be well retired before I get fttp. 4G is pretty poor and forget 5G. Starlink is an option but too many trees close by.

    A major east west fibre connection runs along the A272 less than 100m from my house but it bypasses all the small villages.

    1. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      You must be one of the only 20% in the country Damian……….(sarcasm).

  8. Avatar photo xujarintojas says:

    200mbps upload is too low. If the project is called gigabit it should be 1000/1000mbps at least.

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