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Ofcom Spring 2024 Study – Gigabit Broadband Covers 24 Million UK Homes

Wednesday, Apr 24th, 2024 (11:17 am) - Score 1,880
uk map england scotland wales northern ireland

Ofcom’s spring 2024 study of UK fixed broadband and mobile coverage has reported that “full fibre” (FTTP) now reaches 62% of the UK (up from 57% in Sept 2023), while 80% are within reach of a gigabit-capable network (up from 78%) and 85-92% of premises can get an outdoor 5G signal from at least one operator (largely unchanged).

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 2024, which is several months more recent than the September 2023 data used in their annual 2023 Connected Nations report.

Overall, the UK’s coverage of fixed “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) remains unchanged at 97%, while 18.7 million homes (62%) can now order a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service via various networks (up from 57%).

Meanwhile, gigabit-capable (1Gbps+) services are now available to 80% of the UK or 24 million homes (up from 78%), which is higher than the FTTP figure because a lot of the gigabit connectivity has flowed from Virgin Media’s upgrade to their existing Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) network with DOCSIS 3.1 technology – there’s a lot of overbuild between HFC and FTTP in dense urban areas.

All of this work will help to support the UK Government’s £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 around 99% “nationwide” by 2030).

However, the number of premises that cannot get a “decent broadband” (10Mbps+) service is currently 57,000 (0.2% of the UK) – when you include delivery via wireless connections (i.e. 4G, 5G and fixed wireless access), which is down from 61,000 at the last update. The download speed of at least 10Mbps (1Mbps upload) also represents the core specification for the UK’s broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Speaking of wireless services, 4G mobile networks have seen geographic coverage across all network operators (EE, Three UK, O2 and Vodafone) rise slightly to 81-88% (up from 80-87%). The new £1bn Shared Rural Network (SRN) agreement should be starting to improve this, but it’s a very slow burn.

Finally, on 5G coverage, Ofcom states that some 85-92% of UK premises can now get outdoor coverage by at least one operator (oddly this compares with 85-93% at the last update), but this collapses to just 16-28% when looking at outdoor coverage by all operators combined (up from 16-25%). Suffice to say, there’s still a lot of work to do.

Spring 2024 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 checking the full Spring 2024 Update.

UK Fixed Broadband Coverage

Access to full fibre Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 48% 52% 57% 62%
England 47% 51% 56% 62%
Northern Ireland 89% 90% 91% 92%
Scotland 46% 49% 53% 58%
Wales 45% 50% 55% 61%

 

Access to Gigabit-capable services Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 73% 75% 78% 80%
England 75% 76% 78% 81%
Northern Ireland 90% 91% 92% 94%
Scotland 68% 69% 72% 75%
Wales 57% 60% 64% 69%

 

Access to superfast services Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 97% 97% 97% 97%
England 97% 97% 98% 98%
Northern Ireland 96% 97% 98% 98%
Scotland 95% 95% 95% 96%
Wales 96% 96% 96% 96%

 

Access to at least 10 Mbit/s services  Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 99% 99% 99% 99%
England 99% 99% 99% 99%
Northern Ireland 98% 98% 99% 99%
Scotland 98% 98% 98% 98%
Wales 98% 98% 98% 98%

UK Mobile Network Coverage (4G)

Premises (outdoor) – coverage range across MNOs Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 99-c.100% 99-c.100% 99-c.100% 99-c.100%
England 99-c.100% 99-c.100% 99-c.100% 99-c.100%
Northern Ireland 97-99% 98-99% 98-99% 98-99%
Scotland 97-99% 98-c.100% 98-c.100% 98-c.100%
Wales 96-99% 96-99% 96-99% 96-99%

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Geographic area – coverage range across MNOs Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 80-87% 80-87% 80-87% 81-88%
England 92-94% 92-95% 92-95% 92-95%
Northern Ireland 88-92% 88-92% 88-92% 89-92%
Scotland 57-75% 58-76% 59-76% 60-78%
Wales 74-85% 74-85% 73-85% 74-87%

UK Mobile Network Coverage (5G)

Premises (outdoor) covered by at least one operator Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 73-82% 76-85% 85-93% 85-92%
England 76-85% 79-88% 87-94% 87-93%
Northern Ireland 48-55% 54-60% 70-80% 72-79%
Scotland 62-73% 66-76% 80-88% 79-87%
Wales 49-61% 53-65% 72-83% 74-82%

 

Premises (outdoor) covered by all operators Jan-23 May-23 Sep-23 Jan-24
UK 12-22% 12-22% 16-25% 16-28%
England 13-23% 14-24% 17-27% 17-30%
Northern Ireland 5-12% 5-12% 8-18% 7-17%
Scotland 7-17% 8-19% 11-22% 11-24%
Wales 5-8% 4-8% 6-10% 6-10%
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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
4 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Chris says:

    Really wish they would get on with publishing the 4/5g quality of service. I mean it’s great that 99% of the country is covered but actually start to factor in performance criteria & that figure will drop sharply this being the main issue with it’s inclusion in the USO. Gvmt/Ofcom included in as a magic cure-all so as not to have to address the areas that need it most but the reality is that it just doesn’t like upto U.S.O. standards

    1. Avatar photo Mark says:

      And how do you suggest they do that?

  2. Avatar photo Nick Taylor says:

    All sounds great, but how come we are unable to get FTTP in North London N12 yet?
    Community fibre were here but have put work on hold. Very annoying

    1. Avatar photo HR2Res says:

      Be thankful you (probably) have FTTC or some form of VDSL then.

      Some of us are worse off than that. In these ‘ere parts we use heliographs (the equivalent of FTTP) when the sun is shining. When inclement weather intervenes we have the fallback of semaphore (FTTC equivalent). And at night or when it’s foggy? Oh, we have the equivalent of ADSL: drums! The sound carries for miles, but it gets very difficult to use the further you are away in the exchange. Problem is there is no standard drum communication protocol yet either, and so ‘wires’ often get crossed in Rx/Tx: you ask him across the valley if you can borrow his seed drill at the weekend and her down the lane who was beating inconsequentially to a nearby friend replied that “no” she would not come around on the weekend to see to my needs!
      😉

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