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Nearly 7 Million UK Premises Can Access 2 or More Full Fibre Networks

Thursday, May 9th, 2024 (9:22 am) - Score 1,960
finger touching fiber optic on technology background

New data from telecoms analyst firm Point Topic has revealed that, at the end of Q1 2024, nearly 7 million UK premises had access to two or more full fibre (FTTP) broadband ISP networks, falling to just 0.8m for three or more networks. Some 64.7% of UK premises (20.7m) are now covered by such a network, while Altnets are still seeing good growth.

The latest progress report (here) notes that Openreach’s Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network now covers 40.3% of all UK premises, which is up from 37.4% three months earlier. But the most interesting figures tend to come from alternative networks (Altnets).

NOTE: The report excludes gigabit-capable broadband cover from Virgin Media’s Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC / D3.1) network, but it does include their limited FTTP (RFoG and XGS-PON) base.

Among the FTTP altnets with at least 100,000 premises passed, the analyst recorded the highest quarterly growth at F&W Networks (+90%), Grain Connect (+59%) and nexfibre (+54%). In addition, an increasing number of altnets are exceeding the 100K fibre premises passed figure, thus the chart below is starting to expand. But Jurassic Fibre should now really be having its figures bundled with Swish Fibre and Giganet (all under the merged AllPoints Fibre brand).

Premises passed by altnets in Q1 2024
(more than 100K premises)

Point-Topic-Q1-2024-AltNet-FTTP-Provider-Growth

Among all the Local Authorities (LA), the largest number of FTTP premises added during the quarter was in Glasgow (+24.5K), followed by Birmingham (+24K), Buckinghamshire (+20K) and Pembrokeshire (+20K). For the first time, we have local authorities from the South East and Wales in this ranking (Ogi is partly to blame for the latter, as they added 23,000 premises during Q1 in Wales).

Point-Topic-Q1-2024-Top-Ten-UK-Local-Authorities-by-FTTP-Premises-Added

However, despite some operators slowing down their footprint expansion due to cost, labour and contractor issues, some 30 local authorities still saw 10%+ growth in the percentage of their premises passed with FTTP networks during the quarter (down only slightly from 31 last quarter).

At the other end of the scale, it’s worth having a look at the bottom ten LAs for FTTP premises passed in Q1. Point Topic signals a note of encouragement here because the latest table features higher percentages – 4.9% to 17.5%, as opposed to 1.5% to 16.4% in the previous quarter, as FTTP covers more premises in more local authorities.

Compared to Q4 2023, the Shetland Islands have slid down to the bottom of the ranking with only 4.9% of premises in the area having FTTP, having been overtaken by the Isles of Scilly (+4.7% FTTP premises in the area q-o-q) and Copeland (+7.1%). Meanwhile, Tamworth, having added c.2,000 FTTP premises in the quarter, got pushed out of the ‘list of shame’ by Telford and Wrekin.

Point-Topic-Q1-2024-Bottom-Ten-Local-Authorities-by-FTTP-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
25 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Will says:

    I don’t understand why FTTP providers don’t go to an area that hasn’t already got FTTP from another provider?! Surely they would get more takeup and more people would benefit? I know there’s competition, but my parents property now has a choice of Openreach and Airband, they have had Openreach FTTP since September 2021!

    1. Avatar photo Name says:

      It’s the most frustrating thing ever.

      I think we are going to start seeing a pretty clear digital divide of towns with and without FTTP at this rate.

      Where I live, as an example, has next to no industry anymore so the only well paying jobs are remote work for the UK services sector (Finance, IT, Law etc). Unless you’re in part of the town with Virgin, you can’t get good internet. That makes working remotely difficult. 2 people on teams need 4Mb of upload and if you can only get slow speed FTTC with an upload of 5 – 6Mb its not really good enough.

      You’ll start to see towns with poor internet access just die as middle income earners move out elsewhere to somewhere they can actually work from.

      I’ve got Virgin so its not a big deal for me however my FTTC estimates are 27 down and 5 up. I think we were announced in 2020 by Openreach and its still not here, I’ve not seen anyone in the streets working, you never see Openreach vans about. If I was on FTTC I’d probably have to move area.

    2. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Take up and build cost. They know they’ll be competing with Openreach eventually, too, and likely before many people’s 18-24 month contracts are up and they can move.

    3. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      Name “You’ll start to see towns with poor internet access just die as middle income earners move out elsewhere to somewhere they can actually work from.”

      I agree completely. It’s a case of most homes in my area being offered FTC or Virgin Media, but no other competition exists unless you happen to live in a new build estate.

    4. Avatar photo Will says:

      I understand about competition, but I feel that there needs to be more focus on getting FTTP to everyone then overbuilding.

  2. Avatar photo tech3475 says:

    I still find it weird that someone I know has access to 3 providers for FTTP.

    You’d think a new alt-net would target areas with no/single provider first in the hopes of increasing uptake.

    1. Avatar photo Buggerlugz says:

      Its way too expensive to do that.

    2. Avatar photo Will says:

      It’s not expensive if people have no other option and then they get close to if not 100% takeup!

  3. Avatar photo si says:

    Damn and here I am in Andover able to access absolutely 0 fibre :/

    1. Avatar photo Peach says:

      Openreach are currently building in Andover

  4. Avatar photo GM says:

    Waited years for FTTP and then Openreach, Nexfibre (VM) were available within 1 month of each other and Connect fibre is imminent…. It doesn’t really make sense

    1. Avatar photo Craggle says:

      Same happened here in my small town (pop. 10k), no plans at all before 2026 but suddenly Gigaclear started a build out. Openreach then decided to pinch their potential customers and rolled out FTTP before Gigaclear could finish building and then Trooli decided to turn up and start building for good measure.

      We’ve gone from FTTC only to having a choice of 3 FTTP providers in the space of maybe 4 months.

  5. Avatar photo Luke says:

    It seems these providers would much prefer to waste money overbuilding an area. My local exchange was tranche 2 back in 2021 and even then the whole area has been able to access VM HFC network that’s capable of gigabit.
    Openreach has 4 customers out of about 50 houses.

  6. Avatar photo NoFibreHere says:

    Still cannot get answers from anyone about the state of full fibre in my town. Nothing planned before 2026 even with Project Gigabit which has us as “deferred”. Local council members have contacted providers, county councillors, local MP but nobody wants to talk.

    The locals would be satisfied to have 1 FTTP provider as an option but it’s so frustrating to hear that ISP’s would rather spend money, resources and time overbuilding in areas that are already served.

    1. Avatar photo Will says:

      I totally agree, it seems like a complete waste of time.

      From the Thinkbroadband website: While the 1 in 5 premises with two or more FTTP networks seems a waste, having competition is important for the long term, since if the UK ends up with one monopoly FTTP network in large areas of the country even if the current management is soft and cuddly there will eventually be an asset stripper who cares nothing about customers but just the profit margins.

      Sorry, but I see this as a case of it “being all about the money” rather than it actually benefiting the public. I think there would be less internet speed issues/complaints if providers focussed on areas that don’t have an option rather than overbuilding…

  7. Avatar photo Diver Fred says:

    It’s called ‘Cherry Picking’! I agree it’s frustrating, it’s frustrating that the UK had to wait so long to get FTTP anywhere. Sometime the UK governments don’t have a clue about boosting the UK instead they seem to want to hold the country back.

    1. Avatar photo Will says:

      Blame Thatcher!

  8. Avatar photo Clearmind60 says:

    I can see so many VM, OR and C Fibre. But majority are VM and OR.

  9. Avatar photo Sonic says:

    Really warms my heart to read of all the choice people have on my ancient FTTC connection.

    1. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Glad to hear it. The fourth network to my property should be lighting up shortly.

    2. Avatar photo Will says:

      Yup, I would be of a completely different opinion if I still lived at my parents house that now has access to two FTTP providers, but I don’t and don’t really have any options other than slow VDSL or slow 4G, so we rely on Starlink which is great but very expensive. If only providers focussed on areas that didn’t have FTTP rather than target areas that already do. It’s unlikely that people will switch fibre provider unless they are much cheaper.

    3. Avatar photo Will says:

      Who needs access to 4 fibre networks?!

  10. Avatar photo John Simon Knight says:

    A question rather than a reply. How do I tell how many providers there are in my location?

  11. Avatar photo Dave says:

    Would be nice for everyone to have full fibre before introducing competition. Here in the WR2 area of Worcester still no sign of full fibre and according to Openreach and other fibre companies no plans to install.

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