Ofcom has published a Spring 2019 update to last year’s Connected Nations 2018 report, which uses more recent data to provide the latest coverage statistics for UK mobile and fixed line broadband networks. The key change is that “full fibre” (FTTP) coverage has risen to 7% (i.e. over 300K premises in the last 4 months, nearly 1.8 million total).
Just to clarify, today’s report is actually based on coverage and service availability information received from ISPs and mobile network operators as of January 2019, which is thus four months more current than the data in their previous Connected Nations 2018 study (September 2018).
The other key changes since Ofcom’s previous report are that “ultrafast broadband” coverage (oddly defined by the regulator as speeds of 300Mbps+) has risen from 49% to 53% of UK homes and businesses, while “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) coverage has edged up from 94% to 95%+. Remember that the Government’s original definition of “superfast” is slightly lower at 24Mbps+, which was officially hit over a year ago (here).
As usual most of the ultrafast coverage will be coming from the expansion of Virgin Media’s cable network, although Openreach has also been very busy deploying both G.fast and FTTP technology. Meanwhile a growing number of alternative network ISPs are spreading FTTP at an increasingly rapid pace (see our ‘Summary of Full Fibre Plans‘), with Cityfibre and Hyperoptic being two of the biggest movers in that crowd.
NOTE: In order to meet the Government’s nationwide full fibre ambition for 2033 we need to see the UK adding about 2 million premises a year.
The improved fixed line broadband coverage also means that the number of premises that cannot get a “decent broadband” (10Mbps+) service has continued to fall. Around 619,000 UK premises (2%) cannot get broadband with a download speed of at least 10Mbps and an upload of at least 1Mbps, which is the specification for the UK Government’s proposed broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).
Kim Mears, Openreach MD of Strategic Infrastructure, said:
“This is great news for the UK and we’re proud to be leading the build of faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband networks across the country.
We want to be the national full fibre provider and we’re convinced our technology can be a huge catalyst for productivity and prosperity post-Brexit.
We’re investing heavily in our network and people; in communities all over the UK, and we’re on track to hit our target of reaching three million premises by the end of 2020. But we want to go much further, and we will do if the conditions are right to invest.”
Meanwhile 4G mobile networks have seen their indoor coverage by all operators rise over the same period from 77% to 78% and geographic coverage from all operators has gone from 66% to 67%.
January 2019 Coverage Data
The following table summarises the latest mobile and fixed broadband coverage figures for the United Kingdom, although you can get a similar report for each of the UK’s primary regions (England, Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales) by downloading the full Spring 2019 Update (PDF) and scrolling toward the bottom.