Over 80 per cent of UK residents can now get speeds in excess of 30Mbps from fixed-line superfast broadband services, according to the latest figures from Ofcom.
The telecoms regulator’s annual Communications Market Report charts, amongst other things, the general state of Broadband Britain.
Thanks mainly to the commercial network upgrades of BT’s Openreach network and the BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) regional schemes, as of May 2015, 83 per cent of UK premises were able to order superfast broadband.
Related: BT’s superfast broadband footprint now covers 80 per cent of the UKWhile Ofcom defines ‘superfast’ as anything delivering 30Mbps or above, the government and BT have a different idea, setting the superfast bar down to 25Mbps or faster.
Taking this into account, Ofcom’s report shows that 90 per cent of premises across the UK can now get broadband services from an NGA (next-generation access) network, whether that’s the FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) or FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) portion of Openreach, Virgin Media’s up to 152Mbps cable network, or KCOM’s up to 350Mbps Lightstream footprint in Hull.
Because the report excludes the efforts of smaller companies like Hyperoptic, CityFibre, Gigaclear and grassroots projects like B4RN, the report doesn’t give us a complete picture of the state of Broadband UK.
Hyperoptic’s FTTP footprint passed the 100,000 premises milestone earlier this year and CityFibre is cracking on with installing more core networks in cities across the UK, with a view to eventually reaching 10 million homes.
Sky and TalkTalk are involved in a joint venture with CityFibre, which sees residents in the York trial area able to order FTTP broadband, delivering download speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) for just £21.70/month.
Gigaclear has recently won contracts to connect rural premises in Essex, West Berkshire and the Cotswolds and has plans to accelerate its rural rollout with a £30 million cash injection. In May, B4RN announced that it had connected its 1,000th customer to symmetrical gigabit fibre in north Lancashire.
All of these smaller ISPs can deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps), head and shoulders what’s currently available from BT and Virgin Media. That said, the reach of each company is comparatively small (for now) and their services are unlikely to be taken up by the great majority of UK residents.
The government intends to reach 95 per cent of UK premises with superfast (25Mbps+) broadband by the end of 2017. BT recently announced that £129 million of money saved from the various regional projects will now be reinvested in extending its superfast reach.
Earlier this year, Virgin Media announced plans to extend its cable network, which current passes around 12 million properties, to cover an extra 4 million.