More than four million homes and businesses now have access to full fiber optic connectivity, according to new data from Ofcom.
According to the regulator, 4.2 million properties are now connected to a full fiber optic network, which is 14 percent of all UK premises. That’s a 12 percent increase when the regulator last released an update in the spring.
The vast majority of UK broadband infrastructure is provided via FTTC (Fiber the Cabinet) technology, which uses copper for the last few meters of a link.
UK fiber coverage
Openreach, Virgin Media and “Altnets”
In terms of ultra-fast broadband – a number that Ofcom defines as over 300Mbps and which can include cable and fiber optic technologies – coverage is now up to 55 percent thanks to the addition of 500,000 new features.
The super-fast broadband coverage (at least 30 Mbit / s) remains at 95 percent, while 98 percent of all properties can receive a “decent” connectivity standard. Ofcom defines “decent” broadband as a transmission rate of 10 Mbit / s download and 1 Mbit / s upload. With the recent changes in regulations, anyone in the UK can request this minimum standard under the Universal Service Obligation.
Openreach currently plans to provide fiber to up to 20 million homes and businesses by the end of the decade, but says it could go further with a favorable investment climate. The government expects four fifths of the country to be covered by commercial operations and has stated that it stands ready to support measures to expand that coverage.
In terms of cellular coverage, Ofcom says the share will remain static, but expects the shared rural network (SRN) framework to have a positive impact in the near future by allowing operators to share infrastructure in poorly served areas .
The next update will be in December when Ofcom publishes its annual Connected Nations report. The release is expected to provide some insight into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on UK network infrastructure.
At the height of the lockdown, Openreach was only doing “substantial” repairs and maintenance to minimize social contact and protect the public and their engineers.