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

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)

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).

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.

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