Earlier this week the UK Government proudly announced that they had accomplished their target of reaching 95% superfast broadband coverage across the UK. Whilst remaining a victory, we want to explore behind the 95% and find out if the statement is as good as it sounds.
The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), established in 2010/11, is part of the Department for Culture Media and Sport and is a programme set up to deliver super-fast broadband and full fibre networks to homes and businesses across the United Kingdom.
The BDUK is responsible for the UK’s super-fast broadband roll-out. The programme which is funded by the state was created to extend broadband further than what commercial operators were required to deliver. The clear majority of BDUK roll-outs have been supported by contracts which were controlled by BT’s Openreach, who rolled out FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) and a minority of their ultra-fast FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) technology. Read our previous blog post on the difference between FFTC and FFTP here.
When the UK Government say that 95% of Britain now has superfast broadband coverage what they mean is an estimated 95% of households and business premises in the United Kingdom now has the potential to 24Mbps broadband speed via a capable fixed line. The 95% quoted hence include lines that are still in progress.
North Scotland coverage with live FTTP and FTTC. Source: Think broadband community project
South Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Northern England coverage with live FTTP and FTTC. Source: Think broadband community project
Wales and Rest of England Source: Think broadband community project
The figure of 95% represents a national average. Even though Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland don’t fall short by long, in fact only England reaches the 95%.
Now, if we begin to look more in depth at specific locations, it is evident that even these percentages are an average. Below are some examples where 95% seems pretty far away.
|City of London
|Kingston Upon Hall
Openreach faced struggles when it came to deliver the broadband to more remote businesses and homes. Those may not make up a big share of UK businesses and homes, but the areas they are in make up a big portion of the UK geographically.
It isn’t just rural areas that have missed out. Many parts of major UK cities are also facing the struggle of broadband speeds such as, Manchester, Liverpool, Bangor, Glasgow, Belfast, and ironically Westminister. This makes it evident that more progress must be made to achieve the overall desired outcome.
Alongside these weaknesses, the UK’s decision to define ‘super-fast’ broadband as speeds either of or greater than 24Mbps is questionable. This does not coincide with most of the EU and industry regulator Ofcom definition of 30Mbps since 2009. For those businesses and homes who are situated in Scotland and Wales its worth noting that both countries are talking about potential plans to deliver super-fast broadband by industry definition of 30Mbps.
Overall, the project has been a success. However, it will be interesting to see how the UK Government successfully deliver the remaining 5%. The programme is expected to continue to 2020, it is then hoped that the networks will have reached 98% of premises.
If you would you like more information on your broadband options for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!