Full fibre rollout exceeds 64% UK coverage

13 May 2024 11:55   By Lyndsey Burton

Full fibre to the home rollout across the UK reaches 20.7m premises as of Q1 2024.

According to PointTopic, full fibre coverage now reaches 64.7% of the UK at the end of Q1 2024, with 20.7 million premises passed.

Nearly 7 million premises now have a choice between two or more full fibre networks, with 0.8 million able to choose between three or more.

However, a separate report by EightAdvisory has shown Openreach is securing twice the take-up of other smaller alternative networks.

fibre optic internet connection

Full fibre coverage

PointTopic's report, published in May 2024, analyses ThinkPoint's broadband availability dataset, which includes 1.7 million postcodes.

They found availability for full fibre broadband had increased by 6.5% from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024, up to a coverage figure of 64.7% of the UK or 20.7 million premises.

This time last year, full fibre broadband had reached over 15 million premises, showing an increase of 5 million in the past 12 months.

However, rollout growth seems to be slowing overall, with an increase of just 48,000 premises between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, compared to 2 million between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023.

Openreach acceleration

Openreach has the broadest availability of full fibre broadband, so far passing 12.9 million premises covering 40.3% of the UK.

PointTopic suggests a growth figure of approximately 8% quarter-on-quarter looking at Openreach coverage between Q3 2023 and Q1 2024.

The second biggest full fibre network is CityFibre, with a footprint of over 3 million premises, followed by Community Fibre at 1.3 million premises and Hyperoptic at 1 million.

Nexfibre, Virgin Media O2's full fibre network, has so far passed 0.8 million premises, but had one of the biggest growth rates between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, with an expansion in their footprint of 54%.

Overbuild is also continuing to increase, with as many as 6.7 million premises able to choose between two or more full fibre networks, and 0.8 million having the choice between three or more.

Back in May 2023 there were just 2.5 million premises with a choice of two or more full fibre networks, with the smaller alt-nets covering around 25% of UK homes.

Full fibre take-up

Despite the rapid growth of multiple alternative full fibre networks, Openreach is maintaining the highest take-up figures, boasting almost double the take-up of other networks.

EightAdvisory, a strategic consultancy firm, has produced a report detailing how Openreach's take-up currently exceeds that of other alt-nets and how penetration in the UK broadband market can be improved upon.

They say take-up of alt-nets is typically around 16%, while Openreach is achieving take-up rates of 5 to 30% depending on how long an area has had access to full fibre.

It's notable that Hyperoptic, another more established full fibre network provider, also has higher take-up levels, with figures or 31% and 30% for 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Other networks, such as Community Fibre with a current take-up rate of just 15% according to EightAdvisory, are now switching their focus from rollout to take-up by pausing new build plans and working instead towards increasing the number of customers signed up to their service.

One advantage held by Openreach over other alt-nets is their partnerships with big broadband resellers such as Vodafone, TalkTalk, and Sky, which undoubtedly helps to increase their customer numbers.

Nexfibre, Virgin Media O2's wholesale network, aims to challenge Openreach however, and announced in February 2024 it would be opening up its network to offer wholesale services as an alternative for resellers to the incumbent.


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