Over half of homes in the United Kingdom now have access to full-fibre broadband and three quarters have access to gigabit-capable services. That is the theoretical service coverage. It does not mean that people subscribe to such services. However, internet coverage is nearly universal, with access to connections capable of delivering high-definition video available to almost all homes.
The latest Connected Nations update from the communications regulator Ofcom outlines the availability and coverage of broadband and mobile services across the United Kingdom.
Availability of gigabit-capable broadband continues to improve at a rapid pace, with 75% of homes in the United Kingdom, or nearly 22.4 million, now able to access them. This is up 2 percentage points from 21.9 million at the end of 2022 and has been driven by the continued rollout of full-fibre broadband. The government ambition is for gigabit broadband to be available to at least 85% of premises by 2025 and 99% by 2030.
Full-fibre services are available to 52% of homes, an increase of 15 percentage points in a year. This has been driven mainly by the larger fibre operators but also supported by smaller providers across the UK serving individual communities and regions.
So-called ‘superfast’ broadband, offering download rates of at least 30 megabits per second, remains at 97% of homes. The remaining 3% tend to be in more remote areas, with availability at 86% in rural regions.
Almost all properties in the United Kingdom can access what is described as ‘decent’ broadband, defined as offering at least 10 megabits per second downstream. The number of homes that are unable to access this basic speed has fallen to 62,000. Of those, just over 50,000 premises are unlikely to be covered by publicly funded schemes within the next twelve months and may be eligible for connection under universal service obligation provisions.
Around 93% of premises in the United Kingdom are predicted to have good outdoor 4G mobile coverage from at least one operator, and this is expected to rise to 95% by end of 2025 as a result of the Shared Rural Network.
Around 80% of premises are reported to be able to get a 5G signal outdoors from at least one mobile network operator.
These figures all have implications for the migration of television services from digital terrestrial transmissions to delivery by internet protocols. However, the availability of coverage does not mean that people necessarily subscribe to such services or receive anything like gigabit services.
Connected Nations Summer update 2023 is available from the Ofcom web site, with interactive data tables.