Only eight million UK homes get full-fibre broadband despite £2bn government investment
Only eight million UK homes (28 per cent) are able to get full-fibre broadband, according to new data from Ofcom.
In the watchdog’s Connected Nations report, it found that 750,000 homes upgraded to faster, more reliable full-fibre services in the last year, taking the number of properties connected to nearly two million.
However, analysing the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK, the report conceded that these homes still represent less than a quarter of those to which full-fibre upgrades are available.
Meanwhile, around 123,000 homes still do not have access to a ‘decent’ broadband connection – defined as offering download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s.
Orders have been placed under the Government’s universal broadband service that will result in around 6,500 households being connected to full-fibre broadband, and thousands more are expected to benefit from this scheme and others.
On top of this, Ofcom estimated that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Ofcom’s report shows we are making major progress on our commitment to deliver a digital infrastructure revolution. Superfast broadband, almost universally available thanks to our £2bn investment, allows people to work remotely, video call and stream TV on multiple devices at once with no interruptions.”
“But no one should miss out on better connectivity. Starting with areas still struggling with slow speeds, we are upgrading the nation with a further £5.5bn of funding to close gaps in mobile coverage and deliver even faster gigabit broadband in rural areas.”
Phil Sorsky, Senior International VP at CommScope, the network infrastructure provider: “We need the government and network providers to work together to help address this digital divide we’re seeing across the UK. The pandemic highlighted just how important fast broadband was to everyone – from working from home and running businesses, to educating young people remotely. The video calls of tomorrow will be 8K quality – but we will only be able to benefit if it is underpinned by fast broadband.”
In Sorsky’s view, today’s announcement showed how “there’s still a long way to go”.
“Investment in the digital transformation of our country is important because it will have long term and far-reaching benefits for us all – both economically and socially. Continuing to rollout fibre and build the infrastructure to supply fast, reliable connectivity to homes across the UK will ultimately underpin our efforts to build back better from the pandemic and help in the government’s aim to ‘level up’ our economy”, he added.