1 in 5 homes now connected to full-fibre broadband, claims Ofcom

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Approximately one in five homes can now connect to full-fibre broadband, available from companies such as Virgin Media. That’s twice as many as this time last year, according to Ofcom’s latest Connected Nations data.

As of January 2021, around six million UK homes (21 per cent) were able to get full-fibre broadband – up from 18 per cent in September 2020. Broadband delivered over full-fibre networks is faster and more reliable than the decades-old copper connections that most people still use for high-speed internet access.

There has also been a significant increase in the availability of gigabit-capable connections. This includes broadband delivered over full-fibre networks and the fastest cable technology. Eleven million homes (37 per cent) can now get gigabit-capable services – up from around 8 million (27 per cent) in September 2020.

Currently, the UK government hopes to extend gigabit-capable broadband availability to 85% of homes by the end of 2025.

Comments Justina Miltienyte, policy expert at Uswitch.com:

“It’s not just the biggest players behind this rise. Local providers are playing an increasingly bigger role in giving customers better connectivity, providing a clear indication that competition in the market is benefiting consumers.

“However, the Government’s target of getting gigabit-capable broadband to 85% of the country by 2025 does look increasingly optimistic and the pace of work needs to accelerate.

“More work needs to be done to communicate to customers what speeds are available to them when the infrastructure is built, especially in the rural areas where it might take longer to connect customers. 

“Some 11 million households that could get a superfast connection are still struggling on speeds of 12Mbps or less. 

“Many people still stuck on the slowest ADSL broadband don’t realise they could upgrade to a faster connection simply by switching product or provider.”

Adds Phil Sorsky, Senior Vice President International at CommScope:

“It is great to read that more UK homes have full-fibre broadband, considering all the disruption brought on by the pandemic. While this brings us to a total of 21% of homes, that still means there are approximately 52 million people without access to full-fibre broadband.

“We need infrastructure providers to accelerate their targets for fibre roll out in order to provide equal opportunities for all, regardless of location. BT’s expected announcement tomorrow is a good example of this and more must follow suit. The good news is that deployment technology is improving and so the speed and cost of fibre network installations are likely to improve, which will ultimately advance the pace of FTTH (fibre to the home) rollout across the UK.”

Chris Price
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