Ofcom’s Connected Nations Spring update shows that, as of January 2023, almost half of households (48%) can access full-fibre broadband, which delivers internet using fibre-optic cables. This is an increase of around 5.5 million homes since last year’s Spring update.
Ofcom’s next update, due later this year, will show that the 50% full fibre landmark has been passed, with its latest analysis indicating that this milestone was hit in March.
Full-fibre connections – along with upgraded cable networks – can deliver download speeds of one gigabit per second or higher. In total, gigabit-capable broadband through a range of technologies is now available to 73% of the UK (nearly 22 million homes), up from 66% the same time last year.
Today’s report also shows that the number of premises unable to get ‘decent’ broadband, defined by the Government as offering download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s, stands at 68,000 premises, which has fallen from 99,500 year on year.
For mobile, 5G coverage continues to grow steadily, with 82% of premises in the UK now able to get a 5G signal outdoors – up from around half in the space of a year.
Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie, comments:
“The UK has lagged behind on its broadband infrastructure for ages, and now comes 53rd in the world for speeds. This data shows there have been efforts made to upgrade our connections, but there is a long way to go.
“Nearly half of homes can now access full-fibre broadband, but the challenge will be to make it affordable to people. Providers need to ensure that people struggling on slow speeds know they can switch to a new, faster deal and may even pay less.
“There have been nearly a million new Gigabit-capable connections made since Ofcom’s last update, but with these packages often costing above £50 per month, consumers may be slow to take advantage of them.
“The number of homes unable to get ‘decent’ broadband has fallen again, which is welcome news on the whole. The reality, however, is that the Government defines ‘decent’ as 10Mb, which is becoming increasingly unworkable as homes become more connected to Wi-Fi enabled gadgets.
“With our growing digital demands and greater opportunities to work from home, the Government needs to reevaluate the speeds it should be aiming to achieve.
“More than 300,000 commercial premises are also unable to get these ‘decent’ speeds, leaving many businesses at a disadvantage. This should also be a priority for the Government, as fast broadband is vital to growing small businesses.”