Full fibre broadband available to 17 million UK homes

According to new Ofcom data, full fibre connections are now available to more than 17 million homes, up by 4.6 million from 2022.

That was one of the key findings from the regulator’s annual Connected Nations report, which details the availability of broadband and mobile services in the UK, including the rollout of full fibre and 5G.

For the first time, full fibre broadband is available to more than half of homes in all four UK nations. It’s most widely available in Northern Ireland, where more than nine in 10 homes (91 per cent) can get full fibre.

Of the homes and businesses that can access full fibre, only 28 per cent have taken it up, with 4.6 million premises now connected. Additionally, take-up in rural areas is almost double that of urban homes (49 per cent vs 25 per cent).

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s network and communications group director, said, “The rapid rise in availability of full fibre broadband is good news for people and businesses across the UK, with millions more able to benefit from fast, reliable and future-proof internet.

“When the time comes to take out a new broadband contract, we encourage people to shop around and find out what options are available to make sure they are on the best package for their needs.”

There were also fewer homes and businesses unable to access ‘decent’ broadband in the last year, decreasing by more than a quarter (27 per cent) to 61,000 premises.

At the same time, the availability of 5G continues to grow, with estimated coverage provided outside of premises by at least one operator of more than 85 per cent – a rise on last year’s 67 per cent. 5G traffic has also grown by around 140 per cent, accounting for around 17 per cent of all mobile traffic.

Mobile network operators are starting to switch off their 3G networks, with EE, Vodafone and Three planning to follow suit next year followed by Virgin Media O2 in 2025. There are still around 2.4 million devices that are reliant on 2G or 3G networks, which has more than halved from last year’s estimated 5.5 million.