Ofcom’s Connected Nations report has revealed that the rollout of full fibre broadband is accelerating at its fastest ever rate, with more than 8 million premises can now get full fibre broadband. This is an increase of 3 million properties in the last year and equates to 28 per cent of the UK.
In 2021, 750,000 homes upgraded to full fibre services, taking the number of properties connected to nearly two million. This represents less than a quarter (24 per cent) of those to which full fibre upgrades are available.
The annual report examines the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK. The researchers also found that around 123,000 premises 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. At this speed, it could take up to an hour and a half to download one HD film.
The report also found the rollout of 5G networks has made swift progress, and Ofcom has published 5G coverage data for the first time. The regulator estimates that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator. In addition, 5G-enabled handsets have increased substantially from 800,000 last year to more than six million in 2021.
5G traffic has doubled in the last year, and now accounts for 3 per cent of overall mobile data traffic. 4G remains the dominant technology, making up 91 per cent of overall mobile data traffic. Mobile data consumption as a whole increased by 37 per cent in the last year.
Mark Shurmer, managing director of regulatory affairs, Openreach, reacted to Ofcom’s findings. He said: “The building of full fibre to an additional three million homes in a single year is a significant milestone for the UK, and we’re proud to have delivered over three-quarters of that increase. Over eight million homes now have access to full fibre, but there’s much more to do.
“We’re fully focused on accelerating our own high quality build to four million per year, bringing the country’s most reliable broadband technology to 25 million premises and across urban and rural areas in equal measure. However, there remains around 12 million homes and businesses that could order a better broadband service over our network today. As always, we’d encourage people to check our website and discover what might be on offer in their area.”