More than half of UK homes can now access full-fibre

Ofcom reveals 42% rise in full-fibre access in past year, now reaching a record 17m UK homes 

The latest Connected Nations report from communications regulator Ofcom provides details on the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK. This includes progress updates on the roll-out of gigabit-capable and fixed full-fibre broadband as well as mobile 5G networks. There’s a UK-wide report and separate reports detailing services in the four nations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

green and brown floral textile

Photo by Michael Dziedzic

The headline figure is the huge surge in UK access to full-fibre broadband, up 42% on last year to a total of 57% of all UK homes – the first time the figure has exceeded half of all homes. The report breaks this down by nation: a massive 91% of homes in Northern Ireland have access to full-fibre services, followed by England at 56%, Wales at 55% and Scotland at 53%. 

In total, some 17m homes have access to full-fibre broadband, and some 4.6m have already taken up such a service. Overall, 28% of homes and businesses that can access full-fibre have done so; 49% of those in rural areas as opposed to 25% in urban settings. 

As well as offering faster internet speeds than copper cabling, full-fibre is also more reliable and resilient, and Ofcom cites evidence that it even results in fewer faults. 

Meanwhile, 78% of residential homes across the UK can now access the faster, gigabit-capable broadband (92% in Northern Ireland, 78% in England, 72% in Scotland and 64% in Wales). The faster upload and download speeds enabled by such networks make for better online experiences in video calling, working from home and gaming, etc. 

Some 42,000 UK customers are also connected to Starlink satellite broadband, up from 13,000 last year. Again, the majority of take-up for this service is in rural areas. 

Access to 5G mobile has also seen a significant increase, with 85% of the UK able to access such services from at least one operator – up from 67% last year. 5G traffic is also up 140% on last year, and now comprises some 17% of all mobile use in the UK. 

Lindsey Fussell, Network and Communications Group Director at Ofcom, says: ‘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.’ 

In related news:

Gigabit roll-out in Wales exceeds target by 112% 

Small cells to boost mobile capacity in London 

Generation Z drives early adoption of Gen AI, says Ofcom 


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