Ofcom has published its latest ‘Connected Nations’ update, in which it reports that more than 12.4 million premises, or 42% of the UK total, had access to full fibre broadband as of end-September 2022, with around 4.3 million premises having gained access to the technology since September 2021. Of further note, the regulator noted that access to gigabit-speed services has continued to climb, reaching 71% at 30 September 2022 (20.8 million premises), up from 47% (13.7 million) a year earlier, with significant growth being driven both by the continued rollout of full fibre broadband by ‘many’ network operators, and Virgin Media’s now completed DOCSIS3.1 upgrade programme.
At the other end of the scale, Ofcom noted that there remains a small number of premises that are still unable to obtain a ‘decent’ broadband connection – defined as one offering 10Mbps downlink and 1Mbps uplink speeds. According to the regulator’s most recent data, as of 30 September 2022 around 80,000 premises still lacked such access, although this was down from 123,000 twelve months previously, with the reduction attributed to factors such as the increased number of smaller fibre network and fixed wireless access (FWA) providers, and the increasing rollout of some publicly funded schemes.
Ofcom’s update also offered up its findings with regards to 5G network deployments, reporting that the availability of the next generation of mobile broadband technology continues to grow ‘rapidly’. As per Ofcom’s data, it said that the ‘level of [5G] coverage provided outside of premises by at least one mobile network operator (MNO)’ had risen from between 42%-57% in 2021 to 67%-77% in 2022.