Full-fibre broadband in 8 million UK homes?

The Latest OFCOM Report on UK Broadband Availability - Comment


On December 16th, 2021 OFCOM published it’s latest report on how UK Fixed Broadband coverage – or “roll-out” – is progressing. According to the Article (reproduced below) 8 million homes in the UK can now theoretically enjoy full fibre – the fastest type of fixed broadband. Less than 2 million Homes have actually got full fibre installed. For the first time, the OFCOM also report on 5G coverage (the fastest mobile or wireless broadband) and claim that approximately half of the UK can now access 5G.

Comment on Full Fibre Rollout

Whilst I would not argue with the figures or the claimed broadband coverage – both of which look impressive – the  more interesting information concerns the “take-up”.

According to the report, if full fibre is now connected to 2 million Homes (presumably mostly city based) then 6 million customers have not upgraded, which means that there is a huge market available to the various broadband salesmen and resellers.

Along with this opportunity comes a big requirement for resellers to educate the customer – after all, many UK Homeowners are quite happy with their existing ADSL for internet browsing etc and have no requirement or desire to download or stream Videos and Films or take part in online Gaming, both of which would need full-fibre speeds.

And many have not as yet given any thought to the ramifications of the BT switch off, the most important being the loss of their traditional phone line.

Here are some of the reasons why Homeowners may resist upgrading:

  • Price – unless there is an immediate cost benefit, any decisions will be delayed. 
  • Inertia/Resistance to Change – the majority of customers are happy with the status quo and need valid reasons or imminent deadlines to change
  • Education – if they are unaware of the advantages of upgrading their Broadband
  • Age – many older customers have a natural resistance to new technology
  • No Necessity – where broadband data usage is minimal (e.g. single occupancy)

Where Better Broadband is Really Needed – 123,000 Homes

The OFCOM report also mentions that around 123,000 homes 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. However, orders have been placed under the Government’s universal broadband service that will result in around 6,500 households being connected to full-fibre broadband, and thousands more are expected to benefit from this scheme and others”. 


I would urge any reader who is unhappy with his Home Broadband Service to check out the Universal Broadband Service . Or to contact an Independent Broadband Broker – here is a helpful Video with the names of some recommended Brodband Broker Services.

For information on Fixed Broadband in the UK, choices available and technical terms simply explained, I recommend this website.

Comment on 5G Rollout

The same OFCOM Report states: “We estimate that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator.” 

Again I would not dispute the figures, but I would point out that the key word in this statement is “outside”, meaning outside the Home.

Most consumers would want to use their Broadband inside the Home, and this is where 5G coverage deteriorates rapidly. The strongest 5G signal – and therefore the higher speeds – are available only with (1) “line of sight” to a suitable mast and (2) no impediment, such as trees or property walls or structures in the vicinity. Although it is possible to construct an outside antenna, which connects by cable to a wireless router inside the Home, this does add to the installation costs of the service.

However I am a big fan of Wireless Broadband, which has other advantages over Fixed Broadband and can be cheaper in the long run. I recommend this site for further information on 5G.


There is no doubt that rapid progress is being made in Full Fibre roll out and 5G Broadband, but to improve the “take-up” new customers will need to be properly educated and informed – either by OFCOM, Independent Broadband Advisers and Brokers and Company Salesmen. And if you are a potential Broadband customer, make sure you are aware of the Community Fibre companies operating in your Home Town or Area: these Broadband providers are normally independent, and can offer special deals.

The Full OFCOM news release is published below.

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Festive movie favourites in less than a minute – full fibre reaches 8m homes

Telecoms infrastructure
  • Full-fibre broadband now available to more than 8 million homes, as rollout accelerates
  • Millions have already boosted their broadband, but many others yet to take advantage
  • Decent broadband at highest-ever level, but more to do to reach remaining 123k homes
  • Around half of the properties in the UK are now in an area with outdoor 5G coverage

Fast, reliable internet connections are now available to more people than ever before, allowing millions of families to download their favourite Christmas movie in less than a minute.

With many people across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland currently working from home, Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations reports on the availability of broadband and mobile services across the UK.

Growth of full-fibre broadband availability in the UK. More than 8 million homes (28%) can now get full-fibre broadband.

It reveals that the rollout of future-proof, full-fibre technology is accelerating at its fastest ever rate. More than 8 million homes (28%) can now get full-fibre broadband – an increase of 3 million properties in the last year.

In 2021, 750,000 homes upgraded to faster, more reliable full-fibre services, taking the number of properties connected to nearly two million. But these homes still represent less than a quarter (24%) of those to which full-fibre upgrades are available.

With 7.4 million broadband customers out of contract and likely to be paying higher prices for slower speeds, many households could upgrade to a discounted full fibre package without paying more than they currently do.

Why would I need full fibre?

Full-fibre connections – along with upgraded cable networks – can deliver download speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s[1], which could be particularly beneficial over the Christmas period when data use increases. At this speed, families with full-fibre services could download Christmas film favourite Elfin High-Definition in less than a minute, compared with around 25 minutes for those with superfast broadband (30 Mbit/s).

On a decent (10 Mbit/s) connection, it would take around 1 hour and 15 minutes to download Elf. On a gigabit (1 Gbit/s) connection, it would take less than a minute.

Full fibre can better support data-hungry households where family members need to stream, work, game, video-call and study online at the same time. In a year when many people continue to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, average monthly data use grew to 453 GB per connection – more than treble the level of five years ago (132 GB).

Connecting the hardest to reach

Around 123,000 homes (0.4% of the UK) 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 an HD film.

The UK Government and governments in each of the UK nations continue to deliver projects aimed at making sure people in the hardest-to-reach areas can get the connections they need.

Since its launch in March 2020, orders have been placed under the Government’s universal broadband service that will result in around 6,500 households being connected to full-fibre broadband, and thousands more are expected to benefit from this scheme and others.

Many families now have multiple devices on the go at the same time for work, learning and entertainment – and the festive holidays can see a particular battle for bandwidth.

Full fibre is helping meet those demands, with millions more benefitting from faster speeds and more reliable connections. But some homes in hard-to-reach areas still struggle to get decent broadband, so there’s more work to do to make sure these communities get the connections they need.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Network and Communications Group Director

5G coverage revealed

The rollout of 5G mobile continues to make swift progress, and for the first time we have published 5G coverage data.

We estimate that around half of UK properties are in areas where 5G is available outside from at least one mobile network operator. Take-up of 5G-enabled handsets has increased substantially, from just 800,000 last year to more than six million in 2021.

Although doubling in the last year, 5G traffic still accounts for a relatively small proportion of overall mobile data traffic at 3 per cent, with 4G remaining the dominant technology at 91 per cent.

Overall, mobile data consumption increased by 37% in the last year.

Notes to editors

  1. By September 2021, Gigabit-capable broadband was available to 13.7 million homes (47%). This includes full-fibre and upgraded cable networks that are capable of delivering download speeds of 1Gbit/s or higher. This figure has since further increased following Virgin Media O2 completing the upgrade of its network.
  2. We estimate that 5G is available from at least one mobile network operator in the vicinity of 42-57% of premises. The range is based on the information provided to us by operators and informed by our own measurement work.
  3. An interactive version of the report, also published today, allows people to look up how coverage compares in their area.
  4. The International Broadband Scorecard compared broadband availability and take-up across 17 different nations.
  5. Improving your wifi experience
  6. Estimated download speeds used in the Elf graphic are indicative

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2 thoughts on “Full-fibre broadband in 8 million UK homes?”

  1. Bit of a con/trick the way the ISPs refer to it as “available in 90% of the UK” – definitely doesn’t mean the same 90% of UK households. Wish Ofcom would clamp down on this next! Here’s hoping…

    1. Hi John. Thanks for the comment. You are right in that the ISPs are referring to a geographical area rather than individual households. I am not sure whether this constitutes a “con trick” because the argument would be that the coverage areas probably contain 90% of the households. By all means mention it to OFCOM – they are very “consumer orented”

All serious comments replied to the same day !