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Full-Fibre Coverage Forecast to Hit 90% by 2025

Nine in 10 of UK premises will be connected to full-fibre (FTTP) broadband by 2025, according to a new report from Credit Suisse, which notes the “strong build momentum” behind the country’s full-fibre rollouts.

Currently, around 30% of UK addresses are reached by full-fibre broadband, which can deliver symmetrical upload and download speeds of more than 1Gbps and is future-proofed across forecasted increases in data consumption. Credit Suisse forecasts that this coverage will triple to 90% in just over three years.

At that date, BT’s Openreach will have passed 22 million premises, on its way to its target of 25 million by the end of 2026. 

Virgin Media (VMO2), intending to replace its entire footprint of cable broadband with full fibre by 2028, will have crested 10.5 million connections. 

Meanwhile, well-financed independent provider CityFibre will have reached 9.3 million addresses, while fellow alt network Hyperoptic will be on 3.7 million. Community Fibre, focusing on London, will have reached 1.1 million locations—a prediction made before the infrastructure provide last week upped its target to 2.2 million premises by the end of 2024.

Additionally, by 2025, Gigaclear will have passed 626,000 premises, while KCOM will have expanded its network to 410,000 premises, some of these outside its original market area of Hull in towns across East Yorkshire.

Accounting for overbuilding (where the same streets are reached by two or more full-fibre providers), that will take overall full-fibre coverage to 90%.

Notably, Credit Suisse is counting only full-fibre lines, not cable lines, 5G mobile networks, and fixed wireless that the government will include when it tries to boost “gigabit coverage” to 85% by 2025. Currently, gigabit broadband coverage stands at 65%, much of it delivered by Virgin Media, which just completed an upgrade that boosts speeds on its cable network to 1.1Gbps. 

There has been pessimism about the Prime Minister’s capacity to deliver even the watered down gigabit target—and certainly, the most difficult to reach 20% of premises may wait years for gigabit connections—but Credit Suisse is bullish on the future of ultrafast broadband in the UK. 

The investment bank characterises the UK as the world’s “most attractive market for incremental FTTH [FTTP] investment.” It attributes this to “strong Build Momentum and interest in superfast broadband as well as a large amount of small players offering FTTH (fragmented market) with little overbuild providing opportunity for competitive access pricing.”

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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