Superfast broadband coverage on the rise

A new study from Thinkbroadband has revealed that the coverage of superfast broadband networks across the UK has risen to 95.8 per cent in the second half of 2018, from 95.3 per cent at the beginning of the year.

Similarly, full-fibre (FTTP/H) connectivity has increased to 5.47 per cent of all premises in the country, as opposed to just 3.82 per cent in the first half of 2018’s financial year.

The improvement in coverage has largely been put down to commercial roll-outs from major providers, but 25-30 per cent of the remaining increases have been a result of £1.6 billion worth of public funding through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative.

BDUK has predicted that the UK could benefit from “at least” 98 per cent of superfast broadband coverage by 2020 if state-fuelled programmes, public funding and fresh ISP contracts continue to persist.

The remaining 2 per cent of premises with sub-par speeds below 24Mbps are expected to be catered to by Ofcom and the Government’s Universal Service Obligation (USO) which will give disadvantaged locations (often in rural areas) a guaranteed speed of at least 10Mbps.

Furthermore, the Government’s commitment to supporting the roll-out of full-fibre and ultrafast broadband networks of 100Mbps+ is being financed by hundreds of millions of pounds, with an estimated £200 million being dedicated to alternative networks to cater specifically to poorly connected rural locations.

As the focus shifts to rural areas instead of simply honing in on urban centres, it is no wonder that figures are edging towards the 98 per cent mark of UK-wide coverage.

Although there is a UK-wide drive towards achieving full broadband coverage in the coming years, it is worth noting that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have varying policies and objectives which all support the country’s central targets. For instance, Wales is working towards a goal of 30Mbps+ speeds for each property, whilst Scotland is attempting the very same by 2021.

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