Independent network full-fibre coverage grows 50% during past year

Updated independent network operator report from Point Topic and INCA

New INCA and Point Topic survey finds industry has achieved a 50% growth from the previous year and expects the number to rise to 2.4 million in 2020

Point Topic has compiled a report for INCA – the Independent Networks Cooperative Association – to provide an overview of the UK’s independent network operator sector as of end-2019 and early 2020 in terms of scale, coverage, ambitions and concerns.

As in the previous two years the report includes both fixed and fixed wireless network operators.  This year, however, we have changed our approach and no longer include ‘addressable premises’ for fixed infrastructure, focusing instead just on ‘premises passed’. This has meant a revision of our previous years’ numbers and has resulted in what we believe is a more realistic view of the market.

Key findings include:

  • The UK’s independent operators are estimated to have passed 1.2 million premises with fixed superfast or ultrafast broadband networks at end-2019
  • This represents over 50 per cent growth year-on-year, compared with 23 per cent last year
  • The majority uses ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises or home (FTTP/H) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) technology
  • Fixed wireless access (FWA) networks are estimated to cover over 2.3 million premises (although line of sight issues mean coverage is difficult to assess)
  • This means in total the UK’s independent operators are estimated to pass or cover 3.5 million premises.

“The independent network operator sector has seen some fantastic growth from last year,” said Annelise Berendt, Principal Associate at Point Topic. “It is clear from the report that independent operators are playing a significant role in helping the UK government reach their full-fibre targets.”

The full report can be found on the INCA website.