Forecasting ultrafast broadband in the UK – update

Coverage by technology and postcode to 2025 - Update

The most recent postcode data from Point Topic tracks ultrafast technologies and the upstream and downstream bandwidth they enable in the UK with annual outputs to 2025. Data layers combined with geographic demography enables Point Topic to establish what we believe will happen to broadband in the UK well into the next decade.

Download methodology overview

Point Topic has updated its coverage forecasts for the UK. Small changes in methodology and new input, announcements and progress since September 2016 have been included but broad assumptions remain the same:

1. Project Lightning will pass 4 million premises by the end of the decade – we’ve added what we’ve seen and done some moving around but at the moment it isn’t a significant shift. Depending on the next few quarters this could of course change.

2. FTTP from BT will pass 2 million premises focused on business coverage however the increased enthusiasm for FTTP deployments and investment has meant an increase in the medium term and is likely to be adjusted upwards again in our next forecast versions.

3. (BT) Openreach have added just over 100 new exchanges to the NGA list in the last six months. We have also noted the technologies listed as ‘available’, although certainly not every premises in an exchange is passed by a service listed.

4. Post Brexit remains uncertain although recent announcements and consultations mean that we expect more clarity next year

5. has also been delayed. Initial discussion and reference to (Sept 2016) of 100k premises passed by Q117 have not been repeated. We assume around 100k premises passed as at end 17.

6. While investment in the altnets has been ramping up and more networks are expected to grow (CityFibre in particular) we are expecting increasing overbuild after the earlier stages of FTTP deployment.

Updates to FTTP, cable and expected footprints

We have pushed cable back a small amount to reflect the issues and progress that Virgin have faced. Tracking their digs and reviewing the correlations with infill as opposed to new build we have projected that they will focus on the quick wins and higher values first. However as recently as May 2017 they reasserted their expectation to add 4 million premises passed to their footprint by the end of the decade.

virgin media digs

Virgin Media digs tracked – H1 2017

Openreach and the altnets continue to build and Cityfibre in particular have had successful fund raising rounds. Much of the impact will be in areas already likely to have high bandwidth coverage already or forecast to. Smaller operators like Gigaclear will grow will likely achieve more than million premises passed by the end of the decade.

The Government has announced a number of initiatives for FTTP in particular The Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund and our report here DIIF: unlocking funding for full fibre networks the Local Full Fibre Networks Programme. You can see more on the LFFN as well as other funding sources as part of BDUK and beyond and for more detail there’ more on LFFN and 5G –

This has meant that the ‘altnets’, in particular CityFibre, will have increase their coverage in the short to medium term while BT are already reporting subscribers for the 300Mbps FTTP tariff. Post 2020 for fibre is less certain but could be higher than we’re currently projecting.

ultrafast and altnets (2)


Altnets – latest deployments (h217) has been pushed back and is where we have made the most adjustments to our expectations in terms of technologies and deployment timing. Although we’re still holding BT to their word for 2020, as you can see in the table below we do expect deployment to be compressed and later to market in a number of areas than previously.

This results in the following picture of premises covered delta between the 3_1 and 3_5 versions:

premises covered

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This analysis is taken from Point Topic’s postcode level modelling and forecasting. More details and outputs available on request.

The outputs are associate with Point Topic’s UK Broadband Mapping and UK Plus services.

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