Half the UK can now receive 1Gbps broadband

Optical fiber
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Half of all UK premises now have access to gigabit broadband, according to new figures from ThinkBroadband, a dramatic increase from the 6% that received the fastest available speeds back in 2019.

The percentage translates to 15 million homes and businesses and has largely been driven by Virgin Media O2’s gigabit rollout a well as investments by Openreach and others in (FTTP) technology.

Virgin Media has now connected 10 million properties to its fastest speeds and plans to cover its entire 16 million footprint by the end of the year. It too is looking at FTTP in the future and by 2028, the entirety of its network could be capable of 10Gbps ‘symmetrical’ upload and download speeds.

UK gigabit broadband 

Openreach has connected more than 4.5 million premises to its FTTP network and the eventual aim is to reach 20 million premises by the end of the decade.

“We are pleased to see the UK break through the 50 per cent mark for gigabit availability across the UK and if existing plans from providers come to fruition we are looking at 65 to 68 per cent gigabit coverage in early 2022,” said Andrew Ferguson, Think Broadband editor.

“The next few years are going to be transformative for the UK broadband market with the many full fibre networks being built and we look forward to mapping all of them and ensuring the public can easily see what their broadband options are.”

The government has pledged £5 billion to bring gigabit broadband to areas that won’t be covered by commercial deployments. This will be achieved through both fibre and other technologies like 5G. However only £1 billion of this funding will be allocated during this parliament.

Its target is for 85% coverage by 2025. 

“We’ve passed the halfway point in our national mission to level up the UK with lightning-fast gigabit broadband,” said Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who was reported last week.

“Millions of people can now access the fastest, most reliable internet connections, allowing them full advantage of new technologies over the next forty years.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.