One third of UK households can now receive full fibre

(Image credit: Openreach)

The number of households connected to full fibre broadband increased by a half in the past 12 months, with more than a third now able to access speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Ofcom’s ‘Connected Nations’ autumn update says 37% of homes are now covered, up from 24%.

Meanwhile, the number of properties unable to get a ‘decent’ standard of broadband as described by the universal service obligation (USO) has fallen by 38% to 83,000. Ofcom says 66,000 of these are not earmarked for upgrades in the next 12 months and are therefore eligible for the USO.

Ultrafast broadband

When all network technologies are taken into account, two thirds of households can now receive gigabit broadband. 

Openreach has so far connected seven million homes to full fibre, while all 15.8 million properties connected to Virgin Media O2’s network can receive 1Gbps via a combination of fibre to the premise (FTTP) and cable technology. 

Openreach plans to reach 25 million properties by 2025, while Virgin Media O2 looking to roll out FTTP across its infrastructure by 2028 and find a partner for a joint-venture that will connect a further seven million properties by 2027. CityFibre’s target is 8 million by 2025.

Some within the industry fear rollout could be delayed by a labour shortage – something that the government is said to be concerned about too. Accordingly, it has suggested it could be prepared to relax visa rules for skilled broadband engineers from the EU.

Others have also expressed concerns about takeup, believing more should be done to promote the benefits of full fibre technology over copper-based products.

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.