UK broadband: full fibre soon expected to reach half of UK homes

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In a recent report, it was announced that the UK's 'full fibre' coverage will reach 50% of UK properties at some point in March. This is according to the latest data from the telecoms regulator Ofcom, and it is of course positive news for consumers who are looking to upgrade to faster broadband speeds. 

The previous Ofcom update in September 2022 showed that 42% of UK homes could access full fibre. But with internet service providers continuing to improve their respective networks since this point, the growth forecasts suggest we could be just days away from officially passing the 50% threshold. These growth forecasts also show us that ISPs are well on the way to meeting the 80% coverage target that's set for some point in the next two years. 

To give some perspective with this, we only need to go back five years to see how far we've come, as back then nationwide full fibre coverage was just 6%. Thankfully, this increased coverage means consumers also have a greater amount of choice when it comes to broadband tariffs. To see exactly what's available in your area, head over to our best broadband deals page. 

What is 'Full Fibre'?

'Full fibre' refers to 'fibre to the premises' or 'FTTP' broadband. This is where a fibre optic cable is installed directly from the nearest broadband exchange cabinet and runs directly into your property. With this cable, you can then access 'full fibre' speeds of up to 1,000Mbps. 

The standard broadband setup is known as 'fibre to cabinet' or 'FTTC', and as you might have guessed, involves a fibre cable going only to the broadband exchange, with your network connection then running along your copper telephone wires. Due to this, you can then only get broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps via these copper wires. 

'Gigabit-capable broadband' coverage is also making strides

In a separate related report by ISPreview, that looks at the bigger picture with the improvements to the UK's broadband infrastructure, the situation looks even better.

This is because if we consider the wider 'gigabit-capable' network beyond just full fibre, the network coverage is in fact above 70%. This is because it includes Virgin Media's own 'Hybrid Fibre Coax' cabling, which can also bring speeds of over 1,000Mbps into properties. 

The same report suggests that 'all this FTTP build progress reflects Openreach’s £15bn rollout programme'. It also highlights how 'smaller Alternative Network (AltNet) providers (e.g. CityFibre, Hyperoptic, CommunityFibre etc.) are also expected to reach 11.5m homes by the end of 2023'. 

When can I get full fibre?

As we've alluded to above, there's more choice than ever with broadband packages and if you want to know if you can get full fibre, simply check out our best broadband deals page, or enter your postcode into our widget below.

Either of these options will give you an idea of what broadband is available to you, but you can also check this directly with your chosen provider as and when you look to sign up for your new full fibre deal.

If it's the case that you can't access these speeds yet, you can register your interest with different providers to get updates about when the rollout will be happening near you.

Richard Hart

Rich is a freelance copywriter and content strategist with over 10 years' experience. His career has seen him work in-house and in various agencies, producing online and offline content marketing campaigns and copywriting for clients in the energy industry.