1.4m extra homes added to full fibre networks, Ofcom report finds

1.4m extra homes added to full fibre networks, Ofcom report finds

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Availability of ultrafast and full fibre broadband services throughout the UK is continuing to grow at a decent pace, but more work still needs to be done to connect rural areas, a new report from Ofcom has found.

The 2019 edition of the regulator's annual Connected Nations report revealed around one in ten homes throughout the UK now has access to full fibre broadband, while more than half of homes can now receive ultrafast services, which are defined as those offering speeds of at least 300Mbps.

The figure for full-fibre connectivity marks a significant increase from the six per cent recorded in 2018, meaning 1.4 million more homes have been connected to these networks in the past 12 months.

However, the report also highlighted where gaps remain in the UK's provision of broadband, with rural areas still less well-served than urban and suburban parts of the country. Around ten per cent of rural properties fall below Ofcom's minimum standard, compared with just two per cent for the nation as a whole.

Around 610,000 properties are still unable to get a decent broadband connection of at least 10Mbps through a fixed-line connection, of which 449,000 are classed as rural. However, Ofcom noted many of these properties will be able to secure services via wireless broadband thanks to wider availability of 4G networks.

That leaves around 155,000 premises - around 0.5 per cent of total properties - that are likely to be eligible to request an improved services under the forthcoming Universal Service Obligation that comes into force from March 2020.

Yih-Choung Teh, strategy and research group director at Ofcom, said the past year has seen full fibre grow at its fastest rate ever, while the launch of 5G by all four major mobile networks offers even more options for high-speed connectivity.

However, he added: "Despite this good progress, there is more to do to bring all parts of the country up to speed - particularly rural areas. So we're working with industry and the government to help bring better services to people who need them."

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