The drive to bring full fibre broadband to the whole country is continuing, with the service now available to over four million UK homes.
Data from the latest Ofcom Connected Nations report shows that more than 14% of homes across the country - some 4.2 million - now have the option to buy gigabit-capable broadband. That's an increase of 2% since the start of the year, and 4% from a year ago.
This growth, along with the continued expansion of Virgin Media's cable network, means that 57% of the country now has access to "ultrafast" broadband, which can deliver speeds of 300Mb or more.
The picture is not consistent across the four nations of the UK, however. While 59% of homes in England can get ultrafast broadband, the same level of service is only available to 34% in Wales. Around 95% of the UK can access superfast broadband, with speeds over 30Mb. This is unchanged over the last year.
The figures break down like this:
|Access to full fibre broadband||Sept 2019||Jan 2020||Sept 2020|
|Access to ultrafast broadband||Sept 2019||Jan 2020||Sept 2020|
While there have been big improvements in the availability of the fastest broadband services, there are still considerable areas where the broadband options are very poor. As it stands, 2% of UK homes don't have access to even 10Mb internet (and in some cases it will be a lot lower than that). This figure reaches 6% in Northern Ireland.
|Unable to access 10Mb broadband||Sept 2019||Jan 2020||Sept 2020|
The good news is that these regions are likely to be eligible for the government's new universal service obligation (USO). Launched in March, this aims to ensure that everyone will be able to access internet with speeds of at least 10Mb.
This doesn't come in the form of an automatic upgrade. Instead, customers can make a request to BT to see if they're eligible. If they are, and the cost of upgrading the network comes to £3400 or less, then it will happen without them needing to pay anything. If the cost comes to over £3400, then the customer will have to pay the excess if they want the work to go ahead. It isn't a quick process, though. The work should be complete within 12 months, but could take as long as two years.
If you're in a remote area with poor broadband coverage, take a look at our rural broadband guide to see what your options are.
To see if full fibre or ultrafast broadband are available where you live, use our postcode checker to see what services you can upgrade to.