Independent network sector investment and coverage – September 2023 update
In partnership with INCA, Point Topic carried out its annual independent network sector survey in February 2023 and published its findings in the annual ‘Metrics for the UK independent network sector’ report in May. Since the publication of the report, we have continued to see strong interest and engagement from the investment community in the UK’s independent network sector. We have gathered together the main financial-related announcements since June 2023. It is important to note these do not cover the entire sector:
Over £600 million worth of private funding related to the sector was announced from June to September 2023
These figures are on top of an estimated £5.929 billion of private investment-related announcements already made in the sector until the end of 2024, bringing the total to over £6.555 billion.
A number of smaller operators with fixed and FWA networks taking part in our survey this year noted their capex plans for the current financial year (2022/23) and the next financial year (2023/24). We also requested estimated capital expenditure from now until the end of 2030.
We have added additional estimates to those figures collected through the survey for investment by independent network operators based on public announcements over time. Table 1 provides a summary.
It is important to note that these figures do not represent the whole sector. We also note that the figures provided and public announcements made are projected capital investments.
Note: Figures cover only part of the sector
Source: Operators taking part in INCA surveys 2022 and 2023; public announcements
Operational expenditure will also expand to meet the requirements of larger networks and more customers. From survey inputs and public statements, we are projecting an OPEX spend of around £4.045 billion up to 2030 for the fixed full fibre independent operators.
A short summary of selected financial-related announcements is detailed in Table 2 below. Earlier announcements can be found in our previous report for INCA, Metrics for the UK independent network sector.
Point Topic’s latest UK fixed broadband availability report, stated that at the close of Q2 2023, more than 1.7m premises in 76K postcodes could choose between three independent ﬁbre ISPs. These ﬁgures were up from 1.6m premises and 73K postcodes we recorded in March 2023.
The number of premises passed by two independent ﬁbre providers at the end of Q2 2023 grew to 597K, compared to 511K three months earlier.
At the national level, 2.65m UK premises had access to two or more independent ﬁbre providers at the end of June 2023, compared to 2.46m in March 2023. Of the larger independent fibre providers (covering more 100k premises) that we tracked the total number of retail (consumer), ready for service, or lit premises has reached 7.5m premises, having added 843k in Q2 2023 (Table 3).