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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Speiser

Research Round-up December 2023


Key publication of the month:


Broadband Forecasts – 2023 Q3 update



Thinkpoint (a joint product from Point Topic and thinkbroadband, that includes all postcode outputs for availability, operators and ISPs by postcode and technology and take-up and forecasting) updated our broadband forecasts, including new methodologies for postcode level in the UK.

They fall into two categories.  Premises passed, how many home plus business premises a deployer/operator has ready and lit for service; and Operator/ISP footprints which track where we expect each of them to deploy to next by postcode.

Premises passed

With (as of writing) almost 60% of the UK with at least one FTTP option and almost 80% with gigabit access available the frantic last few years have meant significant changes to the UKs coverage with more to come.

The pace of that change and how it relates to the targets that the companies and indeed government have announced is where we produce one set of our forecasts.

Compound outputs

One view is to sum all the operators present in a postcode to give a general measure of what is expected locally.

Previous models naturally predict multiple operators present in a postcode.  There were instances with postcodes with up to 6 operators.  This latest version has postcodes with up to 10 operators present in a postcode.

While this may seem unrealistic and is not sustainable in reality, it is a consequence of the number of companies deploying in the UK and the updates to the models reflecting early (relative) avoidance of overbuild.

Overall, the UK is heading for 30 million plus premises with one or more gigabit suppliers before the end of the decade.  Real pressure on operators will kick in from 2027 as we see more and more instances where there are more than 4 operators projected in a postcode.

Operator footprints – postcode predictions

This category of forecasts uses several variables to arrive at a score that rates each postcode according to how ‘attractive’ it is to a particular operator.

In order to understand where and when an operator will deploy we use the following:


This builds an ‘attractiveness’ score for each UK postcode for each operator in the analysis. The last two elements make this score unique for each operator.

We also use external sources, for example the roadworks databases, to check if an operator has made an application or plans to dig in an area. The model output provides an individual operator forecast and can be aggregated to provide a compound forecast that counts the number of operators present in a postcode at time in 6 month increments to 2030.

Individual operator footprints

This approach allows us to publish expected postcodes for each operator.  Subject to the limitations of our input data we can review each operator over time.


The image below represents our forecasted gigabit capable full fibre footprint by 2030 for rural ISP, Gigaclear.  For the complete time series animation of Gigaclear’s actual and predicted FTTP footprint between 2020 to 2030 see here. 


We can also review how they interact and where there will be less or more competition.

This version of the model forecasts that Gigaclear will face the following competition at the end of 2026, by postcode count.

Similar outputs can be generated for each operator as well as sub setting the lists to review which combination of Operators will be where.  For example Gigaclear will face Zzoomm in 537 postcodes by the end of 2026.

Read the complete article in our free analysis here.  This is an update to our forecasts from December 2022 - these will now be updated quarterly.  If you are currently a subscriber contact us for details and deliverables.

Full data outputs are available to Thinkpoint subscribers.  See the product page for more details.


Building Digital UK (BDUK) Project Gigabit progress update, December 2023

BDUK published its quarterly progress update report on 15 December and the key points can be found below.

Key points

  • 16 procurement contracts in place representing £2bn investment with aim of reaching 1.1m hard to reach premises with gigabit capable broadband.

  • Since September 2023, signed four regional and local contracts including in North East Staffordshire, North Oxfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Derbyshire; representing £76m in investment aiming to cover 33k premises.

  • Added potential Project Gigabit procurements in Scotland and Northern Ireland to the procurement pipeline which will cover up to 160k premises.

  • Published three evaluation and research reports looking at the impacts, costs and benefits of our legacy programmes; published its first Annual Report and Accounts on 21 November.

  • BDUK’s performance report stated that 146k (90%) of premises passed in 2022-2023 were in ‘rural areas, with 61% (99,300) of premises covered by subsidies only had previous access to sub-superfast connections.

  • Across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 68,100 premises gained access to gigabit capable connectivity through publicly-funded delivery.

  • More than 108k Gigabit Vouchers have been awarded to fund gigabit capable connections.

The growth of gigabit capable broadband coverage across government regions and the devolved nations since August 2021 can be found below.

Key December telecoms sector news

BT Group News

Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) News

CityFibre (CF) News

Independent Operators (AltNets) News

Other News

If you are a subscriber to UK Plus, sign-in here to access our UK Plus content where you can view our updated Q4 2023 profiles of the UK’s leading internet service providers, as well as our annual overview of the country’s broadband market.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about UK Plus or particular publications.




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