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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Speiser

Research Round-up May 2023

INCA and Point Topic's Annual Metrics for the UK Independent Network Sector Report 2023; UK network coverage - 2.5m premises can choose between 2 or more independent fibre ISPs; Q1 2023 UK retail ISP and network operators market analysis; Global Broadband Tariff Benchmark Report, Q4 2022; UK telecoms sector updates; ISP news; government and Ofcom updates

Point Topic’s key publications of the month:

INCA/PT Annual UK Independent Network Sector Report 2023

Key findings

Altnets full fibre networks covered 25% of the UK, as well as 25% of the UK’s harder-to-reach rural areas at the end of 2022 (Figure 1), connections increased by 48% year-on-year to reach over 1.5m, and investment and expenditure within the sector are expected to reach £24bn by 2030.

  • Altnet operators had passed 8.2 million premises with fibre by the end of 2022. This is approximately 25% of UK premises

  • 2.3 million of these premises were in Area 3, meaning that Altnets have delivered full-fibre connectivity to a quarter of UK premises in hard-to-reach areas

  • There are 1.5 million live connections (48% growth year-on-year) to independent fixed networks provided by full fibre gigabit-capable connections

  • Combined Altnet full fibre network footprints covering cities, towns, and villages across the UK now rival that of Openreach’s 10 million premises (Figure 2)

  • Investment and expenditure in the independent network sector continued throughout 2022 with an estimated additional £6 billion having been committed to network expansions and operations during the year

  • Estimated planned CAPEX spend by Altnets until the end of 2030 at over £24.2 billion is higher than that of BT Group’s (Openreach) £15 billion and Nexfibre’s (a joint venture between Liberty Global, Telefónica and InfraVia Capital Partners) £4.5 billion combined.

Figure 1. Altnets UK fixed network nationwide coverage areas and Altnet coverage in Ofcom’s Area 3 (harder to reach rural) areas, February 2023.
Figure 1. Altnets UK fixed network nationwide coverage areas and Altnet coverage in Ofcom’s Area 3 (harder to reach rural) areas, February 2023.

Figure 2. Comparison of independent network providers’ and Openreach’s gigabit-capable full fibre evolution, 2020–2022
Figure 2. Comparison of independent network providers’ and Openreach’s gigabit-capable full fibre evolution, 2020–2022

Read our free analysis here or download the report in full here.

UK premises passed in Q1 2023: 2.5m can choose between 2 or more independent fibre ISPs

Key findings

Tracking the progress between the end of December 2022 and the end of March 2023, the analysis is based on the ThinkPoint broadband availability dataset which includes 1.7m postcodes[1]. More granular, postcode-level broadband availability updates by ISP and technology, are available to our ThinkPoint customers.

  • The FTTP coverage was 50% or higher in 39% of local authorities (LAs), up from 31% of LAs three months earlier.

  • During Q1 2023, 29 local authorities saw 10%+ growth in the percentage of their premises passed with FTTP networks. East Renfrewshire, Staffordshire Moorlands and East Dunbartonshire, topped the charts with +19.4%, +17.6% and +16.8% increase in premises covered by FTTP.

  • Across the UK, more than 1.6m premises could choose between three independent fibre ISPs. These figures were up from 1m premises we recorded in December 2022.

  • Bournemouth, Aberdeen and West Northamptonshire saw the largest number of new FTTP premises passed by three providers.

  • Across the UK, 2.5m premises had access to two or more independent fibre providers at the end of March 2023, compared to 2.1m in December 2022.

Read our free analysis piece here and the complete dataset used to produce this analysis is part of our ThinkPoint service which involves UK Broadband Mapping at postcode level. For more information check our UK Mapping page.

BDUK Project Gigabit Update

On 10 May, BDUK announced that it had awarded Freedom Fibre Phase 1b’s Lot 25.02 Shropshire contract. The three-year contract is worth £24 million with construction due to commence in February 2024 with properties expected to be ready for service by October 2024. Build locations include North Shropshire including Cockshutt, Hinstock, High Ercall, Bomere Heath, Hadnall, Cheswardine and Clive and ultimately aims to cover around 12,200 premises.

On 30 and 31 May, BDUK published its findings for two Public Reviews – Lot 12 Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes and Lot 14 Dorset and South Somerset.

For Lot 12, BDUK identified 75,278 Gigabit White Premises (where no commercial rollout is likely to take place over the next three years). The regional supplier procurement stage took place between January – February 2023 with the formal award of the contract being announced between October – December 2023. BDUK identified 19,681 Gigabit White premises in Lot 14, with the procurement stage for regional suppliers having begun in May and the contract due to be awarded between January – March 2024.

Other key telecom sector news items from the month can be found below.

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 Q2 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 these particular publications.


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