• Veronica Speiser

Research Roundup June

INCA & Point Topic Annual Independent Sector Report, UK Q1 2022 Retail ISP and Network Operators Market Analysis, Global Fixed Broadband Take-up Forecasts to 2030, UK Digital Strategy plan, plus ISP, government, and Ofcom updates


Point Topic’s June publications featured the release of this year’s Metrics for the UK independent network sector report compiled for the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) by Point Topic using data provided by independent network operators. Point Topic also released our Q1 2022 UK retail ISPs and network operators market analysis report, which provides a detailed view into the UK retail ISP and wholesale network operator broadband sector at the close of the quarter. We have also published our Global Fixed Broadband Take-up Forecasts by Technology for up to 2030: Fibre Rules, which provides a detailed overview of broadband take-up by DSL, FTTH/P/B, FTTC/VDSL, Cable and other technologies (mostly WiMAX, other wireless and satellite) for the period between Q4 2021 and Q4 2030.


On 13 June, DCMS released its UK Digital Strategy which outlines a new single vision from to grow the digital economy whist addressing tech sector skills, investment, and infrastructure. Supporting the expansion of the digital economy, the government reports, could grow the UK tech sector’s annual GVA by an additional £41.5 billion by 2025, and create a further 678,000 jobs.


Ofcom introduced new rules for mobile, broadband, landline and pay-TV contracts. The new regulations state that telecoms providers must provide consumers with a short and simple summary of key information before signing up for a new contract, including clear examples of how any price increases will affect the price they pay. Individual mobile, broadband, landline and pay-TV contract summaries should be no longer than one page, with bundled contract summaries to run no more than three pages.


The new rules are designed to assist consumers during the cost-of-living crisis by helping consumers being caught out by surprise price rises. The summary must include key information about the speed of the service, price, and length of the contract. It also requires firms to set out the terms and conditions if a customer decides to end their contract early.

Key findings and overviews of Point Topic reports can be found below and on our free analysis section. Full reports and supporting statistical analyses are available via our UK Plus subscribers service, sign-in here to access our UK Plus content.


INCA Point Topic Annual ‘Metrics for the UK Independent Network Sector’ Report 2022

Compiled for the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) by Point Topic using data provided by independent network operators, this year’s Metrics for the UK independent network sector report shows that AltNets have increased their full fibre network footprints by 111% to reach 5.5 million homes and businesses throughout the UK with ambitions to pass around 11.6m premises by the end of the year. For the first time, AltNets are providing over 1m live connections with aims of increasing these to 10.3m by the end of 2025 (Figure 1).

Figure 1:  AltNets   FTTP Premises Passed and Connections. Source:   Point Topic.
Figure 1: AltNets FTTP Premises Passed and Connections. Source: Point Topic.

The independent network sector has again doubled in size since last year with operators continuing to be a draw for private investment firms.Investment and expenditure commitments by the independent network sector is expected to reach £17.7bn by 2025 (Figure 2).


Figure 2:   FTTP Network Investment until 2025. Source:  Point Topic.
Figure 2: FTTP Network Investment until 2025. Source: Point Topic.

The report also outlines operators’ concerns with the top two being planning and street works delays along with the threat of overbuild from other operators through Project Gigabit procurements. In joint third place are delivery times for services from Openreach or other operators (e.g. EAD circuits, PIA); getting wayleaves; and BDUK’s pause on community-led ISPs Gigabit Vouchers affecting current and future deployments. There have been shifts in concerns however, with the sector’s top concern last year, obtaining wayleaves moving slightly down the list. Given the unprecedented amount of investment in the sector, access to finance moved down to the bottom of the list this year.


Key Findings:

· AltNet fixed full fibre network infrastructure is expected to reach over 11.5m premises at the end of 2022 with an estimated 1.4m live connections, with 10.3m expected by end-2025.

· By 2025 infrastructure competition will be in full swing with full fibre investment by the major suppliers, AltNets and government funding expected to reach £36.7 billion.

· The UK is on track, for the first time in its history, to have real broadband infrastructure competition, offering consumers real choice and drive innovation.

· Openreach’s long-term FTTP pricing offer (Equinox) which could substantially help Openreach overbuild existing AltNet networks and impact their deployment plans, particularly regarding wholesale was in the top five of sector concerns.

· Access to qualified skills and labour, particularly post-Brexit, was viewed as a very significant challenge by 29% of operators compared to 10% in the previous year.

· Most survey respondents (72%) reported that they were at the start of the migration process for implementing Ofcom’s ‘One Touch Switch’ system due to come into effect in April 2023, compared to 8% who were ‘substantially ready’.


UK Q1 2022 Retail ISP and Network Operators Market Analysis

Point Topic released its UK fixed line retail and wholesale network operator Q1 2022 statistics and market analysis report. In Q1 2022, along with reporting key metrics for the largest providers, Point Topic began reporting data for an additional 14 independent retail ISPs that range in size, coverage areas and types of consumer accesses (i.e. fibre to the premises, multi-dwelling units).


Four 'other' retail ISPs have also been included as they either resell services via Openreach, CityFibre (or both) and TalkTalk and whose key metrics provide further insight into the growing competitive landscape of the wholesale reseller infrastructure sector.

New inclusions listed under Retail ISPs are: Broadband for Rural North (B4RN), Community Fibre, Fibrus, G.Network, Gigaclear, Glide, Hyperoptic, Manx Telecom, Quickline, Toob, Trooli, Truespeed, Wight Fibre, and Zen Internet. New inclusions listed under ‘other’ are: BrawBand, Giganet, IDNet, and Shell Energy.


Key Findings:

· Total Q1 2022 FTTP, FTTx, cable, FWA/satellite and DSL wholesale connections (Figure 3) stood at an estimated 29.1m, up from 29m Q-o-Q and 28.3m Y-o-Y; with retail connections reaching an estimated 29.2m during Q1 2022, up from 29m Q-o-Q and 28.4m at the close of Q1 2021.

· BT’s fixed broadband Consumer net additions dropped by 24k in Q1 2022, the first quarter since Q2 2020 for the incumbent to experience a decrease in subscriber numbers.

· Openreach’s FTTP base has grown by 263k quarter-on-quarter, their largest ever quarterly increase and stood at 1.771m in Q1 2022 up from 1.508m in Q4 2021 and 905k year-on-year.

· At the close of Q1 we estimate that just over 54 per cent of lines live on the Openreach FTTx network belong to non-BT service providers.

· Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) saw their fixed segment showing a reduction in numbers from the previous quarter with their broadband net adds down by 1,000 from just over 60k in the previous.

· We estimate CityFibre to have just under 1.4m premises Ready for Service out of 1.5m premises passed at the close of Q1 2022.

· Sky UK remains the dominant player in its European operations, however Sky saw 101k net broadband losses throughout its European market.

· We estimate independent operators FTTx (pre-dominantly FTTP/B) ISPs subscriber numbers reaching around 2.782m at the close of Q1 2022.


Figure 3:  Wholesale Network Connections by Technology.  Source:   Point Topic.
Figure 3: Wholesale Network Connections by Technology. Source: Point Topic.

Global Fixed Broadband Take-up Forecasts by Technology for up to 2030: Fibre Rules


The forecasts, which include data for the top 30 fixed broadband markets[1] and Rest of the World (ROW), are part of our Global Broadband Statistics (GBS) service. They are based on Point Topic’s extensive historical data on fixed broadband take up, the trends in subscriber churn for various broadband technologies, the size of the addressable market at country level, and current and planned network upgrades.


Our forecasts predict that at the end of 2030 there will be 1.6 billion fixed broadband subscribers worldwide compared to 1.27 billion in Q4 2021, up by 26%. Some 88 per cent of the fixed broadband subscribers will be in the top 30 broadband markets, ranked as such by the subscriber numbers recorded in Q4 2021.


We predict that by end-2030 some variant of fibre (FTTH/P/B) will be used by 75% of fixed broadband subscribers globally, compared to 62% in Q4 2021. In the same period, the share of DSL (ADSL) based subscriptions will drop from 10% to 4%, the share of cable – from 17.5% to 10%, while the shares of FTTC/VDSL based connections and of other technologies will remain largely stable at just above 8% and 2% respectively (Figure 4).


Figure 4:  Changes in broadband technology market   shares, 2011-2030. Source: Point Topic.
Figure 4: Changes in broadband technology market shares, 2011-2030. Source: Point Topic.

The complete forecast dataset is available to our GBS subscribers. Please get in touch if you are interested in subscribing to the service: isabelle.anderson@point-topic.com


Other key players announcements along with the month’s news round-up can be found below.

News Roundup

BT Group News

Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) News

CityFibre (CF) News

Independent Operators (AltNets) News

Other key news items throughout the month can be found below.

[1]Excluding Ukraine and Russia, due to the uncertainty of the consequences of their ongoing military conflict. They are included in ROW.

 

If you are a subscriber to UK Plus, sign-in here to access our UK Plus content where you can view our updated Q2 2022 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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