Updated December 2019
This page shows a range of broadband statistics from a range of sources that show the current state of broadband in the UK. Sources include Ofcom, BT and Virgin Media. This page is updated regularly to track the roll-out and take-up of superfast and ultrafast broadband services.
95% of premises have superfast broadband (30 Mbps+) but only 8% have FTTP (full fibre)
According to Ofcom, superfast broadband services offering predicted download speeds of at least 30 Mbps were available to around 95% (28.058 million) of UK homes and offices by May 2019. Only 8% of premises (2.486 million) had access to full fibre services (Fibre to the Premises).
|Date||Premises with superfast broadband access (30 Mbps+)||Premises with full fibre FTTP access|
|May 2019||28.058 million (95%)||2.486 million (8%)|
|Jan 2019||27.893 million (95%)||2.092 million (7%)|
|Sep 2018||27.589 million (94%)||1.763 million (6%)|
|May 2018||27.307 million (93%)||1.391 million (5%)|
|Jan 2018||27.247 million (93%)||1.208 million (4%)|
|May 2017||26.674 million (91%)||0.840 million (3%)|
Table: UK Availability of superfast broadband and FTTP [Source: Ofcom]
Rural areas lag behind urban areas
According to Ofcom, rural areas fare worse than urban areas for availability of high-speed services. While superfast broadband (30 Mbps+) was available to 95% of UK premises, only 77% of premises in rural areas were able to access download speeds of at least 30 Mbps in May 2019. 10% of premises in rural areas (0.427 million) were unable to achieve 10 Mbps or higher. Demonstrating that progress has been made, this had decreased five percentage points compared with the previous year (May 2018).
Take-up of superfast broadband is significantly lower than availability
Take-up of superfast broadband lags behind availability, which suggests that consumers are not all aware that superfast services are available in their area, or that they perhaps do not see the benefits of upgrading or think it is expensive.
In its Connected Nations report (published in December 2008), Ofcom found that “people do not always sign up to faster broadband packages when they are available”. Although at the time 94% of premises had access to superfast broadband (30 Mbps+), only 45% had signed up to them. Ofcom stated, “People should be given the choice to sign up to a fast broadband service but may not choose to do so for different reasons, for example where the slower service is sufficient for their needs or because the faster service is too expensive.”
By September 2019, 75.8% of BT’s consumer base subscribed to superfast broadband (>30 Mbps). While this is up 7.4 percentage points in a year, it is still significantly lower than availability.
For reasons to upgrade to faster broadband services, visit:
Switching broadband supplier or recontracting with an existing supplier saves money, according to Ofcom
In its September 2019 report ‘A Review of Pricing Practices in Fixed Broadband’, Ofcom analysed over 20 million customer records to get a detailed understanding of prices paid by broadband customers. Ofcom found there are around 8.8 million out-of-contract broadband customers in the UK, representing 41% of all broadband customers. Of these, 3.3 million have been out-of-contract for more than two years.
It found that those who engage, either by signing a new contract with their provider (re-contracting) or switching to a new provider, get better deals than those who remain out-of-contract. It found that customers who sign a contract with their existing provider typically pay £8 to £9 less than if they were out-of-contract.
Ofcom found that “many customers with slower, entirely copper-based broadband pay more than superfast broadband customers”.
Changing behaviour online
Interesting snippets from Ofcom’s ‘Media Use and Attitudes’ report, published in May 2019:
- Nearly every adult in the UK uses a mobile phone (96%).
- 51% of adults now say their mobile phone is the device they would miss the most if it was taken away.
- The total average estimated weekly hours spent online was 25.3 hours.
- “Video on demand and streamed content is becoming a central part of adults’ viewing landscape”.
- The proportion of adults who watch on-demand and streamed content was 60% (compared to 55% in the previous year).
- 73% of AB households watch on-demand and streamed content.
Interesting snippets from Ofcom’s ‘Media Nations: UK’ report, published in August 2019:
- “Online content delivery and the emergence of global video providers, notably Netflix and YouTube, are driving fundamental shifts in viewing habits and industry structures.”
- Eight in ten adults (79%) now have an internet-enabled smartphone (unchanged since 2018), with most of these (88%) having a 4G service.
- Around half of UK households now subscribe to at least one subscription video-on-demand service (such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video).
- YouTube is a major part of total video viewing and total online time. 12% of all time spent watching video, and 13% of all time spent online by adults, is spent on YouTube. Young adults (16-34s) spend over an hour on YouTube per day, and almost all adult internet users watch YouTube videos. UK adults watch, on average, about half an hour of YouTube per day.
- Subscriptions to traditional pay-TV services (such as Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk) totalled 14.3 million in Q1 2019, whereas the total number of subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, NOW TV and Disney Life reached 19.1 million (up from 15.4 million in Q1 2018).
- The number of UK adults watching TV programmes or films online on any device (such as a mobile phone, tablet, or TV set) was 58% – up from 53% in the previous year.
- Most new television sets sold in the UK are ‘smart TVs’, capable of being directly connected to the internet. Take-up of smart TVs has risen sharply, from 5% of households in 2012 to 47% in 2019.
- More than half (53%) of TV households have, in some way, an internet connection to their TV.
- Over half (54%) of households have a tablet device.
- 63% of households have a laptop.
- 24% of households have a PC.
Snippets from BT’s latest results
Below are some useful snippets from BT’s latest results (for the quarter ending September 2019):
- “BT remains on target to deliver its commitment to reach 4 million premises with FTTP by March 2021 and to achieve its ambition to pass 15 million premises by the mid-2020s, subject to the right conditions” (Sep 2019) [BT Q3 2019 results].
- Openreach’s ultrafast broadband network now covers 4.2 million premises, comprising 2.4 million premises passed with G.fast and 1.8 million with FTTP (Sep 2019) [BT Q3 2019 results].
- More than 13.3 million customers are now connected to fibre enabled produces. Superfast broadband is now available to nearly 28 million premises (which includes ultrafast broadband) (Sep 2019) [BT Q3 2019 results].
- “In October, the Government pledged £5 billion to roll out “gigabit-capable” broadband across the hardest to reach 20% of the UK to achieve nationwide coverage as soon as possible. We welcome the pledge and note that Government assistance will be critical. We await further information on how the £5 billion will be allocated” [BT Q3 2019 results].
- Fibre-enabled share of consumer broadband base: 75.8% (superfast) and 1.6% (ultrafast) (Sep 2019). This is up from 68.4% and 0.4% in Sep 2018 [BT Q3 2019 results].
- Fibre-enabled share of enterprise broadband base: 48.3% (superfast) and 0.5% (ultrafast) (Sep 2019). This is up from 42.5% and 0.1% in Sep 2018 [BT Q3 2019 results].
Snippets from Virgin Cable’s latest results
Below are useful snippets from Virgin Media’s latest results (for the quarter ending September 2019):
- 15.695 million homes passed (Sep 2019) [ Virgin Media results Q3 2019].
- 5.648 million broadband internet subscribers (Sep 2019) [Virgin Media results Q3 2019].
- 4.978 million fixed-line telephony subscribers (Sep 2019) [Virgin Media results Q3 2019].
- 4.042 million video subscribers (Sep 2019) [Virgin Media results Q3 2019].
Other pages you may be interested in: