These reports examine the availability of broadband and mobile services in each of the UK's nations.
- Around 17.6m (71%) of homes in England now have access to a gigabit-capable broadband connection, an increase of 25 percentage points compared to last year. This includes full fibre and upgraded cable networks that can deliver download speeds of 1 Gbit/s or higher.
- Full-fibre broadband is available to 10.1m (41%) of homes. This is 3.6 million more premises (14 percentage points) than a year ago.
- There are still homes and businesses in England without access to ‘decent’ broadband, but this number is decreasing. Accounting for coverage from both fixed and fixed-wireless networks, we estimate that around 40,000 commercial and residential premises in England are still without a decent broadband connection.
- Public sector investment is helping some of those without a decent broadband connection to get connected. There is also increased availability of low earth orbit satellite services, offering a possible alternative for customers in poorly served areas.
- 5G rollout has continued at pace, with the level of coverage provided outside of premises by at least one Mobile Network Operator (MNO) in England rising from 51-63% in 2021 (across a range covering Very High and High Confidence) to 70-81% in 2022.
- Near-ubiquitous 4G coverage continues to underpin consumer experience. The four MNOs (EE, VMO2, Three and Vodafone) each estimate they provide 4G outdoor coverage to 99%+ of premises in England. Their coverage of English landmass ranges from around 92% to 94%.
- The resilience of telecoms networks was tested by the storms last winter, with communication services severely disrupted in places, particularly in northern England. This was primarily because of lengthy power outages, which caused communications services to become unavailable in impacted areas. It initially took providers longer than expected to recover from these impacts, which has highlighted the need for better co-ordination across the communications and energy sectors. Improvements are already being made in this area and we urge industry and others to continue this progress.
- Coverage of high-speed networks continues to grow. Full fibre is now available to over 1 million homes in Scotland, with coverage now standing at 41%, (an increase of 14 percentage points from 2021 and one of the largest across the UK). Gigabit-capable broadband is now available at 1.7 million homes (64%). As well as delivering faster speeds, these services are more reliable than older broadband technologies.
- There continues to be wide coverage of superfast broadband. Speeds of 30 Mbit/s are available to 94% of homes in Scotland, an increase of over 62,000 premises since last year. We estimate that around 71% of Scottish premises that are able to get superfast broadband actually take a superfast or faster service.
- The number of premises in Scotland without access to decent broadband continues to fall. Factoring in coverage from both fixed and fixed-wireless networks, we estimate that around 21,000 homes and businesses in Scotland are still without a decent broadband connection. We also estimate that around 8,000 premises in Scotland cannot access either a decent fixed broadband service or get good 4G coverage indoors. The increased availability of low earth orbit satellite services in Scotland may also offer a possible alternative option for these customers.
- The availability of 5G services continues to grow. The level of coverage provided outside of premises provided by individual Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in Scotland now ranges from 29-51% (based on our High Confidence level), the second highest of the four UK nations.
- 4G continues to underpin the mobile experience in Scotland. 83% of Scotland’s landmass has 4G geographic coverage from at least one of the mobile operators (up from 82% in 2021) but only 46% has coverage from all 4 operators (up from 45% in 2020).
- There continues to be a high level of 4G outdoor premises coverage in Scotland. Individual mobile operator coverage ranges between 97-99%, with a range of 89-97% for rural areas.
- The storms last winter had a significant impact on communications services: this was primarily because of lengthy power outages, which led to communications services becoming unavailable in impacted areas, particularly in the North East of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders. It initially took providers longer than expected to recover from these impacts, which has highlighted the need for better co-ordination across the communications and energy sectors. Improvements are already being made in this area and we urge industry and others to continue this progress.
- Coverage of high speed networks continues to grow rapidly. Full fibre is available to 40% / 0.6m of premises in Wales – an increase of 13 percentage points / 0.2m premises over 2021. Full fibre availability in rural areas has increased to 33% (up from 24% in 2021) but continues to lag behind urban areas. Gigabit-capable broadband covers 52% / 0.8m of premises in Wales. Superfast coverage in Wales has increased to 95%.
- The number of premises without access to decent broadband continues to fall. It is now around 0.7% / 10,000.
- Customers are increasingly taking up the higher speed services that are now available to them. Over 71% of consumers that have access to superfast broadband have upgraded to a superfast service, increasing from 66% in 2021. We estimate that around 28% of premises that are able to get full-fibre are actually taking it.
- Powys remains the local authority in Wales with the highest number of premises 2,157; (3% of premises) without access to decent broadband from either a 4G, Fixed connection or WSP.
- The availability of 5G services continues to grow but lags behind some of the other nations. The level of coverage provided outside of premises by individual mobile network operators (MNO) in Wales now spans a range from 10-46% (based on our High Confidence level), the second lowest of the four UK nations.
- 4G continues to improve but at a slow pace. 90% of Wales’ landmass has 4G geographic coverage from at least one of the mobile operators but only 62% has coverage from all 4 operators (up from 61% in 2021). Voice services from all four operators are predicted to be available inside 91% of premises in Wales, unchanged from last year.
- There continues to be a high level of 4G outdoor premise coverage in Wales. Individual mobile operator coverage ranges between 96-99%, with a range of 88-95% for rural areas.
- Dwyfor Meirionnydd (42%), Clwyd West (47%) and Brecon and Radnor along with Montgomeryshire (51%) are the Senedd Cymru constituencies with the lowest 4G coverage (geographic) from all four operators.
Update: 13 July 2023
Since we published the December 2022 report we have identified that the 5G outdoor coverage figures for Northern Ireland were reported based on our analysis of operator data of May 2022 instead of September 2022. As a result, the following corrections should be noted for the nation report for Northern Ireland (PDF, 919.5 KB):
- Overview on page 2 – the grey box should read as follows:
5G networks are still in the early stages of deployment. 5G coverage outside of premises in Northern Ireland from individual mobile network operators (MNO) ranges from 21-27 % (based on our High Confidence measure).
- On page 10 – In Figure 3.1, the coverage for 5G outside premises (MNO range) for Northern Ireland should be 21-27%
- On page 11 – the graphic showing 5G outside premises (MNO range) should read 21-27%
- On page 11 – the last sentence of the second paragraph should read as follows:
Currently, 5G coverage outside of premises in each UK nation ranges across individual MNOs as follows: 42-61% for England; 29-51% for Scotland; 10-46% for Wales; and 21-27 % for Northern Ireland (all based on our High Confidence level).
- Nearly 700,000 homes in Northern Ireland (695,000) now have access to full-fibre broadband connections; over 155,000 more than last year. These connections can deliver much higher download speeds and are also more reliable than older, copper-based broadband. Among the four UK nations, Northern Ireland (85%) has the highest availability of full fibre services, compared to England (41%), Scotland (41%) and Wales (40%). Northern Ireland’s full fibre position is a result of a combination of aggressive commercial rollout and publicly funded schemes designed to improve broadband in rural areas.
- Superfast broadband (at least 30 Mbit/s), is available to 94% of premises in Northern Ireland, 3 percentage points higher than last year.
- Average broadband download speeds in Northern Ireland have increased by 40% to 115 Mbit/s, up from 82 Mbit/s in 2021, and reflects increasing availability and take-up of faster broadband services. Average download speeds are lower in rural areas but have increased to 68 Mbit/s in 2022, compared to 50 Mbit/s in 2021.
- Average monthly broadband data use in Northern Ireland has increased to 481 GB per connection in 2022.
- 5G networks are still in the early stages of deployment. 5G coverage outside of premises in Northern Ireland from individual mobile network operators (MNO) ranges from 21-27 % (based on our High Confidence measure).
- Individual operators provide good 4G coverage across Northern Ireland, with geographic mobile coverage ranging from 88-92%, depending on the operator. Coverage from all four operators is available across 81% of Northern Ireland, up 2 percentage points on last year.
- Voice calls are available across 89-98% of Northern Ireland, depending on the operator. While coverage from all operators is available across 87% of Northern Ireland, unchanged from a year ago.