Mobile coverage and fixed broadband availability across UK

Ofcom’s latest report has revealed the mobile coverage and fixed broadband availability across the UK as of January 2021.
Telstra broadband
Key Findings

The number of homes able to get gigabit broadband is up to over 10.8 million homes (37 percent), up from 7.9 million (27 percent) since the last update.

Full fibre coverage increased 21 percent from 18 percent in the four months between September 2020 and January 2021, with just under six million homes covered.

Superfast and ultrafast broadband coverage expanded across the UK, though to a lesser extent, with superfast broadband coverage remaining at 96 percent, but ultrafast broadband rising to 61 percent (from 59 percent in September).

Mobile coverage remains stable but mobile operators have started rolling out coverage to new areas through the Shared Rural Network scheme, agreed with the UK Government in 2020.

Gigabit broadband: availability of broadband capable of delivering Gigabit 1 speeds for consumers has reached nearly 11 million UK homes 2 (37 percent), up from 7.9 million homes (27 percent) in September 2020.

Ofcom said this increase has largely been driven by the rollout of Virgin Media’s DOCSIS3.1 technology to an additional 2.8 million homes, along with companies extending their full fibre networks.

Full fibre deployment: Full fibre coverage is now at just under six million homes (21 percent), up from 5.1 million (18 percent). This is driven through deployments by the larger fibre infrastructure operators but supported by an increasing number of smaller providers across the UK serving individual communities and regions.

Ultrafast broadband (download speeds of at least 300 Mbit/s 3): availability of ultrafast broadband has increased across the UK by nearly half a million homes to 17.7 million homes (61 percent).

This has been driven predominantly by extensions to Virgin Media’s cable network, as well as fibre deployments by Openreach and other full fibre operators.

In some, predominantly urban areas, new fibre networks are being deployed in areas that have existing ultrafast coverage, and hence the increases in full fibre availability do not necessarily result in a corresponding increase of ultrafast coverage.

Superfast broadband (download speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s): superfast broadband continues to be rolled out across the UK, with an additional 65,000 properties covered since our last report, although coverage remains at 96 percent of homes.

Decent broadband (10 Mbit/s download and 1 Mbit/s upload speed): the vast majority of UK properties can now access decent broadband. The number of properties (both residential and commercial) that cannot receive a decent broadband service from a fixed line stands at 650,000 (remaining at just over 2 percent).

Ofcom said it expects that the growing availability of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) will cut the number of premises unable to get a decent broadband connection. The number of properties unable to get decent broadband, even with the inclusion of FWA networks, was around 189,000.



Coverage of 4G mobile networks across the UK has not seen significant changes over the last reporting periods. More than 91 percent of the UK landmass has good 4G coverage from at least one operator, and this area includes nearly all of the premises in the UK.

Coverage for both Scotland and Wales is significantly lower. MNOs are committed to achieving between 85 percent and 88 percent coverage in Wales by 2026 under the SRN, and between 82 percent and 85 percent in Scotland thanks both to SRN investment and benefitting from the Scottish Government 4G infill program.

4G not-spots: Both geographic and road not-spots (that is, areas where good 4G services are not available from any mobile operator) remain at 9 percent and 4 percent respectively, although the picture in individual nations varies significantly, particularly in Scotland and Wales.

Calls and text coverage: As with 4G, coverage remains largely unchanged over the previous reporting periods. 80 percent of the UK landmass is covered by all operators for calls and text services and this area includes 99 percent of premises in the UK.

Calls / text not-spots: Areas where people are unable to make a call or send a text from any operator (not-spots) is similarly unchanged, with UK geographic not-spots at around 5 percent and not-spots on the UK’s roads at around 2 percent.


Ofcom said UK’s telecom operators are in the early stages of 5G rollout. It will not be reporting on 5G coverage in this update.