Press Release | 21 Nov 2016


  • Vodafone UK welcomes Government’s plans for ‘full fibre’ connectivity – without a kick-start only 6.5% of UK homes will receive full fibre
  •  New research predicts that BT’s G.Fast rollout will increase UK ultrafast household coverage by less than 5%
  • BT G.Fast expected to be limited to people living within a few hundred metres of an existing superfast street cabinet

Vodafone UK welcomes the Government’s plans for ‘full fibre’ deployment to homes and businesses rather than BT’s interim measure of fibre to the cabinet coupled with much slower and less reliable copper line G.Fast technology.New, independent research commissioned by Vodafone predicts that under BT’s current plans, G.Fast will increase UK ultrafast household coverage by less than 5%.The research, produced by leading market intelligence company Point Topic, also reveals that unless action is taken only 6.5% of UK households can expect to receive gigabit-capable fibre-optic cables by 2020. In contrast, more than 80% of homes in Sweden and Spain are already passed by fibre and in Portugal the figure is now above 60%.  Portugal and Spain are expected to get to 95% Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) coverage by 2020.[1]

Vodafone commissioned the research in the absence of clear plans from BT for the roll out of either G.Fast or FTTP by region or constituency.

In addition, Point Topic predicts that up to 90% of any G.Fast roll-out will focus on areas which will also be covered by ultrafast cable and will only be offered to customers living within a few hundred metres of an existing superfast street cabinet.  These results are supported by BT’s own recently commissioned report from Analysys Mason[2], which suggests that up to 100% of BT’s G.Fast build will duplicate areas already covered by Virgin Media.

Vodafone UK Director of External Affairs Helen Lamprell, said: “We welcome the Government’s move to focus on providing full fibre and we call upon BT to be up-front with the British public about its roll out plans and acknowledge that G.Fast will do nothing to help those stranded on archaic and woefully inadequate broadband today. BT is pushing a muddled compromise rooted in the past, while the rest of the world is focused on building the Gigabit Society at light speed over fibre.”

[1] Electronic Communications Code of 14.09.16 (see page 78 of Impact Assessment part 1)

[2] “Comparative analysis of outcomes in the UK broadband market: coverage, connections and competition” See Figure 1.2 Click here

Notes to editors:

  • Nearly every UK broadband provider and all the main mobile operators depend on the national network, managed by Openreach, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT, which is paid billions to maintain UK’s national network infrastructure.
  • Point Topic uses advanced modelling techniques to forecast future broadband coverage using both FTTP and G.Fast at a national and regional level as well as by constituency. Its analysis found that despite 10 million premises being promised G.Fast (termed ‘ultrafast’ by BT) by 2020, UK ultrafast coverage will increase by less than 5%. Overwhelmingly, those who already have access to ultrafast cable broadband will only get one more provider.  Those who don’t will get nothing.
  • The table below breaks down predicted FTTP and G.Fast coverage by nation and region:
Nations and RegionsUK Households in FTTP footprint (coverage in 2020)UK Households in G.Fast Footprint (coverage in 2020)UK Households in G.Fast Footprint incremental to cable (coverage in 2020)
North East2.8%33.7%5.02%
East of England4.2%26.4%2.76%
South East4.3%24.6%2.35%
East Midlands5.0%30.7%1.59%
North West5.1%39.7%5.63%
West Midlands5.3%42.8%2.27%
Northern Ireland5.7%27.2%5.18%
Yorkshire and The Humber7.7%29.0%4.07%
South West8.9%17.3%1.87%

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

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