Around September of 2022, Ofcom released an update on the percentage of the UK that now had access to 5G, with 67-78% of the whole UK being able to access 5G through at least one provider. This rapid increase has not stopped here, however, with providers such as EE announcing its ‘nationwide investment’ to connect rural areas of the UK to 5G. Since this announcement, the addition of so many rural communities to the towns receiving 5G has added up to EE providing for over 1,000 cities, towns and villages nationwide, making them the first network to have over 50% of the UK provided with 5G.
Despite these great efforts, however, the race to rollout 5G doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, with other networks such as Three and Vodafone now rushing to increase their own overall coverage.
As for fibre, however, its 42% coverage as reported at the end of 2022 has been more or less retained, now standing at a 48%, and expected to be around 60% by the end of the year. Despite the accessbility and willingness at which networks are rolling out fibre, it isn’t always taken up on by the general public, as a reported 1 million citizens disconnected their broadband due to financial reasons. In reference to this, Ofcom report that availability is one thing, while uptake is another. This puts alot of pressure on companies offering these plans to offer deals or ‘social tariffs’, in order to keep customers connected.
Either way, however, the implementation of both fibre and 5G will keep barreling on as the year continues. As it becomes to norm to use either one or the other, it’s most likely it will become more generally accessible for low-income households. Until then, however, the current trend of people disconnecting their broadband will likely continue, and even increase as the cost of living crisis bites at the average consumer.
Even recently new schemes to get the UK connected are being announced for future, as the government award £24 million to a company in Shropshire, allowing thousands of homes within the county to receive major broadband upgrades starting in 2024. This isn’t happening in only some places, however, as the government invest far more money into Project Gigabit as time goes on, spanning across multiple counties. More contracts are set to be awarded from summer, with Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire on the list for this allotment.
Overall, the UK’s technology is going to keep upgrading at the rapid rate we’ve seen it do so until the whole nation is supported by one network or another. While there are concerns about this, many networks are already considering the consumer side of the situation, and allowing everyone to benefit from these upgrades in our technology, nationwide.