What broadband providers financial results often fail to reveal!



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The world of stocks and shares hinges a lot on the statements released each quarter and while most broadband providers include a net loss/gain figure the trend for sometime has been to hide the popularity of the various broadband products. So ahead of the first financial results that will cover 1st January 2018 to 31st March 2018 we have crunched the popularity of the many products we see using our broadband speed test and can share these with everyone.

The figures are effectively crowd sourced, so while we may be displaying to one decimal place we believe that the tendency for people who have upgraded to a faster service to test their speed means that we would suggest a +/- 3% error margin on the popular products.

The key take-away is that even though superfast services started their roll-outs in 2008/2009 and are available to 95.1% of UK premises that ADSL/ADSL2+ packages are still massively popular. Addressing this reluctance to upgrade, which can be a mixture of reasons including price, lack of knowledge or just lack of promotion by existing provider is the key to ensuring that when lots of full fibre is rolled out that the same take-up patterns are not repeated i.e. a keen 10% will upgrade immediately but looking at a decade or more to reach 50% penetration.

The popularity percentages are within each provider, the relative market share in terms of millions of BT, Sky and TalkTalk customers is still something that can be tracked from the financial results.

BT ConsumerADSL/ADSL2+32.3%
BT ConsumerInfinity 1 up to 52 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC40.3%
BT ConsumerInfinity 2 up to 76 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC23.3%
BT ConsumerInfinity 1 up to 52 Mbps FTTP/full fibre1.7%
BT ConsumerInfinity 2 up to 76 Mbps FTTP/full fibre1.4%
BT ConsumerInfinity 3, 4 Ultrafast 1, 2
FTTP/full fibre
BT ConsumerUltrafast 1 and 2
EEFibre up to 38 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC43.8%
EEFibre Plus up to 76 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC10.8%
KComLightstream FTTP/full fibre66.5%
PlusNetFibre up to 38 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC39.9%
PlusnetFibre Extra up to 76 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC17.5%
PlusNetFibre FTTP/full fibre0.8%
Post OfficeADSL/ADSL2+79.5%
Post OfficeFibre up to 38 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC17.7%
Post OfficeFibre up to 76 Mbps2.7%
SkyFibre up to 38 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC45.5%
SkyFibre Pro up to 76 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC6.2%
SkyFibre FTTP/full fibre0.3%
TalkTalkFibre up to 38 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC42.6%
TalkTalkFibre up to 76 Mbps VDSL2/FTTC9%
TalkTalkFibre FTTP/full fibre0.4%
Virgin MediaUp to 50 Mbps Fibre/Cable/DOCSIS19.5%
Virgin MediaUp to 100 Mbps Fibre/Cable/DOCSIS61.4%
Virgin MediaUp to 200 Mbps Fibre/Cable/DOCSIS16.4%
Virgin MediaUp to 350 Mbps Fibre/Cable/DOCSIS2.7%
VodafoneSuperfast 1 up to 38 Mbps FTTC/VDSL260.4%
VodafoneSuperfast 2 up to 76 Mbps FTTC/VDSL228.1%
Zen InternetADSL/ADSL2+28.8%
Zen InternetFibre up to 38 Mbps FTTC/VDSL225.9%
Zen InternetFibre up to 76 Mbps FTTC/VDSL225.9%
Zen InternetFibre FTTP/full fibre4.3%

The KCom Lightstream figure at 66.5% looks high considering that coverage of the service in the KCom Hull area is running at 75%, but highlights the tendency we mentioned for people to take their new shiny service for a speed test and also as a KCom is the sole ADSL2+ provider since people are unable to switch to another ADSL2+ provider we don’t see the classic speed test before switching or when searching for broadband deals.

We are tracking G.fast popularity but with a footprint of just 131,000 premises and very few tests it is too early in the roll-out to include a figure.

The combined popularity of the BT Consumer FTTP services does add up to more than the coverage footprint which is just shy of 500,000 premises by our counting, but in terms of the relative popularity of the speed tiers it tells us something about future full fibre sales, i.e. the fastest speeds if you sell multiple speed tiers are not going to be the biggest seller.

Plusnet with a small amount of full fibre tests may be a surprise for some but if an existing customer moves to a full fibre area they will sell the service, why they’ve not moved from this beta type service to a full option is something only Plusnet can answer.

TalkTalk with its York UFO footprint, and Sky to smaller extent explains their FTTP figure, but Sky also has a small amount from a trial in Derbyshire and we do see the a very small number of tests in Openreach GEA-FTTP areas and other characteristics that look like a FTTP product suggesting that they may be doing something similar to Plusnet i.e. secret menu with full fibre on it or it could be staff doing testing. The news of TalkTalk Business with a trial of G.fast did not get any coverage from us as we had previous seen some TalkTalk G.fast testing i.e. we know providers often dip their toes in the water and a trial does not always lead to a live service.

We hope to repeat this data set each quarter now and will attempt to pre-empt the actual financial results and fingers crossed we will be adding things like full fibre for Vodafone very soon and thus be able to track the popularity of this and other major full fibre expansions.


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