Ofcom has released an update to its Connected Nations report and it shows a small but positive change in the availability of full fibre connections and the number of premises which cannot get good broadband.
Connected Nations is an annual study of fixed line and mobile broadband coverage and performance which provides a broad overview of connectivity around the UK. This latest release is based on data gathered in May 2018, and is the second interim update of the year.
Some of the key developments include:
- Approximately 1.4 million premises now have access to full fibre broadband, up from 840,000 in December 2017.
- The number of premises without access to broadband speeds of at least 10Mb down and 1Mb up has fallen by approximately 70,000 to 860,000.
- 27.3 million premises can now get broadband with a minimum download speed of 30Mb.
- 48% of premises can now get ultrafast broadband (300Mb+ download speed). Ofcom credits much of this to Virgin Media’s network upgrades.
- 77% of the UK now has access to a mobile signal from all four network operators, up from 69% in June 2017.
- 76% of premises have access to indoor 4G coverage.
- 75% of A and B roads are covered by all mobile networks.
Connected Nations reports service availability, not adoption. In many cases homes and businesses may have access to faster broadband services but have not signed up for a new connection. For a variety of reasons you may not want or need a faster service, but it does show that when it’s time to look for a new broadband provider you may be able to get a significant upgrade.
While these are all noteworthy improvements it’s concerning that in 2018 there are still a significant number of premises without access to basic fixed line broadband service. The government’s Universal Service Obligation (USO) is committed to offering a legal right to 10Mb+ broadband from 2020. Many of the 860,000 homes without decent broadband should be connected in the next few years, but in some cases it may be too expensive to offer connectivity using standard fixed line networks and homeowners may have to turn to alternatives such as satellite broadband, or pay for the additional cost themselves.
Read the full report and other research at Ofcom.