Ofcom updates coverage figures for UK broadband reachSarah Shepherd
Ofcom has published the first of its spring updates on the previously annual-only Connected Nations Report. These reports track the progress made in increasing the coverage and changing nature of communications infrastructure across the UK. A spring and a summer update will now complement the full Connected Nations report published at the end of the year.
The data, collected in January 2018, has shown further increases in superfast broadband coverage across the UK, now reaching 93% of UK premises (based on Ofcom’s definition of a minimum 30Mbit/s download speed). Concurrently, those premises unable to get decent broadband has continued to fall to under a million for the first time – now at around 3% of the population. The introduction of the Universal Service Obligation in March 2018 will aim to connect those remaining properties – with Ofcom planning to publish their first document on its implementation in the summer.
Full fibre coverage continues to expand, from reaching 3% of UK premises in December 2017 to 4% now. Ultrafast coverage too has jumped up now reaching 45% – or 13.2 million UK premises – largely owing to Virgin Media’s network upgrade.
Mobile coverage has also seen improvements although as ever rural areas remain more challenging, and whilst outdoor coverage and access to data services is also better, the improvements in indoor coverage remain slight. 4G coverage remains somewhat lower than that offered by the more 2G and 3G networks with just 57% of the UK’s geographic area covered by all operators, and the nations seeing worse coverage than that afforded to England.
Ofcom will next publish a summer update – with figures based on May 2018’s data.