Ultrafast broadband reaches more of the UKSarah Shepherd
The recent update to Ofcom’s Connected Nations report – which provides information on coverage and service availability for both internet and mobile phones – reveals that ultrafast broadband speeds (defined as download speeds over 300Mbit/s) are now available to properties in just over half the country. Superfast speeds of at least 30Mbit/s have reached 95% of UK premises and full-fibre broadband has risen a percentage point to 7% coverage, or 300,000 additions in the four months since the last report.
The full-fibre increase owes itself to commercial roll-out from a range of providers and Ofcom uses the Connected Nations update to reflect on its proposals to support the UK Government’s FTIR ambitions of nationwide coverage by 2033. These actions include removing the current restriction (of networks focusing primarily on the residential market) on Openreach’s ducts and poles access to allow competing companies access to build networks for both residential and business connections. Ofcom further proposes to deregulate in areas where there are competing fibre providers and to increase the length between major reviews of the telecoms from three to five years.
At the same time, those unable to get even 10Mbit/s download speeds has fallen to only 2% of UK properties. These 619,000 currently unserved premises will be covered under the new universal broadband service, with Ofcom expected to announce this summer who will be delivering this scheme.
Mobile coverage has seen similar small rises in premises able to get indoor 4G coverage from all four mobile operators, and 4G coverage from all four networks covers 67% of the UK. Total not spots – where there is no coverage at all now stands at 8%.
Ofcom intends to auction more airwaves next year, partly to prepare for 5G but also to improve rural coverage, and are working to enable more efficient use of spectrum.
The next update will be released late summer, with the Annual Report at the end of the year.