An Ofcom report on communications coverage has shown that 3G networks reach 73 per cent of premises and 13 per cent of UK landmass.
Broadband is now available on nearly every UK copper phone line, the report states, but with 14 per cent of residential connections operating below the 2Mbit/s speed that government wants to be the norm within five years. However, so-called ‘superfast’ broadband networks, which offer speeds of over 24Mbit/s, now pass 58 per cent of UK premises.
The maps are part of Ofcom’s first report on the UK’s communications infrastructure which the regulator must submit to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport at three-year intervals. The report also refers to the coverage and capacity of the UK’s landline network, digital radio, and TV broadcasting.
Its findings are based on information already held by Ofcom, and on additional data gathered from the largest operators in each of the sectors examined.
The ‘Ofcom Infrastructure Report’ confirms significant growth in demand for broadband data from UK consumers, with residential fixed broadband customers using an average of 17GB of data per month. A total of some 311,000,000GB of data was downloaded in the UK in March 2011 alone.
“The Ofcom statistics aggregate figures from different ISPs experiencing different data download characteristics according to the kinds of service offerings, but they do strongly indicate that data quantities are still rising steeply,” says Andrew Ferguson at market intelligence website thinkbraodband.com. “17GB sounds a lot, but it’s only equivalent to two high-definition video downloads, for instance.
However, the demand is not being driven by peer-to-peer file sharing, as analysts have in the past predicted, but predominantly by streamed video.” Ferguson expects that 100GB per month usage figures could be reached in the UK within five years.
Despite the rise in mobile traffic, users of fixed-line telephone lines still made 1.7 billion calls in March 2011, Ofcom estimates.
See Ofcom’s maps.