British telecoms regulator Ofcom has revealed that more than half of the UK’s premises can now access ultrafast broadband, which it defines as a connection offering downlink speeds of at least 300Mbps. Publishing its latest Connected Nations report, the watchdog said that 53% of homes and businesses now have access to ultrafast broadband, up from 49% in September 2018. Meanwhile, it noted that superfast broadband services – i.e. those offering downlink rates of at least 30Mbps – are available to 95% of premises, up from 94%. With regards to full-fibre deployments, Ofcom said such infrastructure now covered 7% of UK properties, up from 6% at September 2018. Finally, the number of people unable to get what the regulator referred to as ‘decent’ broadband, specifically a connection offering download speeds of at least 10Mbps and upload of 1Mbps, declined by a third, to 619,000, (or 2% of UK properties) at January 2019.
Turning to mobile coverage, meanwhile, Ofcom said 78% of premises in the UK can now get indoor coverage from all four mobile network operators (MNOs) – BT subsidiary EE, O2 UK, Vodafone UK and Three UK – up from 77% at September 2018. Geographic 4G coverage across all four MNOs also increased, reaching 67% at January 2019, up from 66% previously. 4G ‘not-spots’ also continued to decline, with Ofcom saying that only 8% of the country’s geographic area had no coverage from any operator, down from 9%.
Ofcom is scheduled to publish its next data update ‘in the summer’ and follow up with a full annual report at the end of the year.
Commenting, Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said: ‘For the first time, a majority of homes and offices can now get ultrafast broadband – which allows people to work, stream and shop online at the same time … We’ve also seen the number of homes that can’t get decent broadband fall by a third in the last year. I think that progress is really encouraging, but it’s vital we keep it going. So we’re working with the Government to bring in the new universal broadband service, which will give everyone the right to request a decent connection. We’ll announce who’ll deliver the scheme in the summer.’