British telecoms regulator Ofcom has published its second interim update to the ‘Connected Nations’ report that it initially released in December 2018. In terms of the key findings in this update, the watchdog noted that the number of properties in the UK now able to access superfast broadband – which it defines as having a download speed of at least 30Mbps – had increased to more than 28 million by May 2019, representing 95% of homes and businesses. Meanwhile, access to ultrafast broadband (i.e. services with a minimum 300Mbps download speed) has also improved, and was available to 54% of premises by May 2019, up from 53% as at January 2019. In line with this, full-fibre availability has also increased, with almost 2.5 million premises, or 8%, having access to such technology; Ofcom noted this represented a rise of more than 400,000 properties in the four month to May 2019, ‘with the commercial rollout of full fibre now being delivered quicker than ever’. Rounding out the key findings related to fixed broadband, Ofcom noted that the proportion of properties without access to a ‘decent’ broadband connection (defined as having downstream speed of at least 10Mbps), remained at 2% of premises. It did say though, that it expects this figure to fall once it completes work to include the coverage of all major fixed wireless networks in its reporting.
With regards to mobile coverage, Ofcom said that this remained largely unchanged since its spring update in May 2019, with 4G services reportedly available to 77% of premises (indoor) at that date, and 4G geographic coverage standing at 66%. With 5G connectivity now being rolled out by UK mobile operators, Ofcom said that it plans to collect information on these deployments for the full Connected Nations report that it is scheduled to publish in December 2019.