Friday, 15 December 2017 12:25

Million homes lack decent broadband

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Million homes lack decent broadband

MORE than 1 million homes and businesses still lack decent broadband – especially in rural areas, says a report.

Further action needed to improve broadband and mobile coverage for 1.1m homes and businesses, says the report by telecoms watchdog Ofcom.

The Connected Nations 2017 study outlines progress on the availability and take-up of broadband and mobile services, which it says are crucial to people’s lives.

Ofcom is concerned that around 1.1 million homes and offices, or 4% of properties, still cannot get the broadband speeds needed to meet their typical needs.

    See also: Call to focus on broadband reliability, not speed

This is defined as broadband offering a download speed of at least 10 Mbit/s, with an upload speed of at least 1 Mbit/s – although it expects these needs to increase over time.

The figure has fallen from 1.6 million premises last year.

The report shows broadband speeds and access remain worse in rural areas, where properties are often situated a long way from the telephone exchange or local street cabinet.

Around 17% of rural premises are not getting decent broadband services, compared to just 2% in urban areas, it says.

  Superfast or superslow?

Access to superfast broadband which is often fibre-based is defined by Ofcom as a download speed of 30 Mbit/s or more and continues to improve.

The option of taking superfast broadband was available to 91% of UK homes and small businesses (27m) by May 2017, up from 89% (25.5m) a year earlier.

And more people are taking advantage of this, reflecting a growing demand for faster speeds.

Four in ten premises (38%, or 11.2 million) have bought connections that deliver superfast broadband, up from less than a third (31%, or 9.1 million) a year earlier.

Full-fibre broadband – where fibre optic cables are used all the way to the property – is only available to 3% of homes and offices, up from 2% a year earlier.

Ofcom says it expects this figure to grow in the next few years as a number of network operators have recently announced plans to build new networks.

Chief technology officer Steve Unger said: “Broadband coverage is improving, but our findings show there’s still urgent work required before people and businesses get the services they need.

“Everyone should have good access to the internet, wherever they live and work.

“So we are supporting plans for universal broadband, and promoting investment in full-fibre technology that can provide ultrafast, reliable connections.”

 Indoor 4G

Updated coverage data shows that nearly six in ten premises (58%) can receive an indoor 4G mobile signal from all four networks[4], up from 40% last year.

But too many people in the UK still struggle to get a sufficiently strong signal – particularly in rural areas and on roads and railways.

“Total” geographic 4G coverage, where reception is available from all four mobile operators, is available across just 43% of the UK’s landmass.

For calls and text messaging, 30% of the UK’s geography does not receive a signal from all four operators – down from 37% last year.

While these figures show improvements, Ofcom said it was calling for further investment from mobile providers to improve coverage.

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