Britons continue to resist super-fast broadband

Britons continue to resist super-fast broadband

Summary: Despite the availability of super-fast broadband to more than 60 percent of the UK, take-up of the services remains at less than seven percent, reflecting the country's indifference towards getting the fastest possible speeds

TOPICS: Broadband, Fiber

The UK public's thirst for super-fast broadband is lacking in comparison with network providers' efforts to provide it, according to figures released by Ofcom.

Nearly 60 percent of UK homes and small businesses have access to connections providing downloads faster than 25Mbps, the telecoms regulator said in its Communications Market Report on Wednesday. However, fewer than seven percent of premises have signed up for the super-fast services. 

Take-up of the super-fast broadband in the UK is low compared to its availability, Ofcom has found.

Despite the low number, the sign-up figure is an improvement on the total revealed in Ofcom's November report, of around four percent

Northern Ireland has the highest availability of super-fast services, with nearly 95 percent of homes and businesses within reach.

Scotland, meanwhile, showed the best growth in uptake of all levels of broadband service, rising to 68 percent from 61 percent over 12 months.

The report, which used data up until March 2012, noted that fixed-line broadband connections are at their highest point ever, passing 20 million premises for the first time during 2011.

The figures are unlikely to provide much reassurance for the government, which has ambitions to make the UK a leader in broadband in Europe by 2020. They show the UK is a long way from achieving the EU's Digital Agenda goals around broadband, which call for 50 percent take-up of 100Mbps broadband services by 2020.

In the UK, super-fast broadband is defined as download speeds of faster than 25Mbps. However, the European Commission defines it as faster than 30Mbps.

In the UK, BT (and resellers of its services) and Virgin Media widely offer super-fast services, as well as ultra-fast connections that currently deliver maximum download speeds of around 120Mbps on top-of-the-range packages.

Ofcom's report found that mobile broadband subscriptions have increased over the year, adding up to total of more than five million subscribers. The regulator also said that voice calling on mobiles has dropped for the first time, while texting and social networking is on the rise.

Topics: Broadband, Fiber

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • Because we don't get it where it's needed!

    "The UK public's thirst for super-fast broadband is lacking in comparison with network providers' efforts to provide it"

    The problem is, network providers only put high-speed infrastructure in towns and cities where good service is already available! We want and need faster broadband in rural areas, but are not getting it.
    Tim Acheson
    • agree Tim!

      that is why they call it 'homes passed' in their marketing, they only pass homes who already have fairly good connections or in virgin areas. They still ignore all the areas with rubbish connections. Its all hype and con.
  • More Ofcom Words Without Action.

    It is superfast broadband that is lacking, looks like more series excuse from Ofcom on behalf of the Government not to look at reaching anywhere near the target of 90 percent superfast by May 2015 (General Election). 'We would have hit the target but there was no demand' I can hear it now...

    Superfast was described as being greater than 24 Mbps which is in line with the standard copper maximum delivery. But not all of us can live in a BT Telephone Exchange...
    Tavistock Superfast Broadband
  • Nothing new on the home front

    Meanwhile my super fast comcast bill has gone up three times in the last year alone. For a whopping speed of 15Mbps. I would love some real competition and get a better deal.
  • Could it be...

    That the copper/fibre to your house isn't the slowest part of the network anymore?

    It's pointless to have "gigabit internet" when most of the sites you're talking to serve data at kilobit speeds or deliver content in inefficient ways (looking at most blogsites including this one) that hang the browser for a minute until all content is finally delivered - or the page is finally rendered after huge scripts have to be run.
    The Werewolf!
  • What about the COST???

    One glaring omission from this "story" is the cost issue! How many can simpy not afford the upgraded speeds? Especially in a down economy, this should be a no-brainer. When you do not even mention the price, how can you make ANY kind of realistic comparison?
    • Exactly!!

      I was going to start my own post, but you got it spot on...cost!

      I've had Virgin Media's broadband service before and it was awesome, however you pay for the added speed and the added certainty that the speed you pay for is pretty much the speed you get.

      I simply cannot afford to take out a Virgin Media package and pay at least an extra £10 a month for the added speed no matter how much I want to.
  • Tim hit the nail on the head!

    Better connections are desperately needed in rural areas; I'm fed up with a lack luster service from BT and SKY. When it's your only choice you're at the mercy of their poor service and high charges. They'd be better placed in improving the communications nationally, rather than just concentrating on cities. Don't even get me started on local transport! :D