More than a million UK homes and offices don’t get decent broadband, finds Ofcom

More than one million homes and offices across the UK still can’t get a decent broadband[1] connection, research from the communications regulator has revealed. Ofcom[2] on Friday said that although coverage is steadily improving, around 4 per cent of properties – or 1.1 million – still do not have access to broadband that offers the speeds needed to meet typical needs. Decent broadband is defined as broadband offering a download speed of at least 10 megabits per second, with an upload speed of at least 1 megabit per second.

This time last year 1.6 million properties were unable to get broadband of that speed. “Broadband coverage is improving, but our findings show there’s still urgent work required before people and businesses get the services they need,” said Steve Unger, chief technology officer at Ofcom. He said that the watchdog was “supporting plans for universal broadband, and promoting investment in full-fibre technology that can provide ultrafast, reliable connections”.

Broadband speeds are much worse in rural parts of the country than in urban areas. In fact, Ofcom found that around 17 per cent of rural premises are not getting decent broadband services, compared to just 2 per cent in urban areas. Nonetheless, access to super-fast broadband, defined by the regulator as a download speed of 30 megabits per second or more, continues to improve.

The option of taking superfast broadband was available to 91 per cent of all UK homes and small businesses as of May this year, up from 89 per cent at the same point in 2016. The research also found that nearly six in 10 households and offices can now receive an indoor 4G mobile signal from all four major networks, up from 40 per cent last year. For calls and text messaging, only 30 per cent of the UK’s properties now do not receive a signal from all four operators – down from 37 per cent last year.

But Ofcom said that there was still work to be done. “With all the technological advancements we’ve seen in recent years, people shouldn’t have to second guess where they can and can’t get decent mobile reception,” Mr Unger said. “The public and our economy depend on mobile coverage that allows people to call, text or get online wherever they are,” he said.

“So we need to see mobile companies step up and prioritise improving coverage across the UK.”


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