The state of broadband and mobile services in the UK

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Ofcom’s annual report, “Connected Nations,” provides a comprehensive update on the state of broadband and mobile services in the UK. The report reveals a noteworthy advancement, indicating that 78% of the UK now enjoys gigabit-capable broadband, marking an 8% surge from the previous year’s 70% coverage.

A mere 61,000 premises, constituting 0.2% of the UK, lack access to what Ofcom deems “decent” broadband. Furthermore, an impressive 57%, equivalent to 17.1 million premises, now have access to a full-fibre network. This denotes a substantial increase of 4.6 million premises, or a 15-percentage-point rise compared to the preceding year. Notably, Northern Ireland leads in full-fibre accessibility, with 91% of homes enjoying this service. However, broadband expert Alex Tofts suggests that the UK still trails behind European counterparts such as Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Norway, and France.

Ofcom’s categorization defines “decent” broadband as 10Mbps+, “Superfast” as 30Mbps+, and “Gigabit” as 1Gbps+. Meanwhile, in the mobile domain, outdoor 5G coverage by at least one Mobile Network Operator (MNO) increased from 67% to 78% in 2022, reaching 85-93% this year. Nevertheless, 81% of all mobile traffic persists on 4G networks, despite the ongoing phasing out of 3G networks, which carry less than 3% of mobile data traffic.

Lindsay Fussel, Ofcom’s Network and Communications Group Director, expressed optimism, stating, “The rapid rise in availability of full-fibre broadband is good news for people and businesses across the UK, with millions more able to benefit from fast, reliable, and future-proof internet.” Fussel encourages consumers to explore their options when choosing a new broadband contract.

Additionally, Ofcom released the 2023 International Broadband Scorecard, placing the UK sixth out of eleven key global markets in terms of households with access to gigabit speeds.

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