The latest report on broadband from Ofcom has found that the UK’s superfast rollout is progressing well, and that the UK has moved up the European rankings when it comes to slick surfing and streaming speeds.
The availability of superfast broadband was at 60 per cent in the UK at the close of 2011, and two years later it now sits at 73 per cent of households in the country. Ofcom notes that while we used to be third among the big “EU5” nations (France, Germany, Italy and Spain being the others), we’re now first in terms of overall superfast coverage.
We’re also first in terms of take-up of superfast – which Ofcom defines as 30Mbps or greater – with 9 per cent of the UK having signed up for a package. That’s well ahead of Spain, the country in second place with 6 per cent.
We’re also doing well on price, as Ofcom looked at a basket of products and average prices as well as the cheapest package, finding that the UK comes in at either first or second across the board in terms of the average. The lowest price performance wasn’t so strong, seeing the UK in either second or third, depending on the exact category (fixed standard or superfast, or mobile broadband).
Ofcom also noted that the UK had the highest percentage of broadband take-up across all types, with 83 per cent now online. And it turns out Brits are the keenest online shoppers, too, with the top figure here – 77 per cent have bought something online over the course of a year.
Ed Richards, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, commented: “This is excellent progress for the UK, but there is more to be done. We want to see even wider availability of superfast broadband across the UK, so as many people as possible can enjoy faster speeds to access the Internet.”
Of course, while superfast has been nicely spread by Virgin Mobile and BT’s rollouts – and the former giving impressive free speed boosts of late – there are still more remote areas of the country where broadband service is sluggish (or indeed unusable). In how timely a manner these trouble spots will be tackled remains to be seen, as we come to the real crunch end of the super-fast rollout.
Note also that it’s all well and good to compare with the big “EU5,” but clearly there are European countries still well ahead of us in terms of broadband, such as the likes of Scandinavian nations and the Netherlands.
That said, this is still good news, though...