Mapping out Broadband UK

Ofcom has launched the UK’s first interactive map of fixed broadband, using actual data provided by communications providers about the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

Ofcom is required to submit a report on the UK’s communications infrastructure to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport every three years. As the first stage of meeting their infrastructure duty, Ofcom is publishing the online map, which allows users to zoom in and out of administrative authorities of the UK and provides a range of data to offer a picture of broadband provision in each area.

The map, available at http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/, was compiled using data provided by communications providers and covers 200 administrative authorities. Specifically it covers:

Availability of superfast broadband (the percentage of addresses which are within the coverage area of superfast broadband networks);

Average broadband take-up (excluding superfast broadband connections);

Average maximum speed for ADSL and cable services (excluding superfast broadband); and

The percentage of homes with broadband currently not receiving 2Mbit/s speeds.

The report which accompanies the map can be found here: http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/downloads/ofcom-uk-broadband-speed-report-2011.pdf

Michael Phillips, Managing Director at Consumerchoices.co.uk commented, “Ofcom’s interactive broadband map is a very useful tool to generate broader awareness of how services vary by location but it does not give service information by provider or by specific address. There is no real substitute to doing a postcode check on an Ofcom accredited comparison site to check exactly what is available in your local area.

As part of its broader reporting remit to the government, the real question is whether by submitting this kind of information, politicians will really be encouraged to act to improve broadband services as there are clearly many areas that continue to get a raw deal. Ofcom’s map demonstrates that huge swathes of the country are receiving a below par broadband connection which is extremely disappointinggiven that the UK is supposed to be a leading light in business and technology services and the clock is ticking on the government’s commitment to digital Britain.

We recently conducted our own speed satisfaction research and found that frustration with connection speed overall had increased for the third year running with broadband customers in Dyfed,Shropshire, Clwyd, Lincolnshire and Norfolk the least satisfied with their connection. The activity around highlighting the problem has been positive, the question now is will it be acted upon?”

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