Many UK households and businesses are still struggling to get decent broadband connections as the Government prepares to introduce a universal service obligation (USO) of 10 Mbps.
A report by telecoms regulator Ofcom found that 5 percent of properties, or 1.4 million homes and offices, cannot sign up for broadband speeds of over 10 Mbps.
The figure was far higher in rural areas, where nearly 920,000 properties were unable to receive such a connection.
The report also found that 25.5 million small and medium-sized businesses are now able to receive superfast download speeds of 30Mbps or higher.
Ofcom also found that the UK has the fifth best availability of broadband services offering 10 Mbps, behind Singapore, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands.
Ofcom’s findings came as it examined scenarios for implementing the 10 Mbps USO outlined in the recently passed Digital Communications Bill.
It outlined three potential scenarios: one with simply a 10 Mbps download speed, one with a 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speed and one providing superfast broadband of 30 Mbps download and 6 Mbps upload.
The first scenario would cost £1.1 billion, the second £1.5 billion and the third £2 billion.
The average speed per household is already considerably above the USO at around 28 Mbps. However, this is skewed by much higher speeds in urban areas which tends to obscure the poor service experienced by broadband users in areas that are not viable to serve commercially for private sector broadband operators. These citizens may experience speeds far lower than this.
There is actually already a USO in the UK, set in the early 2000s in the days of dial-up, of 28.8 Kbps. However, according to Ofcom’s most recent infrastructure report, the regulator believes that 10 Mbps is adequate for the consumption needs of typical UK households.