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Internet is ‘greener’ on the other side: Ofcom releases UK broadband map

Interactive fixed-line broadband map shows urban-rural divide

By CBR Staff Writer

Communications regulator Ofcom has published its first interactive fixed line broadband map of the UK.

The map shows that nearly 70% of the UK has broadband access, but speeds and uptakes varying greatly in urban and rural areas.

Ofcom used actual data provided by communications providers to build the interactive map which covers 200 administrative authorities.

Each area has been ranked on how they score on four broadband metrics, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 the highest or fastest, and 5 the lowest or slowest. The areas are also colour coded with green ranking highest, and red lowest.

The four metrics are: availability of superfast broadband; average broadband take-up; average actual speeds for ADSL and cable services averaged across each area; and the percentage of homes with broadband currently not receiving 2Mbps speeds.

Across the UK as a whole, 68% of UK premises have a fixed broadband connection, and the average maximum speed is 7.5Mbps (excluding superfast broadband connections).

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Luton, in England, and Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland have the highest percentage (100%) of addresses served by a superfast broadband enabled exchange.

Superfast broadband availability across Northern Ireland is very high (97%), says the report.

Most rural areas have lower speeds and a greater proportion of customers who receive speeds less than 2Mbps, finds the report. Ofcom cites poor infrastructure and low housing density as reasons for this disparity.

Brighton & Hove has the highest take-up of fixed broadband services with 80%, while Edinburgh has the fastest average maximum speeds, with 10.1Mbps with Bristol just behind with 9.9Mbps/s.

Edinburgh and Bristol also have the lowest percentage of people receiving less than 2Mbps (4.5%).

The report also said that 14% of customers who have fixed broadband connections (excluding superfast broadband connections) are currently receiving speeds of less than 2Mbps. Ofcom suggests these customers to improve their in-home telephone wiring.

The regulator hopes that the map, which would be updated annually, will provide a clear picture of broadband penetration and speed in the country and would be of use to local authorities to get broadband funds.

The government has already declared that it aims to make the UK the best place for broadband in Europe by 2015.

Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said, "We are now developing a clear picture of the UK’s fixed broadband infrastructure and how it delivers for consumers.

"We hope that this information will stimulate further rollout of broadband infrastructure and better performance for households and businesses," said Richards.

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