Ofcom has this morning published its annual International Communications Market Report which examines how the UK is holding up against other countries in various areas including broadband.
Bundling - The research found that broadband services sold without a bundle were cheaper in the UK and France compared to the other fifteen countries included in the report although it noted that most broadband services were sold as a bundle with at least one other service. The largest operators in Germany and Spain did not even sell a 'broadband only' service.
Consumers in Europe can save considerably on their broadband subscriptions by selecting bundle packages including telephone and/or television services, the so called 'dual play' or 'triple play' bundles. In the UK, consumers selecting a 'broadband+telephone' bundle are well off compared to other countries, but when adding pay-TV services, consumers will find themselves paying more than their European counterparts.
Fixed line broadband - At the end of 2009, the UK had 70 fixed broadband connections per 100 households putting it towards the top of the table, with the Netherlands leading at 85 connections, followed by Canada and the United States at 80 and 71 respectively. Brazil, Russia and China are growing rapidly and currently at between 20-30 connections per 100 households.
Mobile broadband - The UK has 16 mobile broadband connections per 100 households with only Sweden ahead at 29 within the EU league table. The US and Australia are leading at 30 and 27 connections respectively. What may come as a surprise to technophiles who couldn't imagine life without an iPhone, Android device or other smartphone, is that only 18% of the population in the UK use smartphones, although it is worth noting that the UK smartphone market is growing very fast and is quite strong compared to other countries. Over a third of UK consumers have accessed the Internet from their mobile phone.
Devices - The laptop has been crowned as the access device of choice for young people with 83% of 18-24 year olds using a laptop to access the internet, and only 40% of those using a desktop, although the figure for destop use is higher for other age groups.
Traffic - Internet traffic is generally quite evenly split between HTTP web browsing, streaming video of various formats, peer-to-peer file transfers and other miscellenaous traffic. During 2010, consumer broadband Internet traffic grew by 42% year-on-year with the Asia Pacific region dominating the volume at 35% followed by North America and Western Europe.
Broadband speeds - At the end of 2009, 34% of households in Japan had a super-fast broadband connection, compared with 0.2% in the UK. By 2015, it is expected 66% of households in the UK will have access to super-fast broadband. UK mobile broadband users have a theoretical maximum speed of 7.2Mbps, well below most countries in the comparison delivering mobile services with headline speeds of up to 21 or 42Mbps, or even 100Mbps in Sweden. These services may be critical to bringing super-fast broadband to some of the more remote areas.
The full report is available for download.