A series of maps have been published by Ofcom that show the state of play for outdoor Mobile, Freeview and DAB which have been added to the broadband maps published in July 2011. The broadband figures have not changed beyond data from Kingston Communications being added to the mix, improving data in the Hull and East Yorkshire areas.
The maps, while interactive and possibly useful for people looking to gain an overview of the UK, are of little use to individuals and looking at the broadband report a number of caveats must be taken into account. The data source for broadband was the major providers themselves, and thus figures for the number of users receiving a 2 Meg or lower sync speed must be taken with some caution, as there will be people on legacy products, or those with wiring problems holding back the connection speeds. Very importantly if an area is served by cable services or FTTC/P but customers are still buying the slow services, this still influences the percentages. Ofcom considered that even then the figures are "likely to be an accurate barometer" for judging the percentage only able to get a 2 Meg service. Areas of the UK where no broadband through any of wireless, cable or telephone line is available are not actually included as providers only submitted data for actual lines with broadband running on them.
Alas, with superfast connections running at around 500,000 there is no actual data published on take up in the areas it is available. We will have to wait for the next report for this data which may be three years away.
Broadband usage is reported with the range of averages from the providers being 10GB to 40GB a month, which when averaged out ends up with a monthly usage figure of 17GB. 3G mobile broadband average usage is a lot lower at 0.24GB a month.
|Authority||Average Sync Speed (Mbps)||% not receiving 2 Mbps||Superfast availability||Take-up (excludes Superfast|
|Windsor and Maindenhead||5.6||24.4%||94%||78%|
|City of Wolverhampton||9.1||6.9%||93%||60%|
|Castell-nedd Port Talbot||7.6||15.9%||58%||60%|
|City of Southampton||8||10.3%||46%||67%|
|Caerffili - Caerphilly||6||25%||33%||61%|
|Perth and Kinross||6.9||13.4%||33%||67%|
|Sir Fynwy - Monmouthshire||6.1||16.8%||16%||69%|
|East Sussex County||6.7||15.6%||3%||71%|
|County of Herefordshire||5||23.8%||0%||67%|
The table over shows the problems of getting people to buy into the better superfast services. Lots of Northern Ireland has very high availability of superfast services, but still have 20 to 30% of lines receiving 2Meg or under.
The maps reflect one big danger - there are regions of the UK where consumers have the option of superfast broadband but due to its price are not buying the service. This is no great surprise as the constant advertising and comparison site pressure promoting the lowest priced service over and above any concept of quality of service has resulted in people buying from the provider who ends up in the cheapest two or three of comparison lists. Broadband is about the only utility to have year on year consistently fallen in price. This has squeezed profit margins leading to ever more complex bundles and lengthy contracts, which is good for the communications churn figures, but bad in terms of encouraging consumers to switch to the new superfast networks.