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Ofcom publishes UK Digital Landscape Maps
Wednesday 02 November 2011 09:35:49 by Andrew Ferguson

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
Luton 8.1 16.3% 100% 68%
Newtownabbey 7.2 19.8% 100% 68%
Carrickfergus 5.4 28.2% 99% 60%
Omagh 5.5 31.9% 99% 56%
Windsor and Maindenhead 5.6 24.4% 94% 78%
City of Wolverhampton 9.1 6.9% 93% 60%
Milton Keynes 5.5 29.7% 90% 78%
West Dunbartonshire 9.5 6.5% 89% 61%
Dundee City 9.3 7.8% 88% 61%
Salford District 9.1 8.2% 75% 59%
Leicestershire County 7.4 14.3% 64% 70%
Castell-nedd Port Talbot 7.6 15.9% 58% 60%
Essex County 6.8 16.9% 50% 72%
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%
Cornwall 6.5 18.1% 10% 67%
East Sussex County 6.7 15.6% 3% 71%
Blaenau Gwent 7.5 13.7% 0% 54%
County of Herefordshire 5 23.8% 0% 67%
East Lothian 7.1 11.4% 0% 68%
Sample of authorities around the UK, ordered by availability of superfast services

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.


Posted by Northwind over 5 years ago
Two comments: first, it is NewtoWnabbey. Secondly, price is not the sole obstacle in adopting FTTC. Frankly many people who do not care for watching TV or movies have no use for it. It is simply irrelevant when ADSL is sufficient.
Posted by normcall over 5 years ago
I'' second that.
We were 'upgraded' from 8Meg ADSL to 20Meg ADSL2.
Our actual speed went from around 6.5Meg to between 8.5 and 10Meg.
The difference isn't worth a light and as I never asked for or paid for it, I don't really care.
Next door has BT infinity and he says he gets about 40Meg, but then his company pay for it and I expect it costs about 4 times what I pay.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
speak for yourself northwind, do you think your grand kids will be using ADSL in 60 years and say "wow this 60 year old internet speed is more than enough for me. not all of us use the net for the same thing, typing useless info on twitter & fartbook, is not what the net was built for.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
So put it this way if 10Meg for £16.99 or 36Meg for £16.99 which would people choose?

Assuming other things to do with the package are the same?
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
But, why have more if things are adequate or sufficient for your needs?
I would love to own a Ferrari, but I don't need it and the car I have is sufficient for getting from home to work and back.
And this is the crux of the issue, take up of faster broadband products is slow. In most cases it's customer inertia... much like the changing savings accounts to those that pay better interest... most people who visit and comment are interested in faster BB...
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
But the vast majority of the population simply aren't interested,as the stats show above. As you can see 30+% of the population in most areas simply don't have BB.
Posted by NetGuy over 5 years ago
@themanstan - you've perhaps forgotten the 500K 'superfast' connections, which have been excluded from these results, as far as I can see.

I know they may only add a few percent, but as time goes by, more households will have BB, as the number of elders (who, along with those with very low budgets, presumably make up the bulk of the 30%) will decline naturally.
Posted by NetGuy over 5 years ago
I suspect there will be some interest in areas such as where I am - currently after ADSL 2+ and WBC "upgrade" sync speed has dropped from 2.5 Mbps to half of that. In a year, FTTC should be available, and I expect 10-50% of households, if they have ever tried watching video using iPlayer, would consider paying a bit more for a significant improvement.

Even going from 1-2 Mbps to 10-20 Mbps would bring us back on a par with urban folk who seem to assume that as generally available, when clearly it isn't, and no cable option available either.
Posted by NetGuy over 5 years ago
@normcall 'I expect it costs about 4 times what I pay' - perhaps so, if the company has chosen to use a 'business' ISP to provide the service.

I am on a relatively cheap service at around 11-12 pounds (I pay under 9 because the ISP has a commission scheme). To go to FTTC when it is available will add an extra tenner a month - in my view well worth it if my speed increase is to 30 Mbps from current sluggish connection.

100% cost increase, 2900% speed increase will do me very nicely, thanks :)
Posted by NetGuy over 5 years ago
Can see my 3G usage (at 12-14 GB a month) is a lot higher than the average, but wonder whether Three users have a significantly higher average than other networks, given some comment about 97% of traffic is data on Three...

Even with a low connection speed, I routinely exceed 100 GB a month, making use of a 60 GB 'allowance' for 0800-2400 and then pushing most download traffic into the unmetered period 0000-0800.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
can't believe you're comparing broadband to cars,
what if someone moves out of their house and the next occupier prefers a decent BB speed?
it's always better to have it availible if it's needed, than not have it at all, and don't we have packages ie differing speeds, as with all things the prices will come down, remember when the first HD tv's came out?
anyways ferraris are overated, italian junk.
Posted by fibrebunny over 5 years ago
The problem with FTTC is there is no equivalent of the llu operators. I have no idea how much bandwidth I use, I have no need to count it with Be. A quick look at FTTC offerings shows I'd need to pay considerably more and budget my usage dependant upon time of day. Really, I can't be bothered.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
But Creaky, that's the point most people don't need faster... and for the next occupier that's their business. Why fork out for a package your not going to use for the sake of someone who might live in your house in X years?
Yes, prices will come down but not as fast as people think, this isn't the same exercise as ADSL.
Posted by zyborg47 over 5 years ago
3.5-4 megabits do what I want,if we did get fibre, I doubt I would bother with it to be honest unless the price is the same for the same service and Looking at ISP that offer fibre, even my own ISP, it is not.

Not paying more just for a increase in speed that I don't really need.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
TalkTalk Fibre Boost is the LLU equivalent, i.e. they buy direct from Openreach.

Other LLU has the option. Some debate on price and how presented, but it is available.

Just many are leveraging maximum return from current product range.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
On the installing now and others benefiting, if you own property you may find potential sales are lost due to broadband and potential speed.

Landlords who have allowed Virgin cable, probably stand better in the rental market in terms of competition too.

Watch prices of rental for flats where Hyperoptic is available.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago

That's fine for rental properties as commercially it makes sense, but has no sense in a owner occupied. If a "premium" VM product or BT product is available or regional solution is available, then why would you lose value even if you did not use it yourself? The availability is key not the actual use.
On the bespoke solutions like Hambleton, etc... maybe so.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Owner occupied - makes perfect sense if you are considering your position with regards to moving in the next few years.

Its like those people who rejected cable installs years ago, and that street got bypassed and is unlikely to get cable now.

As a homeowner taking the longer term view is often wise, unless you favour the patch and mend every six months philosophy.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
stan i ment broadband packages, the next owner probably won't be with the same provider, most aren't heavy users but some others are,
it's called future proofing, 500kbps might be okay for you, but for me it's a weak as piss.
don't you know anything about the bb market?
bt aren't charging each customer for fibre installation.
Posted by Magsy over 5 years ago
I think some people have lost sight of what they get for the money. People expecting it for ten or fifteen quid drives me mad.
Good quality broadband was always £40 a month and it is worth it, I'd gladly pay that or more if someone would give me 40mb+
It can keep the whole family entertained with virtually limitless content. The cheapskates are ruining it for us all.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
So please tell me how my choice of BB package affects availability in my area of superior products... if they are available?
And bear in mind that this whole post is about take up... so the product is available in the area... unless you've changed tack without letting people know... Bear in mind what i've already said about bespoke solutions (Gigaclear FTTH in Hambleton). So please elucidate...
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