The UK has been behind many other countries in its roll-out of superfast broadband, but the Government has published a map that by using data that is seven months or more old, presents an out of date snapshot of the state of play for superfast broadband across the UK.
Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport) via twitter highlighted that areas like Aberdeen and Kingston-upon-Hull have 0% availability of superfast broadband, and differences in coverage between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It seems the raw data was released by Ofcom in July 2011, as part of their Ofcom's Communications Infrastructure Report 2011, and Ofcom also started to publish maps for all the local authorities across the UK too.
The situation in Aberdeen is such that Openreach has still not yet rolled out its fibre services, but FTTC is expected later in 2012 on the Aberdeen Balgownie, Aberdeen Kincorth, Aberdeen Lochnagr, Aberdeen Portlethen and Aberdeen West exchanges. So should jump from 0% coverage to a fairly healthy figure. Kingston-upon-Hull has seen KC (Karoo) launch its Lightstream products moving that area out of the big zero area.
Alas use of out of date data appears to be common in the broadband arena, and while the intent was not to mislead, one has to question why the effort was taken to reproduce Ofcom data, and publish yet another map. The effort would have been better used to update the Ofcom data, so that the public can see that while superfast broadband is still not available everywhere at least projects are progressing.
The DCMS website also highlights what some critics thought coverage of superfast broadband would mean but they hoped not, and that is that it is not the speed the customer may experience at off-peak times, let alone peak times, but rather the coverage figures represent availability of a service providing a 'potential headline access speed above 24 Mbps'. Therefore those on long lines from their street cabinet to the home, and thus may get a VDSL2 service slower at 18 MBps would still count in the statistics as having superfast broadband available.