If you have turned on your TV or radio this morning, then you cannot have escaped the stories about the UK texting more than we are talking. This avalanche of snippets of communications data arise from the 2012 Ofcom Communications Market Report, and at over 400 pages long, it is not a quick read.
The report reports on a wide range of metrics each year, allowing various industries to try and project the direction things are in moving. The clearest sign from this years report is that postal services are being used less for day to day communications, with people adopting text messaging and the plethora of internet based communications systems, though twitter still is only used by 8% of the population daily. Some of the more pertinent to broadband statistics are reproduced below:
|Fixed broadband availability||99.98%||100%||99.87%||100%||100%|
|Cable broadband availability||44%||47%||35%||23%||29%|
|FTTC broadband availability||31%||33%||10%||17%||87%|
|Superfast broadband availability||60%||62%||42%||34%||94%|
|Households taking bundles||57%||58%||47%||47%||51%|
Superfast broadband (defined as a service offering a headline speed of up to 30 Mbps or faster) has some 1.4 million connections, accounting for 6.6% of all UK fixed broadband connections. This figure is rising, and will rise even faster as Virgin Media continues its upgrades for existing cable broadband customers, and the GEA fibre services from Openreach become more widely available.
Some of the figures look slightly optimistic, since we are certain that there are properties in England that cannot get fixed broadband, even if rounding is the case, to provide a fair representation a figure of 99.99% would be better to reflect the small number unable to get any fixed broadband service. There is a discrepancy of 4% between the availability of cable broadband reported in December 2011 (48%) and this report. There is no indication that there has been a drop in take-up, delving into the appendices reveals that the 44% refers to superfast cable broadband, suggesting that as of March 2012, 4% of the UK cable network was not offering an up to 30 Mbps or faster service..
The availability of superfast broadband was highlighted a while ago, but Ofcom has now made available the figures to reveal that superfast cable broadband is available to 28% of homes, FTTC and cable is available to 16% of homes and 15% of homes just have the option of FTTC. No figures appear in the report for FTTB or FTTP that we can find.