Skip Navigation

Ofcom publishes latest European Broadband Scorecard
Wednesday 12 March 2014 11:10:33 by Andrew Ferguson

How anyone forget the ambition from the previous Culture Secretary for the UK to be the best and fastest major European country by 2015. Ofcom has now published an updated scorecard that is being used to track this progress, and for eleven metrics out of the fifteen the UK is in first place, we are lacking in our interaction with public authorities over digital systems and the three speed metrics are not scored because of a lack of comparative data from the other major European countries. In the pricing area we win in four categories and are second or third in the other eight.

Overview of the UK's position on the Scorecard relative to the EU5 (excluding pricing)
Coverage EU5 Take-up and usage EU5 Speed EU5 Choice EU5
Standard broadband coverage =1/5 Standard broadband take-up 1/5 Fixed download speed N/A Market concentration in fixed broadband market 1/5
Superfast broadband coverage 1/5 Superfast broadband take-up 1/5 Fixed upload speed N/A Market concentration in mobile broadband market 1/5
Mobile broadband coverage =1/5 Mobile broadband take-up 1/5 Mobile download speed N/A    
    % accessing internet regularly 1/5        
    % never used internet 1/5        
    % buying goods or services 1/5        
    % interacted with public authorities 4/5        

The Ofcom Scorecard report summarises a great many data sources across Europe and has gems like 87% of UK individuals access the Internet at least once a week, beaten only by Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and Luxemburg. In terms of the number who have never used the Internet this is down at 8%, but we are beaten again by the same countries.

Overview of the UK's position on the Scorecard relative to the EU5: pricing
  Weighted average single-service pricing Simple average bundle pricing Best offer pricing
8 Mbit/s, 10GB data, 350 mins 1/5 2/5 3/5
16 Mbit/s, 20GB data, 350 mins 1/5 1/5 3/5
30 Mbits/s, 30GB data, 350 mins 1/4 2/4 3/4
1GB data (mobile broadband only)     2/5
3GB data (mobile broadband only)     3/5
5GB data (mobile broadband only)     2/5

The broadband speed element, which for many reading this will have a priority a long way above many of the other measures is not included as Ofcom believes that the only testing methodology that works is to use hardware based testers installed in homes, and the EU moves to deploy an extensive (and one presumes expensive) network of SamKnows monitoring across Europe is taking time and it is not deployed widely enough to allow measurements to be reported on. The cheaper method of using software based testing, e.g. installed software or web based testers is dismissed due to the lack of control on the test environment. Both hardware and software methods have their flaws, the degree of modelling required to produce a national average from hardware based testing means it is hard to capture all providers and regional variations, e.g. Ofcom is still using data for long lines from April 2009.

The Ofcom approved UK average broadband speed is now 17.8 Mbps, which was derived from the data collected in November 2013 (believed to use a sample of around 2,000 connections across the UK). The steady rise every six months since the testing started reflecting the roll-out of faster broadband options.


Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
I turned my Samknows box off after it started using 20GB of my allowance for its tests. If we're going to have a few hundred thousand more of them around Europe I think that contention could become a problem :)
Posted by TheEulerID over 3 years ago
Averages are a very poor way of representing the reality of high speed Internet availability. That's true of any statistic subject to a heavily skewed distribution (such as income). It's much better to use measures that represent distribution too. Most commonly, that's medians, quartiles, percentiles and so on.

Such measures will give a far better picture than does the average (normally used as a synonym for the arithmetic mean).

That's quite apart from the other technical issues which distort statistics.
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.