Ofcom publishes Digital Progress Report
The latest document to emerge from Ofcom is the Digital Progress Report. The report looks at current trends in the UK broadband industry up until the end of 2006. The survey of online content and wireless internet usage among residential consumers was part of a survey carried out in February 2006.
The main points of the report are:
- Half of all UK adults live in a household with a broadband Internet connection, a rise of 11% from 12 months ago and seven times the figure from 2002.
- Revenue from broadband access stood at around £1.8bn in 2006 from 13,000,000 lines; a rise of 18% in the last year and fifteen times that of 2001 when there were 330,000 broadband lines.
- 63% of adults with broadband at home use it daily, while 30% went online at least once a week.
- Broadband users spend on average 9.1 hours online per week, compared to the 4.4 hours of dial-up users.
- 51% of adults with broadband at home had accessed online video clips, with 26% saying they did this weekly.
- 70% of adults with broadband have bought products or services online, and over half have carried out banking transactions.
- Voice over IP (VoIP) has seen increased takeup with 18% of adults using it at home compared to 13% a year ago.
- Average headline connection speed was 3.8Mbps (Mega bits per second) up from 1.6Mbps in 2005. 48% of consumers though are unaware of their headline connection speed.
- Back in 2003 a 2Mbps connection was around £50 a month, but these are now available for £15 a month. Speeds of up to 8Mbps were also available from some operators for £10 per month, compared to £40 when they emerged onto the market in 2004.
- LLU accounts for 10% of all broadband lines, compared to just 2% a year ago.
- 62% of SMEs were connected to broadband in 2006, with 9% using dial-up access. In larger companies the number using broadband increased to 70%.
Reading the full report, it is interesting to note that only 3% complain of connection speed as a limiting factor when accessing online video content. For longer material like movies and TV shows this rose to 6%. It seems many people are still reluctant to access video content over the Internet.
For those who have made past predictions of the number of broadband providers in the UK shrinking to a handful of companies, the news that Virgin Media, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Tiscali and Orange hold 84% of the market makes their predictions very close to being fact. Virgin Media at the time of the report was two points ahead of BT in the market share stakes. That said, the 16% of the market controlled by the others is very competitive with 450 small broadband providers vying for peoples custom.